So. November has ended. It’s already December 2nd here in Japan.

And I won NaNoWriMo!!!!!

And I finished my Novel!!!!

I honestly can’t believe this thing I have been writing for 3 years is finally finished and ready to edit. I have to write a scene I skipped, but that will be a fun way to get back into writing when I am feeling burnt out on editing in January. I want to turn my first draft into a revised draft and have it be readable for my friends and others who have agreed to edit it with me. I have a lot of people who like my writing, but I need people who hate my style completely or hate something about my novel to read it and tell me why so that I have an even mix haha. Usually I hate critique but I am learning that if you want a better anything, first you must ask someone to look at it and tell you what’s wrong.

But I feel empty. I feel strange. What do I do with myself now? I remind myself to go home and write, but I finished.

Well, I get to read now. I have a ton of books on my kindle app and I bought a few paperbacks as well, and I am going to try and read as much as I can. I have an easier schedule until winter break, and then I am going to Hong Kong for New Year’s.

I am also going to about 4 concerts in December and January. Arashi, Matsushita Yuya, Big Bang, and Mayday. I am pumped about seeing all of them. And it will help me take my mind off of not going home for Christmas.

But Hong Kong will be amazing. I am so excited to be going to a new country, and I am working on my Cantonese.

Last night I was feeling really homesick and stressed because today I am at a school that usually stresses me out. But I just relaxed and picked a few activities to do and ran with it. I got to school and put on a huge happy face and everyone was nice and it went much better than I had hoped. I have one last class for the day and then I am done. Free to read books and watch TV. Finally. I didn’t watch a single Walking Dead episode in November, and it’s killing me.

My final thoughts on how November went go a little something like this: People will always try to tell you not to do something because to them it seems impossible. I’m no different. If I hear someone telling me they want to do this crazy thing, I usually just nod and say, “Good luck with that…” But NaNoWriMo is an amazing experience. It is so personal and yet so communal that it really works, and I hope it continues for many years to come. But reading writing advice when you are writing something you are in love with and treat as your unborn child is toxic. You always go back to your writing thinking, “Oh man, they said not to do that thing and I am doing the thing…”

Now that my novel is complete in a first draft, I can shrug and say, “Yeah it needs editing, and yeah I wrote a lot of crap that might not be any good until I fix it, but hey, I wrote it.” Not many people can say that. Not even people who won NaNoWriMo. A lot of people who pantsed the project won’t end up with a complete novel by the end of November. I only wrote about 30k on my novel the first three weeks I wrote on it, but it definitely wasn’t anywhere near complete. So now I am done and I can take writing advice. But people still working on their WIPs need to ignore writing advice and just do it. It is so difficult, but if you are writing something you love, you will just get in this trance while writing and you will forget about pace and POV and adverbs and you will just write the story that is coming out of you. Later, go back and read tons of reading advice. But don’t think that it is the end all be all of writing. Everyone has different styles.

I also think, on the other end of the spectrum are the non-finishers. The quitters. They gave up. It was too hard. But the thing is, sure NaNo has a set 50k goal and a 30 day deadline. But that doesn’t mean that if you hit 45k on day 31 or something that you are a loser. You wrote words! A lot of them! I think people get overwhelmed but the thing is, it was your idea to do it, and it can be your idea to change the goal or the deadline. Not everyone can work at the same pace. Some people need a higher goal. Some people need a goal for their editing instead of writing. That’s why NaNoWriMo is so amazing. You can go on the forums and find the ‘rebels’ and find that your goals match those of other participants. Just don’t give up. Life is too short to say “Oh, I always wanted to do that one thing but during week 2 I just decided I was inadequate and quit.” I don’t think so. Do what you want and do it RIGHT NOW.

Tomorrow I get a nice, easy day at the Board of Education. I get to read. All day. And then I have a good week schedule for the rest of the week. We even get a three day weekend at the end of December. Last night I felt so overwhelmed and awful but now that I have a brilliant work schedule, a nice long break, and more free time that doesn’t involve panicing and writing until midnight, I am so much calmer.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and got to realize what they appreciate around them.

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