I started writing a novel in November. I did not finish.
This is the first time that I have ever even halfway participated in National Novel Writing Month, the month every year when aspiring novelists churn out prose in an attempt to finish a novel in 30 days. I told myself at the beginning of the month that I would not be participating--but then, lo and behold, one Sunday I woke up with an idea for a novel that absolutely had to be written, and I went directly to my laptop to begin writing it.
I told myself that I was not participating in NaNoWriMo, just that I happened to be attempting to write a novel in a month that other people happened to identify as NaNoWriMo. So what? So other people were doing this thing, this insane thing. That didn't mean that I had to participate. I was doing my own thing. (Equally insane, perhaps, but still.)
The same time I was telling myself this, telling myself that I was doing my own thing, I was all the time painfully aware that it was NaNoWriMo, that others on my Twitter feed and Google Reader were lobbing missives about their progress over the digital transom--20K words, 30, 40, 50, and beyond.
All the while, I was moving slowly toward having 20,000 words by the end of the month (non-mission accomplished), and realizing that I was not cut out for NaNoWriMo. If I tried to keep pace, I'm still quite certain I would have ended up with 60,000 words of horrible prose, a messy plot, paper-thin characterizations, and a deep, abiding hatred for a story concept that I still think is pretty decent. (And no I'm not going to share it just yet; I'm superstitious like that.)
So I'm glad NaNoWriMo is over, and glad to be continuing to work at a slow but just right (for me) pace.