NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2016 is over and I’m a winner.
NaNoWriMo is an annual novel writing challenge. To win, you must write 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November (from scratch). That’s 1,667 words per day on average, if you can write every day. If you can’t get to it each day because of other obligations (job, family, etc.) you have to write ahead or try to catch up.
What do you win?
After validating your final word count of 50,000 or more words, you can print out your official winner’s certificate.
And you get the right to wear the NaNoWriMo 2016 winner shirt.
Big deal, right? Hell yeah. It’s a huge deal.
It’s not about “winning”.
It’s about being a winner. It’s about setting a (lofty) goal, making a plan and a making a promise to yourself. It’s about the sense of accomplishment you feel when you achieve your goal. It’s about checking an item off your bucket list. It’s about feeling good when you complete a project.
It means setting priorities and sticking with your plan. It means pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. It means digging deep to write on when you want to quit. It means learning how to say no when family and friends try to tempt you away from your dream with promises of instant gratification. It means learning to be strong. It means learning to fight the guilt of putting yourself first.
It’s finding out who you are and what you are made of.
But what do you win?
You win the right to say “I did it”. You win the knowledge that you are stronger than you thought and capable of more than you imagined. You win pride in yourself and your ability to accomplish what felt like the impossible.
And you wrote a novel.
To my fellow participants…
Congratulations! Thank you for your support, encouragement, and virtual companionship. I couldn’t have done it alone. We’re winners!