The short recap:
It's hard. Very, very hard.
Of course I'd heard of National Novel Writing Month, but this was the first year I've participated. The goal is to write a first draft, emphasis on draft, during the month of November. I set a goal of fifty thousand words, made my little composition notebook about it, read up on tips and tricks to get through the month, cleared my desk and my schedule, and set to work. By day two I was behind.
Here's the thing, when you run a business, especially a newbie baby business, you can't really clear your schedule. Sure, you can try, but when someone offers you money for work, you can't really pass them up. Not at this point, anyway. So, despite the fact that Jessica and I agreed to not take on any work outside our normal workload, we meant it. We tried, we really did. But when an affordable retail space opened up, we had to take it, meaning I spent two days moving instead of writing. And when a client comes to you with an idea for a Christmas book, you publish since her books sell really well and the window for Christmas books is small. Then you spend one day writing a Lynx & LeRoux Christmas book instead of working on your NaNoWriMo project. So, you get the idea. Work doesn't stop just because we decided to embark on this journey.
Not to mention the holidays. I didn't write on Thanksgiving because, well, Thanksgiving. I spent the next three days out of town with my husband's family. I took my laptop and my stupid composition notebook, but accomplished very little. Well, that's not true. I got to spend time with people I don't see all that often, eat some great food, look at art, and totally dominate when we played Catan. To me, that's an accomplishment. Not a writing accomplishment, but an accomplishment all the same.
So, is my first draft ready? No. Not by a long shot. But I'm closer than I was. I have a clear idea of where the story is going and how it needs to get there. The first draft should be ready by the middle of December; that's just going to have to be good enough.
Jessica is in the same boat. She's much further along than I am and she's been doing this a lot longer than I. Her draft will be in decent shape when I get it next week. Then we move on to the revising stage. We're shooting for a late spring release. Since we've gone through this process together, we're also going to release together. And probably do book signings together because it sucks to do them alone.
So, the take away. National Novel Writing Month is challenging, both mentally and physically. You have to push aside friends, social engagements, work, couch time, and housework. God. The housework. But you hopefully come out of the month with a sense of accomplishment and pride, even if you fell short of your goal.