Sometimes in November I look up from whatever the latest novel I’m writing happens to be, and I notice that I’ve passed a milestone in the course of my writing for the day. On occasion I’ve moved past 10,000 words without thinking of it. Once in a while I’ve blasted through 25,000 words and not known it. And even when I’ve gotten to 40,000 or 45,000 I’ve sometimes not recognized it until well after the fact. I call it being in “the zone,” and I love the zone so much. The zone is my muse, and when I’m in it I don’t want to do anything else. Other writers know what I’m talking about.
I’ve been in the zone a few times this November, most notably on this past Sunday when I wrote nearly 3,000 words without even updating my word count. That’s when I know I’m in the zone. I can write for an hour straight and not come up for air, which is what I did on Sunday. The story moves along, and I’m drawn along with it, taken for a ride that is equal parts anxiety and anticipation. Because while I love it when my characters have a mind of their own, I know it can also disturb the delicate balance I have been trying to create with the narrative I’ve carefully crafted. Of course in the end it never matters because the muse knows better where I need to go and how to get there anyway.
This November it has been tough to get in the zone. That’s not to say I haven’t had stretches where I’ve gotten caught up, because I have, but I have had so many outside things that have impinged upon my ability to just sit here and write. The starts and stops could have impeded the story, but I’ve somehow been able to keep up, to hit my word count goals every single day, and to keep the story flowing the way I wanted, or needed, to. And the numbers have been mounting. Now I’m five days away from the end of the month, and I just looked up to find…
I’m over 50,000 words! I know. I’m shocked too. The two goals of NaNoWriMo are to write a novel, and to get 50,000 words. I assume the people at NaNo think that 50,000 words is the shortest word count to classify as a novel, but I disagree. I think that whatever you as the author deem a novel then so be it. But regardless, I did reach the lofty goal of 50,000, so what am I going to do the other five days? I’m going to actually finish my novel, which may take 60,000 words, 65,000 words, or some area in between the two numbers. I’m fairly certain it will at least hit 60,000. And now the gloves are off. I’m done with specific word counts for the day. I’ll just write until I’m done writing for that day.
I’ve already reached the climax and I’ve just started the falling action of the plot for this novel, so I know I’m not too far away from the end. I’ve hit one milestone, and I’m ready for more. I’m ready to finish a novel.