Pushing through to the finish line

NaNoWriMo 08It's coming down to the wire for NaNoWriMo08, and I'm on track with 41,561 words so far. If I write up to 42,000 before bed tonight, I can keep writing 2,000 a day and, assuming I get them in by midnight the last day, finish at exactly 50,000 on Nov. 30. I was feeling really discouraged a couple days ago, but I'm energized now and have a vision of the plot going forward to the end. Now it's just putting it on paper (or screen, in this case).

My husband, Sam, has been making remarks like, "It's ok if you go over by a few days. What's the difference?"

"No, because then you don't win," I told him.

"What do you win?" he asked, rightfully skeptical.

"A PDF certificate," I said sheepishly, "and a widget. And the satisfaction of knowing you're a winner."

Sam laughed at me. "So it doesn't matter," he said.

No! It does matter. Finishing a novel in a month, a specific month, is the whole point of NaNoWriMo. If you could write in anytime, you would. If you can go over by a few days, why not a few months, a few years?

Like all the other times. Like with all the other half-manuscripts in drawers and hastily typed ideas in forgotten files, languishing. Like all the other projects and passions and ambitions you've set aside till the perfect moment, only you never quite find it.

Back during the first season of Survivor, there was an endurance test toward the end where the remaining contestants had to keep their hand on a pole. That was the only rule. One of the contestants, good old Rudy, absentmindedly removed his hand from the pole to scracth his nose or something, and then tried to play it off, but was deservedly disqualified.

As The Daily Show mocked when replaying the clip, "What's the first rule of Keep Your Hand on the Pole Game?"

What's the first rule of NaNoWriMo? Write a novel in a month.

Anything else isn't NaNoWriMo.

Keep your hand on the pole.

See you at the finish line in just a few days!



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