I was planning to write this on December 1st, but the end of November came a little sooner than I expected. It’s been a busy month, an exciting month, a stressful month, a painful month, and ultimately a very successful month. I started the month with three objectives: to participate in National Novel Writing Month, to donate bone marrow stem cells, and to complete my GREs (& and work on grad school applications). I am pleased to report success on all three fronts.
In order of success:
Bone Marrow Stem Cell Donation – Done!
The lead-up was dramatic, with an unexpected bad reaction to a plain old painkiller (I want to emphasize that it was NOT one of the usual donation drugs, just the painkiller the doctor had chosen). After that was taken care of and I got on a painkiller I could tolerate, the rest of the procedure went well. I won’t get updates on the recipient’s condition until they’re more stable, but I’ve been informed that the cells made it to the right hospital on time. Win.
GRE – Nearly Perfect
In a fun example of bad scheduling (due to scheduling ahead of time and not being willing to pay half the test price to reschedule), I ended up taking the GREs only four days after the donation. In an example of very bad decision-making, I decided to go see Amanda Palmer‘s show in Falls Church the night before. In an example of good planning, I spent nearly a month studying for the GRE.
Fortunately, the studying won hands down. The show was awesome and I still got a good night’s sleep (test was at 12:30pm); I recovered very quickly from the procedure.
The Math portion was incredibly hard, but I realized afterward that the computer adaptive test kept throwing harder questions at me as I kept getting them right. I finished with only 40 seconds left on the clock. The computer showed me my score before I left: Verbal: 780, Math: 790. This is out of 800, like the SATs. I don’t yet know my score for the essays, but I discovered that blogging had made me perfectly comfortable with a) taking a position and defending it and b) critiquing someone else’s argument by showing flaws in their reasoning.
You can bet your boots there’s a post on GRE prep coming up in December.
National Novel Writing Month – Win
The real monster of the month was my decision to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s more fiction than most people write in their lifetime and more than the total of every piece of fiction I’ve ever written. I haven’t finished the novel yet, but I crossed the 50k mark just before 11pm on November 27th, making me an official NaNoWriMo winner.
I’m going to keep the progress bar up for now, to show how much farther I get this month. I plan to continue writing (though slowing down a little as necessary) because I like the novel, I love writing fiction, and I think it’s not entirely crap…which is good for a first draft.
It’s been a crazy, crazy November, but also one of the most exciting, rewarding, happiest months of my life. Thank you all for your support.