NaNoWriMo is my annual holiday. Every year, I put forth an effort to actually succeed at finishing around 50,000 words in one month. Unfortunately, I failed to reach that goal this year.
I did not fail NaNoWriMo, though.
The good news is that I’m not alone. A lot of people across the world failed to meet their 50,000 word quota for the month. A lot of things come up to distract us from this effort, all easily placed under the header of “Life.” In my situation, I spread myself too thin. I chose to write on three projects at the same time, two of which were collaborations, and because of this my cadence broke and I became lazy.
That’s alright as well, though.
NaNoWriMo is meant to remind you about your writing commitments. It’s meant to help you self-analyze your writing habits and learn more about yourself in the process.
When I first started doing NaNoWriMo, I failed two years in a row to hit that magical 50k, but those first two years were a huge success. They were a success because, before that, I had only ever written around 15,000 words to any one story. In my first NaNo, I wrote around 25k, surpassing my old standard and showing myself that it could be done and that such an insurmountable seeming task wasn’t difficult if I just approached it one piece at a time.
In my second year I was able to feel the success that came with having a completed novel. It was indescribable. A piece of art that was in my hand, crafted and molded to the best of my abilities and able to project images directly into someone else’s mind. Stephen King said it himself in “On Writing” when he compared writing a book to the closest thing we’ll ever achieve to telepathy. I was feeling that power from the moment that I typed “The End.”
Success during NaNoWriMo has little to do with hitting that magical number. That number is just there as a goal for the masses to aim for, but at the end of the day we’re only held accountable to ourselves.
While I was distracted by multiple projects and phony excuses to myself, that wasn’t any different than my October had been. The difference was that I wrote 12,000 words in two different titles that I’m working on. I also finished an anthology piece. It was a productive month that only served to highlight a weakness of mine that I had forgotten I had. In an effort to produce as many titles as I could this year, I overbooked, underperformed, and failed to provide. It sounds like failure but it’s the furthest thing from it.
NaNoWriMo moved me forward on projects that I had and showed me what I have to do to finish titles in the future.
I hope you all had a successful NaNoWriMo, no matter what your word count was.