First of all, because I realize I never came back and officially posted it, and in case you didn’t hear me screaming it from the rooftops. I did win Nano. This is what I saw when I validated my word count:
My life for the next week or so went like this, sleep, read, sleep, read, oh yah, remember to be social:
“So, what did you get for winning?” my family asks.
“Well, er…uh…some badges I can put on my website and well…the pride of actually accomplishing it.”
Blank stares all around.
A few days later. My mother still isn’t getting it and decides that maybe there is safety in numbers. She brings it up at the family Tamale Fiesta of 2010 in front of all of my Aunts and cousins.
“So, did you actually finish your novel in November?”
“No, I finished the number of words I needed on my rough draft to win the competition, the story still has a bit left to write and then there’s the editing of course-”
“So, another UNfinished novel.”
I love my mother. And I know she is proud of me, and in her own quirky way was trying to show me off. But, the truth always stings a lot. And the truth is, after I crossed that finish line I didn’t want to write anything for about a week. Not only that, I had no reason. No one to try and catch up to, nothing telling me I’d be rewarded, however slightly for my efforts, no one to laugh and cry and share my bumps and bruises with. I was suddenly without a deadline, and without a support system.
So, I buried myself in catching up on my reading and making Christmas lists and moving my novel into a new software program and re-organizing my books and once again managing to procrastinate. I kept waiting for the guilt to kick in, but it didn’t. I wasn’t breaking any laws or falling behind or even sure that the novel was worth finishing.
I’m finally starting to come out of my post-NaNo blues. I actually started working on the project again yesterday. My mother called of course. When she asked what I was doing and I told her, she sounded a bit annoyed. But the fact is, I’m not writing it for her. I’m not writing it for anyone. This is my education in the craft of novel writing. I’m writing it, so that I can learn how to write a novel. And I’m finishing it because I can, because I need that education, that learning process to continue, and because even if the only person who ever reads it is my ten year old nephew, I will know that I finished it. And when everyone has gone home, and I’m alone in my apartment, curtains drawn and doors locked; that will ALWAYS mean something incredible to me.