Saturday, December 1, 2012


You'd think after writing 50,000+ words in 30 days, I'd have more to say - but I don't. Well...not much, anyway.

Since I didn't have any formal writing experience - or even a thread of a story line, I chose to write about my life for the NaNoWriMo. Although I was shooting for an adolescent-to-adult's journey through recovery, I seemed to favor writing primarily about my childhood. It was a wonderfully hard and cathartic experience.

I am so very proud that I made a goal and worked towards it for 30 days.  It was like a mental marathon, and there were a handful of nights that I wrote until 2am. I almost blew it right at the end, however. The whole month I had a small thought in the back of my mind about how to verify my novel on the NaNoWriMo website, but I was too obsessed with keeping up my daily word count to give it much thought.

Yesterday was the final day of the challenge and I was about 1,200 words and an hour and ten minutes away from the 30 day/50,000 word finish line...when I had nothing else left to say. 

Grasping straws, I began to write about the fierce competitor in me. This  somehow prompted me to begin describing the over-the-top themed birthday parties we've hosted for our children. From that thread of thought, I was off and happily hammering out words...when I suddenly I noticed the time: 11:58pm. My word count was just over 50,000. 

After I entered my final tally of 50,017 onto the dashboard of the NaNoWriMo, I quickly checked to see how my online friends had done. They are all several hours ahead on the East Coast, so the contest was already officially over for them. On my friend IfByYes's profile, instead of a blue banner where her word count had formerly been, was a bright purple banner that read: "Winner!

I frantically noticed that although I'd completed the goal of 50,000+ words, my word count remained and my banner stayed blue. All month long, I had simply updated my word total on the dashboard of the site. This was when that nagging thought I'd had all month came to the forefront of my mind: I had 90 seconds to figure out how to verify my actual number count on the website.  Hosted by a bunch of book nerds - you'd think the website would be crazy-streamlined, but it is not very intuitive. 

I clicked on a scroll down menu, and found the motherland: the 'verify novel' button.  A tiny pop-up window appeared in the center of the screen; apparently I was supposed 'just' cut-and-paste an entire 50,000 word document - into a screen the size of a playing card. As I frantically highlighted 81 pages, I noticed the time stamp in the lower right hand corner change from 11:58 to 11:59. With less about 30 seconds to spare, I copied and pasted my novel into their word counter. WINNER! 

To quote Bill Murray's Carl Spackler from Caddyshack, where he has a kid pinned up against a wall, pressing pitchfork tines on his throat: 

"So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

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