I’ll be honest, I was nervous about NaNoWriMo. I don’t like to fail at stuff, but I also like to give myself unreasonable challenges (see this post about how chaotic November was supposed to be from the beginning.)
I started with the last of three projects I outlined because it was fresh in my head. But, it turns out, the project was too fresh. It wasn’t ready to be written, despite being nicely outlined in an excel spreadsheet. Around day 11, I realized I couldn’t keep writing that project. It didn’t have the momentum I needed to be able to finish 50,000 words in a month for NaNoWriMo, because my interest in it fizzled out after 16,000 words.
I considered giving up entirely. Day 11 was also around the point where I had an apartment full of boxes and totes with hardly anywhere to actually PUT the stuff. The whole situation had me overwhelmed. I wanted to write at a leisurely pace and just enjoy it. Or, really, I wanted to throw my laptop in the street because of disappointment.
Instead, I picked up another project.
This time, I latched on to the first idea I outlined. This one had been simmering since September, when my husband left the longest idea on the shower-wall notepad. The idea triggered all kinds of ideas, especially after my marvelous trip to Glacier National Park.
I outlined it sometime in October while I let my summer WIP sit before revising. Then I outlined it again.
When I started writing, the words came out like crazy. The quick start worried me, because I didn’t think I’d be able to maintain the pace and would, again, fizzle out and fail.
But now, I have my winner’s certificate. I finished with the 16,000 from the first project and then 34,000 on the new one. It’s not the “traditional” way to win, but I did write 50,000 words in November. I’m still going too.
Winning NaNoWriMo isn’t the end.
Writing a first draft, or most of one, is a huge accomplishment and I’ll forever stand by this statement. NaNoWriMo rocks for people like me who are very goal oriented and also kind of crazy. It helps challenge me to be better at the things I want to exceed at, because it’s HARD.
But not finishing doesn’t mean anything. Everyone’s different, and writing 50,000 words sometimes doesn’t work with life. With having to do Thanksgiving things and deal with other responsibilities, November’s not an easy month to find spare time. So if you didn’t finish, don’t be disappointed. You still tried, and you’re still going to finish that novel.