Right now, as I write this, my NaNoWriMo 2016 novel sits on my hard drive at 45,061 words long. I can see the finish line. At my current pace, 50,000 is only a few days away. It has been going well.

I intended to participate in NaNoWriMo 2015, but it took place the month I moved to Portland, which was a busier month than I expected. In September, I made a commitment to myself to participate this year. I wrote a few short stories in October to prepare myself. In the middle of October, when I was eating lunch one day, I came across the idea that I wanted to use as the base of the novel. I captured the idea and then ignored it for the rest of October. I didn’t want to overthink the idea before I could start writing.

On the first of November I started the novel, and I have exceeded the daily word count goal of 1,667 words every day. Getting out ahead of the daily word count goal relieved the pressure of having to catch up after falling behind. For the most part, I have been writing first thing in the morning before starting any other work. Getting the writing done freed up my thoughts for the rest of the day.

A great joy of writing the novel without having the plot outlined are the surprises that I came across. Ideas would come to mind, and I would follow the path they brought me down. Most of the time, the paths I went down progressed the plot in ways that I enjoyed. Other times I had to turn around take a different path. At first, turning around and taking a different path felt like I made a mistake, but as that continued to happened I realized that it was not a mistake but a discovery. I learned more about the characters, the setting, and the plot which helped tell the story.

I have one chapter and the epilogue left to write, and then the first draft of the novel will be done. I’m looking forward to waking up tomorrow and getting a few pages closer to the end.