3-Day Novel Contest vanquished!

As I just posted on my 3-Day Novel Contest blog, Pirates Vs. Ninjas:

My 3-Day Novel Contest entry, an 81-page novel entitled Rebels of the 512, is done!

And now for a final recap on the #3DNC event itself.

In the final hours of the contest, between 10 PM and midnight, I sat re-reading the novel I had produced in just 72 hours, making minor changes here and there, correcting typos and adding a few explanatory words as I went. But you know what? Overall, this novel was pretty coherent, not too badly written (y’know, for a genre piece in the questing/adventure vein, something I’ve never written before), and really REALLY impressive precisely because it had a beginning, middle and end, and it was A FINISHED PRODUCT.

Let me stress that, because while some say it’s the journey that matters, not the destination, this contest is ALL ABOUT THE DESTINATION. When you finish something you’ve been working on, you feel good. No, you feel great! You feel like you can do anything. And the truth is that you can, if you set your mind to it and then do the work. Because writing a novel isn’t all fun and games (though, yes, researching random items that pop into your brain as kernels of the story is pretty awesome), and the real point of doing a contest like this is forcing yourself to write to a serious deadline. No one will put the gun to your head but you. And although the 3-Day Novel Contest tells you the rules are that you start writing at midnight on the 3rd and stop writing at midnight on the 5th, who is really there to enforce these rules and make sure you’re playing fair?

That’s right, YOU.

In the end, the writer is the only one who can motivate herself to do the work, who sets the deadlines for herself, who writes even when she feels tired or stressed or anxious or sick. The writer must be her own boss, her own taskmaster, her own time-keeper, her own police force when it comes to playing by the rules or breaking them all. And that’s what writers love about writing, but it can also be their greatest challenge.

And even though the writer must be disciplined and do her share, I must also acknowledge my thanks to some key players. I’ve already thanked my Kickstarter contributors, who donated $130 to my cause, so I will reiterate that here. Thanks to everyone who pledged, who supported me, and who offered their character names to the novel!

Perhaps even more importantly, however, my husband helped me enormously during this marathon of writing. He cooked most of the meals we ate this weekend (NB: he is almost always on breakfast duty anyway, because of his outrageous—even, dare I say, “eggcellent”?—egg-making skills), went out to the grocery store on supply runs when I needed caffeine, chocolate and salty snacks, and did his best to keep the overall carb-count low despite these indulgences (hence the peanut-butter cups, smoke-flavored almonds and Diet Dr Pepper). He did not complain when I was up rummaging in the kitchen at 7 AM, starting pots of coffee and typing madly on my keyboard (though normally he does not care to rise any earlier than 8, and is a light sleeper who is easily disturbed by these types of actions). He stayed out of my way while I was on my word sprints, took documentary photos of the command station, verbally kicked my ass when I wandered too far from the computer, distracted our silky but neglected (not really) kitty, Nedward*, and continually prodded me with “How many words do you have?” and “Are you done yet?”

He even retreated to his own office space to create phat beats for an in-progress musical compilation, effectively turning the 3-day weekend into a massive artistic conspiracy for both of us!

So mad props to the UnGooglable Man himself for his love and support and tasty, tasty breakfast sausage sandwiches. (I believe he christened one “The Clogger,” as it was certainly hazardous to one’s arteries.)

In the end, I am happy I spent my long weekend holed up indoors writing a novel. At the end of Day 1 I was thinking to myself, “God, why does anyone want to do this?!”, realizing I was going to miss a perfectly good long weekend’s worth of lazing around, writing silly blogs, maybe even hitting Barton Springs for a well-deserved swim or otherwise enjoying the “last weekend of summer” (despite the fact that Austin remains hot until October) in the lazy ways that other, normal people do. But you know what? I’m NOT normal, and I don’t care to be, and writing a novel in 3 days is actually my idea of fun. So there. So I stuck with it, and now look at me! I’m a 3-Day Novelist! I can put it on my résumé. I can tell people, when they asked me what I did this weekend, “I wrote a novel.” And I can revel in that, when they step back in fear and horror, realizing they wasted their 3-day weekends at BBQs, at swimming holes, or in front of a TV.

Bragging rights, people. They’re what make life worth living.

But seriously. The 3-Day Novel Contest isn’t for everybody. I know that. I get that. And that’s fine. I just like to feel a little shinier, a little more special, every now and then, because I know that I have done something extraordinary. 500 people wrote novels this weekend, too. I know I’m not alone in my shiny special-ness (and I know “special-ness” isn’t actually a word, mom), but damn if it doesn’t feel good having met the challenge.

I wrote a novel this Labor Day weekend. What did you do?

* NOTE: No kitties were harmed during the making of this 3-day novel. Nedward Carlos Nedwards is as silky and spoiled as ever, despite our best efforts to ignore his unyielding desire to be on the wrong side of every door, particularly the one leading to our balcony. His daily snuggling regimen is back on track, as of this writing.

6 Responses
  1. Congrats on completing your 72 hour novel extravaganza! I fully agree – as awesome as it is to have a finished piece, writing is always about the journey.

    I may try my hand at it next time it comes around :)

  2. Thanks Danielle! This contest is pretty fun, and pretty crazy, so it’s nice to know it happens only once a year. :)

  3. Kay says:

    Hi! I found you at random and am another survivor of the 2011 3DNC. This year was my third run at it in 4 years, and I’m really pleased with how it went.

    Are you going a little batty waiting for results? I most certainly am.

  4. Hi Kay, great to meet you. I definitely had fun with the contest this year, but yes, I’m dying to know the results! They’re usually out in January, right?

  5. Kay says:

    Well, the official date is supposed to be sometime in January, but it’s usually right at the end of the month, sometimes a bit into February. It’s such a long time to wait from the beginning of September!

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