Final NaNoWriMo Installment – The value of failure…

So… the big news, I didn’t write a novel this month.

I guess I could get hung up on that – but I’m not going to. Failure teaches us things that success doesn’t. And getting good at failure – acknowledging it, accepting it, and moving forward – is one of the greatest lessons in life.

A month ago I started working on this blog – which meant writing every day. It happened to coincide with NaNoWriMo and I knew there could be conflicts. Researching and putting out product at regular intervals takes time and mental energy. I also sent off two short stories and wrote a third one. All in all I produced 32,563 new words in the month of November and placed them in some sort of creative order. Now they weren’t for a novel so they don’t count for NaNoWriMo but I was excited when I added them all up.

That’s an average of 1,137 for each day I wrote.

Now – to make the life that I want happen I need to up that to ~ 5,000 words a day. This month taught me that I can do that – not because I did it – but because I kept going. To me writing is like training for a marathon. I’ve become a pretty good sprinter but learning how to work over the long haul is my next challenge….

That, after all, is what NaMoWriMo is all about. To attempt, in the month of November, to write 50,000 words so that you can get a feel for writing a novel. It takes effort – and a different kind of effort than writing articles every day or the random short story.

So here is my list of things I learned…

  • I write best in the morning
  • Sometimes I have too many ideas and have trouble focusing on just one
  • Too much writing crap frustrates me
  • My non-fiction skills are rusty
  • I love writing my blog
  • When I don’t like a story – I can’t write it to save my life – okay maybe to save my life but nothing less
  • I’m not working hard enough
  • Facebook is the root of procrastination – as is random web surfing
  • I have trouble flipping from the blog work then into the fiction work – it seems to work better the other way
  • I can write after one scotch, but not after two – unless it is poetry  
  • When I get up from the computer it takes effort to go back, but it is getting easier

I started this journey with a very specific goal – I have a YA Paranormal idea that I am very excited about. But as the first week progressed I became less and less enamored with it until finally abandoning it. Then I picked up a Horror story idea I’d been kicking around for awhile and started researching that… but it petered out to nothing. My main focus was the blog and I couldn’t seem to create room in my head for a novel.

Learning to split focus –

I haven’t yet learned how to split my focus between the blogs and the fiction. And that needs work – as does marketing my blog – thinking about moving it off and setting it up on its own site. There were so many different things pulling at me and it’s been awhile since I’ve had to manage my day like that. I’m still a project manager at heart so I just have to give myself a plan.

And then there were the migraines – but that is a story I’m not ready to tell.

But like I said, writing like this is like running a marathon. You practice. Working up to longer and longer runs, eventually getting good at it, running effortlessly with ease and joy. Building up stamina and focus and pretty soon you’re writing your novel.  

At least that is my current working theory… if there are any ideas out there let me know. There are as many ways to write as there are people… new input is always welcome.

~ Tess



Filed under Writing

4 responses to “Final NaNoWriMo Installment – The value of failure…

  1. Glad I’m not the only one to fail at NaNo. I had school and NaNo, so it was really tough.

    • Did you get the last NaMo email? We were called the “Go on without me” group. Chris Baty classified us as the people for whom “November turned out to be a very bad month to try and write a novel. Life went completely crazycakes, and you faced a never-ending series of demanding work or school projects, health emergencies, social obligations, and/or tech meltdowns.”

      But I’ll try again next year –

      • will

        I’m no writer, but I would think that over 32k words in one month is a lot to write. For that, I commend you and the others of the “go on without me” group.

  2. @ Will

    From all of us… Thank you!

    It is funny what we think of as a lot and how it changes over time. I often think we limit ourselves by our fear of what is possible. I’ve spent the day fighting with my fear of all the new web technology out there – so I’ve been thinking about this a lot….

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