I _ am _ happy!
In fact, I will go as far as to say that I am ecstatic!
I did the word verification thingy on the Nano site, and I have reached 50,507 words - and I still haven't finished my story.
It has amazed me that I was able to complete the 50,000-word challenge - and with 5 days to spare - considering I've spent most of my life concentrating on the short story - and I'm not even finished!
I started my Nano-book with a series of short stories that interconnected but, half way through, I introduced a couple of characters that seemed to hijack my book, and they have turned it into something I hadn't dreamed of - it's utterly amazing to see!
I can now see the difference between just writing something down, or in living your story, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the experience of seeing my words settle down like a bird on a nest, and carefully letting the story develop as it may.
The difference between writing a plan, and carefully following it from A to Z, and this whole free-writing until you run out of ideas way, has been a revelation to me, and I can at last see the writing experience coming to some sort of fruition in me - boy, it's a wild and bumpy journey, but it's so exhilarating!