Yay! (Well, really it's more like phew!) I crossed the finish line, writing 50,510 words by the end of the day November 30th (only because the official NaNoWriMo word counter shorted me 400 words--grrr). I've got an empty box of chocolate truffles, ten patches on my book bag, scary household clutter, and 193 pages to show for my efforts.
About those 193 pages... My other three NaNo novels poured out in a lovely organized fashion. Yes, I experienced tough days and needed to do a thorough revision, but at 50,000 words I'd written solid first drafts. Not so much this time. NaNo #4 came out all mixed up. Despite my efforts to outline, organize, and prepare in October, I found myself writing everything out of order in November. My characters kept saying, no, wait, wait. I have to tell you about this first. No, no, no--skip that part and go to this part instead.
It drove me crazy! But I was determined to add that "Winner" patch to my book bag, so I muddled forward (and backward).
I really have no idea what I've concocted with this mass of pages, but I'm proud of myself for soldiering on through my self-doubt and finishing 50,000 words. Now I'm going to clean my house, pay attention to my family, and read polished work for a week or two. And then I'll look at those 193 pages.
I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait to start revising!