Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NaNoWriMo- On Success and Failure

So its the final day of National Novel Writing Month. At this point I'm sure many of you, like me, are scrambling to reach their 50,000 word count. But I'm taking a break in this moment to talk not only about succeeding at the NaNoWriMo challenge but failing it as well.

Today, some of you will hit your 50,000 words. Some of you already have and are going for an even larger word goal. And that's AMAZING. Maybe 80% of the words are crap. Maybe you don't even know if it works as a story. But you wrote a novel in a month. That's an astonishing feat of dedication. You worked hard and even if you don't come back to this novel in the near future, you earned some valuable writing experience.

For some of you, maybe this is the first novel you've ever finished. That's even more amazing, because now you know you can do it. With enough hard work and dedication, you can type 'the end' on a book. I hope you write many, many more.

For others this is their tenth novel. Which is also SO cool. You've put out so many books and even if they haven't all been winners, some of them are. Some of them have or will taken you all the way to down the publishing road.

If you won this year's NaNoWriMo, pat yourself on the back. Take a breath. Then put away your draft and take a well deserved break. You can edit out all the terrible parts later.

But some of you may have "lost" NaNoWriMo this year. But honestly, why think about it as a loss? Whatever you managed to write--10,000 words, 20,000 words, 30,000 etc--that's still a good chunk of a novel. You're still one step closer to a completed draft. Maybe you're close to 50,000 but you won't be able to hit it today. That's fine. Take your time. What does it matter if you finish a draft in a month and a day, a month and a week or even two months? That's still a tremendous accomplishment.

The bottom line is, NaNoWriMo isn't for everyone. Sometimes people draft slowly. That's a valid way to write a novel. As long as it gets done and you're proud of it, who cares that it wasn't written in a month? You're still a writer who wrote a whole book. Celebrate that.

I've won NaNoWriMo and I've lost NaNoWriMo. Sometimes, I burnt myself out writing in October before I hit November. Last year, my life was too emotionally tumultuous and I didn't write a dang thing in the Fall. I felt terrible about it because fast drafting is my skill. I felt so unproductive and like I lost my creative spark. But then I hit spring of 2016 and I fast drafted two novels. Those novels weren't better or worse because I didn't write them in November. They were still drafts. Messy drafts, but drafts none the less.

So if you tried NaNoWriMo at all this year, whether you won or "lost", pat yourself on the back and celebrate. Not many people would even attempt what you guys did and you deserve all the credit in the world for it. Tomorrrow's a new day of writing and who knows what it will bring!

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