Victory Lap – November 23, 2018

If you saw my post last night, and how could you help but see it as obnoxious as it was, then you already know that yesterday I finally crossed the 50,000 word threshold in my novel attempt, and officially “Won” NaNoWriMo 2018.

I did it a week early, which is an accomplishment in itself, considering I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to do it at all.

And honestly, while it was difficult, it wasn’t really as hard as I was worried it would be

So, what does that mean? Well, really, nothing much.

I didn’t write a novel, I’ve written part of a first draft of a novel.

It’s the single, longest document I’ve ever written, and it only took me 23 days, which is really pretty good, unless you’re Stephen King, who writes about 8000 words a day.

When I decided I was going to do NaNo this year, my reason for doing it wasn’t to actually write a novel, it was to learn how to write one. That’s why I picked a story that I considered just a silly, throw-away idea (though, I’ve since kinda fell in love with the story, and I’m not really sure if that’s a good thing or not.)

What I really wanted to do was train myself to write a substantial amount everyday, and challenge myself to do it without letting it take over my life, and take me away from my other responsibilities.

I started early, in late September, and committed to building myself up to at least 1667 words a day, every day. That’s what I accomplished with NaNo, not the story, but learning how to consistently churn out the words.

The words may be shit; in fact, they most likely are shit, but they’re there, and I put them there. So I did that.

As I’ve said before, I’ve always had this dream of being a writer, and I’ve reached a point in my life where I feel that if I don’t start now, I never will. There are most likely fewer days ahead of me than there are behind, and time moves faster the older you get. I didn’t want to be sitting in my wheelchair in whatever retirement home my family decides they can afford, filling up my diaper and regretting that I never got around to writing that book.

So these past couple of months have really just been a “learning by doing” experiment, and I thank you all for indulging me and helping me to stick with this effort.

So, what now?

As I said, the story isn’t done, and neither is NaNo.

NaNoWriMo lasts until the end of November, which is another week away.

I’m going to try and keep up the momentum, to keep writing at the same pace until at least then. I’m going to see if I can push my word count up past 60,000, and in that way, push my story along as well.

But that won’t mean the end of the story. 60,000 words won’t be enough.

After November is over, I’m going to try and be a bit more realistic with my daily word goal. I’m going to back it off to around 1000 words a day, and if I can do that, I’m hoping I can finish the novel by the end of the year.

Then it’s over, right? Then I’m an author?

No.

Then, I’m going to put this project away for a bit; let it age, let it mature, let it ferment a bit. I’m going to give myself a chance to forget some of the details. I’ll work on something else, another story or perhaps some essays or articles. I won’t stop writing, I’ll just stop writing this story.

Hopefully by February, I’ll be ready for the next phase. I’ll grab a pack of red pens from the dollar store, open up the duotang of the print copy of this pile of shit, and slaughter it. I’m going to fill the pages with so much red ink that it will look as if I slit my own throat and leaned over it’s pages.

I’m going to kill my baby.

Then, like the good doctor in that story by that woman, I’ll take all of the pieces I’ve carved from the corpse of my would be novel, and I’ll sew them back together and try and spark some new life in them. I’ll create a new monster from the old.

And then I’ll probably have to do that all over again.

I’m thinking that, if I can find the endurance to stick with this project, by the time NaNo 2019 rolls around next November, I may be comfortable letting someone else read this piece of garbage.

But that’s a year away, and I have the next week to live through.

What does that mean for you, my steadfast friends? Probably nothing.

I am going to slow down on bothering you guys, though. You’ve been great to me, not only because of your occasional encouragement, but because you were there.

You were always in the back of my mind, urging me on, not by your actions, but by your existence. My fear of being seen as a quitter by you, even if in reality you couldn’t give a shit if I finished this or not, spurred me on. So, thanks for that.

I’m going to stop the daily progress posts. With having “Won” NaNo, there really isn’t much of a point in continuing.

I’ll post an update on Nov. 30, to let you know if I did reach 60,000 after all, and then maybe an occasional post here or there, or maybe regularly, like once every week or two, to remind you guys that I’m still at this ridiculousness, and to keep the illusion that you’ll be disappointed in me if I give up active in the back of my head.

I may gather up all of these posts and put them in a blog or something, so when I do publish my first book I can look back on them and think “Wow, look how far I’ve come.” Alternately, if I do end up in that wheelchair, in that nursing home, shitting my pants, I can look back on it and have even more reason to beg for the sweet release of death.

Anyway, thanks for putting up with my silly attempt to learn to be a writer. You’ve been more help than you may ever know.

Rob Pacheco
November 23, 2018

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