I know there are Nanos all over the country (world perhaps) who are cancelling appointments and drinking more than their allotted caffeine for the day. I know that if we listen carefully, we’d hear the frantic clicking of the keyboards as my fellow Nanos write those last few hundred (thousand?) words toward that elusive 50,000. I feel for them. But I’m not one of them. I finished Monday night. 50,000 and change and a “the end” on the last page, novel done. So I’m all triumphant, right?
I mean, yes, I’m pleased I was successful. Yes, I’m pleased with the product (although my test audience hasn’t read it yet). I’m not downplaying the accomplishment, and I’ve got plenty of undone business and messy house to attest to the fact that the effort was great.
But the strangest thing happened. On Monday night as I was typing, watching the word count go up and up toward the Big One, I began to type slower and slower. The story was winding down, it was time to finish it, but I found myself clicking over to a couple of interactive games…. checking the news….. checking the latest e-reader book deals….
I heard the little one get up to ask her mom a question and I called her in. I showed her the word count at the bottom of the page and told her to type the word “up” – the next word in the sentence. She did, and she gasped and giggled when the word count flipped over to the coveted 50,000. That was the first time I’d ever shared that moment and it felt good.
But, as I rounded the last corner in the story, wrapping up the plot points and putting an interesting touch (I hope) on the ending, I just kept getting slower…. and, oddly, sadder. And then I got it.
For the past month (plus the time ahead of that planning), I have been living with these people, these characters. I have been so focused on them and their lives that as I found myself winding down to finish, I realized I was going to miss them. They’ve been the center of my thinking for this entire month, and now they were going away. It’s the process of writing that fulfills me, much more so than the product. And the process was ending.
And end it did, a mere 174 words later. With a sigh and a smile and a nod. Job done. Hopefully well done, but done.
I’ll still be writing – there’s always a story being told. But I’ll miss the absolute immersion in it, the totality of it. Of course, my house will be a bit cleaner and my personal relationships a bit better for the time spent on them (already have a movie date with my girl – “Don’t worry Mom, it will still be playing in December.”), and I get to pick up a book and read again…
But I’ll miss November.