A healthy dose of NaNo failure

So, friends, I didn’t make it this year. Compiling 50,000 words into some semblance of a novel for National Novel Writing Month just really exceeded my abilities — especially since I spent most of the month making scarves; gallavanting about with friends; stuffing hams (yes — hams); eating way too much with family; tackling work projects; taking photos; and, you know, visiting California.

By the time I got used to being back on the East Coast and realized I still had my life to tend to here — difficulties, chaos, excitement and all — I’d gotten hopelessly behind on my word count . . . and it was just too scary to try and catch up. I got to the point that I didn’t even want to log into my NaNoWriMo account because I knew how far behind I was — and seeing my miniscule number was disappointing!

But those are all just excuses. What it really comes down to is this: I didn’t make finishing my novel a priority this year. I’m not happy or proud of it, but that’s what happened. Once again, I let daily dramas keep me from doing what it is I love most: writing. Since I had such an easy go of it the past two NaNos, I definitely felt overconfident going into this year’s session! But it was different this November, especially considering I was trying to write a young adult novel (a first for me) and had so many other crazy things going on. In the past, my life has been . . . on an even keel, shall we say. But 2009 was full of all sorts of changes! And I’m sure 2010 will bring lots of great things, too.

I’m not giving up on the book I started last month, but I do feel like there’s still a story in me that I’m just not telling. Somehow I’m not getting to the core of the issue, not really writing from the heart . . . not telling my own story, I guess. I’m actually going to return to a book I started over the summer! I got 50 pages in, decided I wasn’t sure “where it all was going” (do we ever know where it’s going, really?), hit “save” and promptly buried it on my flash drive. But I’ve been thinking more and more about those characters . . . and I’m ready to rejoin them. Out in Los Angeles, as the case may be! (And I didn’t even know I’d be in L.A. myself a few months later. Life is funny!)

Congratulations to all of the NaNoWriMo victors out there — you guys are awesome! Grab your winner badges and proudly display them for all of the literature-loving world to see. And I hope to be back among you next year!

10 thoughts on “A healthy dose of NaNo failure

  1. “Once again, I let daily dramas keep me from doing what it is I love most: writing.”

    This is exactly what I’ve been doing lately, too. But, I guess we shouldn’t beat ourselves down. Life happens. We can’t stop it. (Though, I haven’t given up on finding that magic button that halts my crazy life–so I have all the time I want to write. If I ever find it, I’ll let you know.)

    Also, I’m with you on the “there’s a story in me that I’m just not telling.” It really sucks when you work so hard on a story, yet, it never feels right. You know, like somethings missing.

    I’ve had this problem lately, but I think I’m finally back on track. At least I hope I am!

    PS – I’m so jealous. I want to go to LA so bad!


  2. I think if you weren’t ready, then it wasn’t time for you to write! Just because it was time for NaNo doesn’t mean it was time for you. I’m sure the story hiding inside you will come out!


  3. I didn’t finish either I think I was over confident too because I did it last year and this year I had a whole outline and character sketches and everything. I also had a six month old baby though 🙂 So I’ve decided I’ll have to take the marathoner approach not the sprint!

    Are you going to tell us anymore about your book? I’m writing YA too.

    Good luck!


  4. I didn’t complete the NaNo challenge either. But I think that even when you fail, you learn something valuable. And I sure did: I learned that next year, I’m going to need to dedicate more time and effort into my novel. I got stuck with my characters and didn’t know where I wanted to send them next and I let that block prevent me from writing for far too many days. This will not happen next year. I’m glad that failing hasn’t discouraged you from writing, it hasn’t discouraged me either. In fact, I would say the opposite is true. I’m now more encouraged than ever.


  5. As you know, I didn’t finish either. No big deal, we’ll get it next year! I like the idea of you returning to the 60 pages you already wrote. Can’t wait to hear about it!


  6. Pingback: Since writers write, I’ll be writing « write meg!

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