Well, I did it. I finished nanowrimo and have written 50,000 words in just under 30 days. The resulting story might be good, it might be terrible; to be honest it's all a bit of a blur. I am certain that it's not readable at the moment, never mind publishable. So why do it?
Well I have 50,000 words of new ideas and writing now. That is a significant thing. I've also learnt a lot, about what I can achieve and how I can go about it. It sounds trite but the only way to actually write is to get words down. Some days those words may be useless and need re-writing but other days things slot into place and just work. And suddenly that strange idea you had to do that has relevance to this and it all, maybe, just works. It was fun to go out there with only a vague idea for a couple of characters, a broad idea of where I wanted to end up and almost nothing in-between.
There have been times when it has been hard. I've fallen behind, felt like I did not want to continue, wondered if it's worth it when I likely have no real inclination to get this story published. Two things generally got me going again. The first was simply the word count. If I sat down and did so many words today and tomorrow (and sometimes the days after too...), then I would catch up. It's the sitting down and doing it that is the hard part - once it's under way it generally keeps itself going, unless it's one of the bad days. As for getting published, well I wrote the story to have fun. In the process I may have created something that, with some extra work, may be publishable. I don't know. But even if not I have played with a lot of ideas and had a good time doing so.
Probably the biggest thing I've learned, though, is to get out of the short story mentality that I've been stuck in. The biggest problem with writing a novel that I've had over the past year is just how to get to the point where you take an idea and write so many words about it. It seemed impossible. Now it seems like something that I can enjoy doing.
So what's next? First, relax for a bit, get on with other things I've been wanting to do, like getting Ubuntu set up on my laptop, and probably do some work writing on some other ideas before taking a look at the story and probably sorting it out.