Today is the fifteenth day of the torture that is NaNoWriMo. According to my calendar, I should’ve been 22,000 words into my novel. According to NaNo’s schedule, I should have been 25,000 words deep. According to reality, I’m just over 7,000 words – exactly where I needed to be on day four. Gag.
It’s hard to believe, from a mathematical point of view, that I have written every day. But it’s true. It’s just that some days only 200 words drip out of me, while other days 2,000 words pour onto the screen like green puke from Linda Blair’s mouth. And that’s precisely the problem. The 2,000-word-barfathon is something I can’t help but clean up the next day, which dramatically cuts down my word count after I mop everything up.
For those unfamiliar with the philosophy of NaNo, you’re supposed to avoid editing until December. Until then, you’re supposed to get it all out of your system as quickly as possible, à la “Bridesmaids.”
This is the part that I find most daunting. It’s not so much about the word count, but the fact that I can’t clean up the words, which are undoubtedly all wrong.
This problem of not being able to go back and edit also defies logic, as I’m really good at ignoring other messes, like dirty dishes, the laundry pile, blog posts, and the dust bunnies under the couch. But not editing what I wrote. Nope. Can’t ignore that.
Twice before, at this exact point of the marathon, I suffered a faux breakdown after reading what I wrote and declared that only 75 words were useful. I then convinced myself that what I needed was a break. And that this miraculous mental regrouping would inspire me to suddenly sit down and produce 50,000 words in one seating. But, from two previous failed attempts, I know that I never really recover from the respite.
This time I’m determined to finish. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older or I’m stubborn or I’m secretly liking my silly novel. What I do know is that I have to hurl 20,000 words this weekend, without looking back once to check on syntax, spelling or Oxford Commas. It’s going to be a Vampire Weekend in more ways the one: