As they have said from the olden days, "Thank God It's Over."
I had thought I was ready and prepped for a NaNo run, and I suppose I was, in the same way one prepares and is ready to put new shingles on the porch roof. I had the skill set, and the discipline. Wow, I needed both of them, because this was the worst NaNo finish yet.
I felt bad the two years I didn't finish; one year because I didn't have a story I really wanted to tell, and the other (last year) because I fell in love with my story and didn't want to spoil it by writing junky word count. This year, I thought I would write a sequel to "Going Hungry" and maybe even wrap up the story.
Forget it. The story was there to be told but because it was NaNo, I put word count above all else. The story advanced about 10k words, and the rest was nitpick fluffy filler. "He said" then "She said" and then they described in excruciating detail every step of their recipes ad nauseum.
In the beginning, for me, back in 2001, NaNoWriMo was a mere 500 and some participants who were leaping off a precipice of uncertainty, attempting to write a novel in 30 days. It was thrilling, exciting, captivating. At my fifth year, it had become piano practice: three hours with a laptop, hammering out two thousand words a session, every day for a month to build and hone a writing habit. This year, at the beginning of November, I think I noted that there were already 160,000 people signed up; and it may be that I am just getting old and crotchety, but the NaNoForums seemed to be populated by the most shallow and clueless gits floating around the cybersphere.
Yes, hated it.
Nevertheless, two days after I validated my 50k words and officially "won," I found myself back with my story "After Life" and tenderly writing a completion to the last chapter I had started. Love the characters, love the story ... love writing, yeah.