Last night I finished my fourth NaNoWriMo attempt and win. This one was different from all the others.
The first year I was addicted and wanted NaNo to last all year long. I was involved with the forums and it was a blast. Every year since has been some variation of that.
2014, 2015, and 2016 wins
Except this year. This year was different.
First I was aiming to write two books (only counting one books words toward NaNo), one of which had a special meaning and dedication but no deadline, the other has a deadline. One that is fast approaching. Unfortunately, and with a heavy heart, I had to set the one without a deadline aside because I wasn't writing either fast enough.
So the book I'd wanted to write this month, the one with the special dedication, was sadly put to the side. The Moirai.
But if you've been patiently waiting for book three of The Hunted, rest assured I will return to it soon. In fact putting it aside has helped me to power through so much of this current book with the deadline so much faster.
I've been rewriting an old book from scratch and editing it at the same time, (because deadlines) which has been a huge struggle in and of itself and it's far from my normal process.
But back to Winning NaNo. This year wasn't different solely because I attempted two books at once. This year has been a year of challenges. One in particular that I haven't spoken about publicly.
I was behind on NaNo since DAY ONE, and even with a few attempts at catching up and getting ahead, I still floundered. My graph never looked like it struggled so hard before.
Win of 2017
There were a few days where I was SO CLOSE to catching up, only to fall behind. The only day in November that I was on target was on day 30. I even managed a few words past my target.
I could have chosen to give up on NaNo this year and it wouldn't have mattered. No one would have been disappointed in me, there wouldn't have been any repercussions. I could have had less stress on my shoulders this month.
But I didn't quit.
I didn't quit because I needed a "win." Not from anyone else, but from myself. I needed to see a concrete goal and I needed to hit that goal. Not for bragging rights or to feel special, but to remind myself that despite a rough few days, weeks, months, etc. I could set my mind to something and achieve it.
And I did.
With a lot of struggling, I achieved my goal for the 4th year in a row. I didn't quit, even though there were a million times throughout the month where I thought a win was impossible, where I resigned myself to just getting whatever I could and it was good enough.
There wasn't a single day during this month that I didn't doubt I could win. It wasn't until halfway through day 30 that it felt possible.
And while in comparison of my previous years where I always won NaNo early, sometimes before they would even let you validate it, this year is not as impressive. Sure I won, but I didn't go past 50k the way I did the last three years, yet, to me, it is my biggest win thus far because I had so many challenges.
Sure NaNo was a goal, and a goal I managed to keep even by the skin of my teeth. But, it's more than that. It's a reminder that hard times, and countless obstacles and challenges can slow me down, but they can't, and won't, keep me from reaching my goals.