I don’t know how they found the place so quickly; it was as if they’d been in the market for asylums all their lives, and choosing the one to ship me off to was something they seemed overly prepared for.

That was how my month began. With a girl being sent off to a mental institution for all the wrong reasons and a set of other characters I didn’t know so well. I know I’ve talked up how much more prepared I was this year, but the truth is that every creative endeavor involves some preparation and a whole lot of seat-of-your-pantsness that can later be tamed down into something that really works. Half the fun is finding out who your characters are, and if they’re actually going to do what you want them to. I’ll have to try to tame this monster later, though. Right now, I’m kind of feeling at a loss for words (in a good way, of course!). Being able to track friends’ progress and see other people posting about NaNoWriMo throughout the month is a great thing because you realize that there is a whole, unseen community of writers out there. (Yes, writers. Not aspiring writers. They’re writing. Give them credit.) To me, it’s awesome to know how many of them have given themselves over to a month of creativity that has no reward other than the fact that they can say that they’ve made it. My best day, I wrote 4,161 words. My worst? 314. (This is not counting the days I didn’t even write. Shame on me.) Some days are just bad for writing. Some are awesome. Most of us will never get published and might not even want to be, but we’ve written. No matter the final outcome, it’s gratifying just to finish something you set out to do. If you won this year, congratulations! We’ve survived, and have something to show for it! If you didn’t, who cares? You tried it, right? No one made a hard and fast rule about November being the only month for novels. I mean, December is looking pretty good . . .