That’s life isn’t it. You set a goal, make a plan to get there, get your hopes up, then NaNoWriMo kicks off, and you immediately get distracted, the plan gets shot down, you adapt, you improvise, get distracted again, make small concessions to your goal, adapt some more, realize that it’s harder than you remembered, make bigger concessions, sob in misery and despair, wipe away your tears, and then suddenly it’s day two. Or five. Or ten. Or as it turns out; day twenty-two.
And I’m in fact behind on my word count. And that’s okay. And if you’re behind, that’s okay too. It would be nice to be able to say that I wrote a novel in a month and be looked at with awe, get showered with compliments, beer and sandwiches, but in reality that’s not the case. And that’s okay. This is the main point of this post: it’s okay to fail at NaNoWriMo.
Because what we’re building is a writing skill, with writing habits and a trust in our ability to put pretty words on a page and/or screen. We can worry about deadlines when we have actual paying jobs as writers.
So if you’re like me, take stock and make a sensible plan for the rest of November, and then focus on solidifying that skill past November. Currently I have 17.000(ish) words down, a solid outline for act one and two with notes on act three, a list of named characters with their internal relationships mapped out, and nine writing days to go. My goal for this last period is to exceed 25.000 words, which means I need to put out 600 words a day. It’s manageable and will give me that nifty badge on my profile.
And then the work goes on. You keep working on your habit, your skill, and soon you’ll have a novel done. Or you’ll kill it and start something else. Or stop because you hate it. And all of those are OK.
But what do you think? Did I waste my November? Let me know.
And now… The NaNoWriMo song.