So NaNo ended a couple of days ago. For anyone curious, I did not end up hitting a million words. I didn’t even get close. I ended with 503,305 words, though, which still makes this my best NaNo as far as word count is concerned. I also broke some other records this month: I wrote 58k on day one (previous best was 50k) and I managed a 6k hour (previous best was 5k). That’s pretty exciting, even if I don’t think I’ll be breaking those records anytime soon, if ever.
A big part of why I did not write a million words last month was because of my hands. They started really hurting after the first few days, so much so that they didn’t feel better the next morning. I realized that there was no way that I could maintain the 33k a day that I would need to reach my goal. I had a really hard time admitting that I was giving up so soon, but I was much happier once I accepted it.
The other part of why I didn’t hit my goal, the part that was harder to admit, was that I just didn’t have the mental strength or will or determination on whatever you want to call it to keep writing. Even if my hands had held up, I wouldn’t have made the million. I would write 15-20k most days, and that was only half of what I needed for the million. I hated feeling like I was always behind, like I could never catch up. Even 500k was too stressful to think about. I had no goal for a while and then when I hit 300k I felt like I could safely go for 400k, and then when I hit that with over a week left in the month, that was when I finally set my goal to 500k – well, 501,105 so I could end on a palindrome and beat my previous best. And then I hit that with 2 hours to spare and kept going.
I realized this year that aiming for ridiculous numbers isn’t that fun for me anymore. Of course, I still think of 300k as “easy,” so my definition of ridiculous might be ridiculous on its own, but that’s okay. I think I will be sticking to the 250-300k range in the future, assuming that my typing speed has increased by then. The reason it is so slow right now is because I have decided that it is finally time for me to learn the Dvorak layout. I said I’d do this years ago and didn’t, but the pain this year made me realize it was probably time. My hope is that this will allow me to still do over 50k for NaNo without pain. If it doesn’t help, I’ll have to lower my future NaNo goals even more, which I don’t want to have to do.
What about you? If you participated in NaNo, did you hit your goal? If you’ve switched to a keyboard layout other than Qwerty, let me know about it! How long did it take you to get back to a normal speed? Was it worth it?