Yep, despite my stressing and panicking over the last month, I hit the 50,000 word target on Friday and won NaNoWriMo with a day to spare. It was the first time I'd attempted the challenge, so I didn't have a lot of confidence in being able to complete it. It took me almost a year to complete a 52,000 word novel (though that did include a lot of rewriting), so the idea of hitting 50,000 words in 30 days was overwhelming. My novel is incomplete and most of the words are cliched and crude, but NaNoWriMo has given me an incredible jump start.
This is true even if you fell short - completing 30,000 or 15,000 words of a novel in a month is still an achievement and provides the impetus (hopefully) to get the entire draft finished. I aim to complete the first draft of my novel over the next couple of months. Tackling such a challenge, regardless of how far you get, is courageous and shows dedication.
Doing NaNoWriMo has helped me to prove to myself that I have the commitment it takes to write. After all, if I am ever able to earn a living through writing, there will be countless times when I have to write instead of going out or relaxing in front of the TV. I will spend hours at my computer, crying out 'I don't know what happens next!' I will have to work through a million mini-crises when I think I'm not capable of reaching my goal. But now I know I can rise to these challenges - and more.
I don't know if my novel will see light of day, let alone be published, but every single word I've typed is good practice. As is the fact that I wrote most of them whilst berating my puppy for chewing the chair and uprooting my mother's pot plants. It's also helped keep my mind on the future at the end of a difficult year. It's been a hard slog, but NaNoWriMo has yielded more than I imagined it could.