Yep. That’s right. I didn’t. You may remember something like this happening:
– I started a fantasy novel at the beginning of the month. I got about 6,000 words into it.
– Then, for some reason, I scrapped it and started a completely different book. A New Adult, contemporary romance novel. I wrote the first 31,000 words in four or five days.
– And then life happened. I had a ton of contract work that had piled up; I met someone (this is a big part of it, I’m sure); I started a part-time job; Thanksgiving; concerts; exercise; and then I lost my way.
Because I was pantsing this novel (see: no outline, no plan, just writing). Because I had no idea where I was headed when I started besides a final image, a last consequence, and without a road map, I went off-track and tripped in some mud. I’ve been slogging, slowly but surely, trying to re-formulate a plan of attack.
And I was stressing myself out, wondering: How am I going to get this done by the end of the month? I don’t even know where I’m going, not to mention how to get there.
Not that I regret not outlining this book. It’s allowed me some great privileges I wouldn’t otherwise have had. It allowed my heroes to go wherever they pleased, to do whatever felt right, to try out new things and push my limits and challenge me in ways heroes of mine never have before.
Oh, and then somehow, the book had magical realism.
With all of those things stacked on top of each other, well–I had to make a choice. And I decided it wasn’t worth stressing over. I decided that NaNo had started me on a quest I wouldn’t have otherwise started, that it had done its job and I could finish the job on my own, when time permitted, when life evened out for a few seconds and I could play a little catch-up. So I set a new end date for myself in January, which is perfectly feasible for the last 50,000 words of this novel.
So, this is why I didn’t finish National Novel Writing Month. I decided that a great book doesn’t have to write itself in a month; I decided it was worth focusing on the important changes happening in my life and waiting for the right story to reveal itself to me.
A huge round of applause to all my friends who did!