Right, so, “Why failing NaNoWriMo was a good thing”.
This was my fifth year of doing NaNo and the first year that I have not reached 50k in thirty days. At the moment my wordcount stands at about 31k. Now, that’s not really that bad for a month’s work. Averaged out it’s just over a thousand words a day.
The reasons I didn’t get my purple bar this year are legion: there were days when I wrote nothing because I had family visiting that I hadn’t seen for over a decade and I didn’t want to be rude; there were a couple of days I didn’t write because one of our friends had had a bad time and was round at ours and to be honest making sure she was OK was more important than my wordcount; there were days when I was just too tired after work.
Work is the main reason. I’m not saying that my work is more tiring than anyone else’s. There are people who work longer hours than me at more difficult jobs that Win every year. This year, though, for me, was super tough. It was like a perfect storm of distractions, complications and epic busyness. I signed up for some stuff at work that takes up more time, because I feel like I should be committed to personal development to keep me working to the best of my ability. I carried on helping at the Drama club. I had my actual job to do. I think I’ve had more late finishes at work this November where I’ve actually been doing work-related things than I’ve ever had.
I did not write a single NaNo word at work this year. Last year I wrote half of it at work. Oops. It usually becomes an obsession. I’m super-competitive and no more so than when I’m competing against myself. A CHALLENGE?!?! Bring it on. Fifty thousand words in thirty days is a good challenge. It involves writing (duh) and it is a target that is so easy to manage or totally fail at based on personal discipline. Last year, and the year before, my work suffered because I was so determined to get my writing done. An anonymous community of strangers judging me for my word count was more important to me than the work and the people around me. Failure was not an option.
So this year’s failure I’m counting as a Win for personal development. My work stayed the priority over my skewed and disproportionate pride and competitiveness. I’ve had a good month and I’ve really enjoyed the writing that I have done: I rediscovered my first ever NaNo and am closer than ever to finishing the complete draft for that story!
It was third year at university and I lived in a flat with all girls and a couple of them –OK, me and one other – were sort of into Twilight a little. Not totally obsessed. Not like Twihards. But we read the books and liked them a proportionate amount. Anyway, that November my other flatmate told us about NaNoWriMo and she said she was going to do it. So we all signed up to keep her going. So I wrote about what I knew. I based the main character on myself, wrote it in the first person, and off I went. Fifty thousand words later there were vampires and werewolves and shape shifters and trips to Norway and London. And danger! And romance! And a lot of kissing. It was a product of its time and in some ways so shameful but right now it’s at 70k+ and thus officially the longest thing I’ve ever written and I am super proud of myself.
So enjoying some pressure-free writing was more important to me this month. I am desperate to try and keep writing more regularly and at least get this vampire story finished so I can leave it be for a while and let it settle, and get on with some more grown-up ventures. Like the other unfinished drafts. And… the new sci fi thing… I accidentally started writing… um… oops?