I Won NaNoWriMo & All I Got was a Certificate

At least send me a free cake or something, jeez. 

At least send me a free cake or something, jeez. 

I hit 50,000 words (ok, technically 50,400 according to my official NaNoWriMo validation) at just before 9pm the day before Thanksgiving.

(I actually wrote this blog post barely 20 minutes after finishing. What can I say? I gotta blog it.) This marks the earliest I have ever finished NaNoWriMo and the first time I can actually say I've written a novel that might be something I would read (if it was completely rewritten, edited, and changed... maybe by someone more competent than myself). 

When you finish a monumental task like writing 50,000 words, you want there to be fanfare -- but there is usually not. In fact, you might find yourself staring at a computer screen with a web banner on it (pictured above) and a download for a digital certificate thinking, I wrote 50,000 for this!? My reaction was visceral and ridiculous, but I found myself wanting to demand balloons. Flowers! Confetti! Where was my party? Someone throw me a party! I wanted to scream on Twitter. 

Nope, all I got was a certificate, just like always, and an apparent inability to distinguish their and there (what can I say? I've written 6,000+ words as I type this and I've switched "there" with "their" twice). (I can only imagine the errors that are in my novel.) 

Here is the brief synopsis I gave my friend about my novel: 

Buffalo is about a farming community in Oregon that experienced a murder and how the community responded. The title refers to the murderer’s obsession with buffalo as the spirit of the west and his thought of himself as a “buffalo” (basically: that which remains despite adversity).

It sounds good when you put it like that, but mostly, it just looks like word vomit right now. When I got halfway through the novel, I realized I had no explanation whatsoever for the title I'd chosen -- I just really like one-word powerful titles and I like the sound of the word buffalo. I added in a bit about how the murderer identified with buffalo in this weird, obsessive way and basically left it at that. 

You gotta do what you gotta do. 

As much as I joke though, I'm so proud to have completed NaNoWriMo for the fourth (really!?) time. I've written 50,000 words four times. That's 200,000 words! If I actually got my s*** together, I could probably write a decent 50,000 words in a few months (but, given my track record, that would take a lot of chutzpah on my part). 

More than anything, I've proved something to myself and that is this: I'm good enough. I'm good at this. I can do this. On a day-to-day basis I often don't feel very good about what I do -- I generally think I'm a pretty terrible writer that has somehow gotten people to think I'm a somewhat decent writer. More than anything, NaNoWriMo has allowed me to show myself, just one more time, that, as Mary Oliver said in "Wild Geese," "I do not have to be good.