I wish I was failing NaNo.
Some of you may be thinking, “But … you’re not even doing NaNo,” and that’s the point. I decided against participating in NaNoWriMo this year because I knew I’d be far too busy to devote the necessary time to it. I knew I wouldn’t be able to write 50,000 words in a month, and I knew it would hurt my schedule, relationships, and even health to aim for that. I knew I’d fail. So I didn’t even try.
It hit me this Saturday, as I watched all my friends writing and reaching milestones and simply getting words on the paper, that I hadn’t written anything for a week. I realized that while I dream about publishing a book or writing for a career, I won’t get there because I’m simply not writing. If you don’t write, you don’t get better. I also realized that I’m not going to write if I don’t have a goal, a challenge. Then, at last, I realized that I could have been writing, I could have taken advantage of the NaNo challenge, if only I hadn’t been afraid to fail.
In reality, the real failure was not trying in the first place. “Failing” NaNo would have been preferable to my current situation, which is no words added to the book, no lessons learned, and no steps taken closer to achieving my dreams. I have told other people this very truth, but I didn’t heed it myself. The real point of NaNoWriMo is to get you to write. Write. Just write. Write even if it’s horrible, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you’re behind. Write.
Don’t get me wrong—you should try your hardest. You should try to win. Winning NaNo is an incredible achievement, and every writer should, at some point, strive to attain it. However, sometimes you simply don’t have enough time to do so. Sometimes it’s not wise or appropriate to sacrifice other aspects of life to write 50K in a month. That’s the position I found myself in this year. However, I went overboard in the wrong direction. Instead of accepting the fact that I wouldn’t be able to win and simply writing whatever I could, I didn’t write anything.
However, here’s the good news: It’s not too late. No, indeed. Last I checked it’s still November, which means I still have time to participate in NaNoWriMo. “Start NaNoWriMo? Half-way through the month? Are you crazy?” you ask. Perhaps. But then, we writers have always been known for our insanity.
Sure, there’s no way I’ll reach 50K. I may not even get to 25K. But I will get to more-than-zeroK, which is all that matters.
One more thing to note: I’m not condemning anyone who isn’t doing NaNo or saying that it’s the only way to get yourself to write . Some people have come up with other creative goals that will help them write consistently but not kill themselves with NaNo. Unfortunately, those just don’t work for me. Everyone works differently, and I understand (and love) that. The point is, no matter how you choose to motivate—or force—yourself to write, make sure you do it.
Remember that writing nothing is the real failure, and that as long as you keep pressing on, even if it’s only a few words a day, you’re winning.
How’s NaNo going for you? Have you ever realized that you’ve been slacking off to much? How did you fix it? Do tell!
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