So my NaNo widget is officially stamped with the word WINNER. Very exciting! And I still have a whole four days left in the process. I’m going to use this time to rewrite a couple of scenes from the beginning of my novel which I know need to be changed for continuity. It will be the first draft of them in this iteration so I think that’s fair game.

I have been thinking, though, how very sad I’ll be once NaNoWriMo is over for the year. This was my first year participating although I had been thinking about it for a long time. I remember back in February and March wishing that it was time because I really wanted to write with purpose. I did it alone back then and made a mess and started over and then in August ditched everything to write a whole new novel. It was great, fun, creative, wonderful, difficult, tiresome, horrid, and all those other things.

This was so much better though. I really felt the community spirit while NaNoing. Having published authors, from the genre I’m interested in, take time out of their busy days to talk with me, encourage me, write with me, was an amazing experience. I have gained and learned so much from that experience.

I was always worried that I maybe only had one book in me. The thought of finishing one manuscript and revisions was so daunting I thought that I could never have enough creativity to do it again. But, although I have just finished my NaNo novel draft, and although I have a separate first draft which I finished just before NaNo waiting for revisions, I’m itching to write another story.

A character I had never thought about has sprung up in my mind and I don’t know her story yet but she wants me to tell it. That is by far the most exciting thing. That when 2012 began I didn’t have any characters or worlds or stories of my own — now I have more than I know what to do with. I’m going to take the time to mull over her and write notes while I revise the draft that was finished before NaNo, and maybe mull her over a little more while I revise the NaNo novel draft, and then, when we’re ready (hopefully with some kind of outline!!) I’ll start writing about her.

Having more stories, more characters — who are becoming more and more real to me as they develop — than I have time to deal with is the best thing to have come out of this year. NaNoWriMo has only been the icing on the cake.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of the process for me. Although plenty of people think I’m insane for doing it, writing is actually the thing that has kept me sane this year. I’m finally doing something I’ve always wanted to, and it feels amazing.