Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Difficulty of Finishing Up

NaNoWriMo is winding down. The home stretch, the last few days. At computers all over the world, people are desperately striving to get to the magic number, 50000. It's a nice big round number, and a great many people will never achieve it, but more importantly, some of them will. They'll get to a few hundred past it, maybe even less, and they'll stop.

The website, you see, has a simple method of figuring out if you wrote a novel. Count the words. Done. There's no other way, of course; no one has time to read scores of thousands of "novels" (I use the word guardedly, as there's perilously little of books in these scribblings most often). So once you get to the 50K, you often just stop. You're done. Goal achieved, badge unlocked, move on.

Most years, I end up writing a novel that's not much longer than that anyway. I like a nice sleek novel, so getting to five thousand words across the line is about all I normally need. This year, however, I'm ending up with something longer. I don't know how much longer; not too much mind you, but sixty or seventy thousand wouldn't shock. Well, at this point, sixty would shock, but in the wrong direction. I can't think I'd finish that quickly. Only I'm having great difficulty getting past the notion that I'm done: I've won the contest, I've put up the word count, and so I should just take a break.

That doesn't work, not for me. If I set it aside, I may never get back to it. So I'm just pushing myself to write, something or anything, to finish it off. It might not be good (then again, this year the novel isn't good, either) but I feel like I have to do it. And hopefully within four days, so that I'm done in a month. The second word of the acronym is after all No for Novel, not Fi for Fifty Thousand Words.

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