As of this morning, I stand at 64,000 words.
I am no longer at the point where I'm afraid I'm not going to finish. I have sixteen thousand words left.
Normally, had I been at 34K with the sixteen thousand words left, I would have freaked out.
But this NaNoWriMo has been different from all others.
My very very first NaNoWriMo, I was writing with a friend. We inspired each other, bounced ideas off of each other, but it was a tough going. I loved my story premise, but then hated it. Though I reached 60,000 words, the story ultimately failed.
My second NaNoWriMo, I absolutely fell in love with the story, but it was so hard to write it. Nearly every scene was a struggle. I came in at around 52,000 words with the complete novel.
But this NaNoWriMo, I had Susan Dennard and her NaNoBootCamp, with all the wonderful NaNoCadets. I found a community, and I made great friends on Twitter. I did word sprints.
And even though I jumped into this novel with nothing written down on paper, and no index-carded plot, I knew my setting. I knew the barest bones of plot. And I knew the last line of the book.
That was it.
But I wrote it.
Perhaps it was because I had so many points of inspiration, or because this was a much more complex, convoluted plot for my novel, but this year, even with absolutely no written plot, I wrote many, many words.
And I sound so sure now, like it was all meant to be.
But in September, or even October, I was nursing another idea. But somehow, in the last two weeks of October, the idea of this novel pieced itself in my head. It wasn't done--I had to figure out some of the plot from the trenches of NaNo. I loved the points of inspiration, but I wasn't sure where this novel would take me, or if it would ultimately result in a mess of broken plots and story lines.
I wrote it. I threw myself headfirst into a story I intuitively loved. I made some amazing friends and I sprinted with them, and they cheered me on when I was sure the story was going to give up on me. My writer friend Andi was there for me, always welcome to my texts, always firm and reassuring.
There were school days I wrote 3K, 4K, no problem. Days when I struggled to break 1K. There were miraculous days where I plastered my butt to the chair and set my hands on fire, and I came out victorious that day with seven thousand words.
And the story--it's developed so much, fleshed itself out, but in the roots and the vision, it is nearly fundamentally the same.
And I am so, so close to the finish.
It's like those last miles of a marathon, where you see everything sort of flash before your eyes, and you experience simultaneously all the emotions of elation and frustration and joy that brought you to this moment.
I know 16K sounds like a lot, but compared to the work I have done on my novel thus far, the 16K will be written, and I will be at the finish line on November 30th, dazed and awed.
NaNoWriMo, I will see you there.