Last night at 10:16 p.m., I completed the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge. I crossed the finish line with 50066 words and a story that's only half finished. This is the first win I've had in five years of attempting novel in a month challenges. Over the past month, I have found some NaNo specific benefits to my writing.
First of all, as NaNo founder Chris Baty says in No Plot? No Problem! "The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It's the lack of a deadline." I have found this to be 110% accurate. With a firm deadline of July 31st and a goal of 50k words, I actually finished a day early.
To anyone who participates in NaNo and feels overwhelmed by the 50k goal, I say break it down. Just write 2k every day, even if it's pure gibberish. You can tie it all in later. I don't feel the 50k word count goal should be lowered simply because 50k, once completed, is too big a project to completely ignore. When you've got 50k+ words written into a story, you're not going to be turning your back on it with much success. Even if you stop at, say 35k, it's still a hefty amount of words that will not take being forgotten very lightly at all. Challenges like NaNo make you write such a sheer volume of words that you only have a small window in which to give up.
In the interests of not giving up, I've chosen to be a NaNo rebel and spend the August Camp NaNo session finishing my novel. I intend to use a separate online word counter that I've found to be fairly accurate when compared to the one on the NaNo site and write until the story is finished. My word count goal is 80k, though that number is not set in stone. I'm going for a finished novel, no matter the word count. Editing will begin in Nov or Dec.
For now, I'm going to get some more writing done in my novel. After all July isn't over yet.