Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Finish Line

I did it! I finished my (50,718-word) novel yesterday afternoon.

For me, NaNoWriMo was a resounding success. Not because I've come away with a rough (very rough) draft of a novel, although that is a nice thing to have in one's back pocket. No, what is more important than the end result is that this was an incredible learning experience.

Five Things I Learned During NaNo:

1. If you're moving fast enough, that pesky inner critic/editor won't be able to keep up.

2. Writing every day is easier than you think; this is one habit that is good to have.

3. Friends and family who believe in you can make the difference between meeting your word count or failing.

4. You really don't need a plot to start with.

5. Satisfaction comes in many sizes, but 50,000 words feels just right.


Patry Francis said...

Congratulations--and with days to spare!

Katie said...

Quite an achievement! Congratulations!!

Sharon Hurlbut said...

Thanks Patry and Katie! It seems so strange now, not to have to sit down and make my word count every night.

P. A. Moed said...

Dear Sharon,

I admire your tenacity and ability to do this! Tell me something though--what did you do when you knew you had to revise a section? Did you just keep going after making notations about what to change? Was it hard to keep going when you knew that you had to change something? As you might have guessed, I always have to get a scene "right" before I move on. I can't seem to get past that.

Sharon Hurlbut said...


Silencing that internal editor was the most valuable lesson I learned from this experience. It was hard - like you, I usually edit as I go, perfecting one section before moving on to the next. But I knew I couldn't possibly do that and reach 50,000 words. So I refused to listen to my editor. I literally would not let myself think about a single word/sentence/paragraph/chapter, once it was on the page. And yes, I often thought to myself, this is complete crap, but the wonderful thing is - it doesn't matter. Crap or not, it's all there now, and I can sort it out whenever I'm ready. And the more I got going, the less inclined I felt to look backward. Moving that quickly really gave me the chance to let the story go unexpected places and write scenes I'd never imagined. It was a great experience and I'll definitely do it again.

Ginger said...

I'm so proud of you, Sharon! I really am! I wish I'd plugged forward and earned that icon. It's pretty sharp!

There's always next year (I hope).

Sharon Hurlbut said...

Thanks Ginger! I would never have made it without your inspiring dedication. Icon or not, you should be very proud of yourself - what an amazing feat you pulled off. I hope you are feeling much better now.