NaNoWriMo officially ended last week and with it so do my winning streak of several years. I realised during the last week that I wouldn't make it this but it didn't stop me trying. I wrote a few thousand words on the 29th and well over ten thousand on the 30th. I stayed up as late as I could but I still fell some eighteen thousand short of the fifty thousand word goal. Oddly enough, I felt ok with this. I had always said that I thought of anyone who tried as winners. They always seemed like hollow words used to help those who didn't make it keep their chin up and feel good about trying. Being on the receiving end of those words I now think differently about them.
Did I win NaNoWriMo this year? No, no I did not. Did I achieve anything and was it worthwhile? Of course! I'm proud of what I wrote, even if it's not very good. I'm proud that I tried. I proud that I learnt that just trying is often success enough to make things worth it. I also learnt some stuff about me too. I had always taken it for granted that I would win NaNoWriMo and that at the end of it I would have a fifty thousand word novel. This year I learnt that even though I didn't make it to the end I actually achieved something. I wrote thirty thousand more words in one month than I did in the months since last November. I expect the same is true of those who didn't make it to one thousand. They still tried, they still put the effort in.
I also worked out some issues of my own. Earlier this year my granddad passed away. It didn't really come as a huge surprise but it was still a shock. A great-uncle passed away too and his wife passed away a few days later. I was not expecting that and it brought up a lot of mixed emotions. My novel took an unexpected twist for the depressing, which I hadn't intended, but it allowed me to work through the emotions that I had experienced during the past year. Whether it remains in the novel isn't clear, but I found the act of writing about it very helpful. That's not to say it didn't hurt to write about it as it did, but when it was I done I felt better about things.
And so, to the year ahead. I haven't decided what to do with this novel. In an ideal world I'd keep going with it and keep it going to the end, then I'd edit and revise, and then I'd get it published. This isn't an idea world though, so I really don't know. What I do know is that I will be attempting NaNoWriMo again next year. Until then I have books to read and reviews to write, and various other hopes and dreams too. Between now and Christmas I will be going through all the books that I have read and I'll be sorting out some reviews for those, and they're not all YA!