All through October I found myself thinking about NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is a yearly challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I don’t know why they chose November, because in the States it is a particularly chaotic month. I had participated in one NaNoWriMo before, in 2008. I was living in Seattle and studying for the GRE. I wrote a novel about smuggling during a theoretical third world war. It was not very hard, but about half way through I decided I did not like the novel. I finished writing it out of sheer stubbornness. I never looked at it again.
This September I started really thinking about writing a novel called The Foresters. The novel is about a couple, preoccupied with finding out the truth about an accident at the Denver Art Museum that changed their lives. Every time I considered writing the novel I reminded myself how time consuming novel writing can be. How many details one has to sort out. How many edits one has to go through after the first draft. Still on the 31st of October I found myself signing up for NaNoWriMo, and on 1st of November I wrote over 3,000 words. I set the goal for myself early on, to hit the 50000 mark before I went to Bend, Oregon, where Jacob’s family lives, for Thanksgiving. Because we were leaving on the 19th of November that did not give me a lot of time. Still I focused on writing while applying for jobs, grants, and writing poems, and all the many things I manage to occupy my time with. I did indeed reach the 50,000 word point before leaving for Bend, but more importantly then that, I was fairly happy with the story that I had written. I was excited to keep writing, and at 50,000 words i definitely wasn’t done.
I actually finished my novel a half hour ago. It is 59,001 words long. I took almost a week off in Bend and still I managed to complete it. This time what I completed is not a file on my computer that I will never open again but it is the first draft of a novel that I am proud of. It is something I will edit and work on. I could not be more excited about this.