…Wow. Words I never thought I’d type. Ever.
We’ve all been there. You probably deleted something you spent hours on and replaced it with those two simple words.
So yeah. I failed NaNoWriMo for the first time in like five years. And that hurt worse than breaking bones, burned more than the fire in my hearth, and all around just made me feel like a total and incomplete waste.
But I shouldn’t feel this way. I know. You tried your best, you gave it your all. Better luck next time, champ.
Even in my failure though, I accomplished something that many people never thought they could do. And for 30 days I was a champ.
My total writing output for the month was a little over 60,000 words. But that’s winning, isn’t it? You’re supposed to write only 50,000!
My NaNo this year was to finish my novella and write the first half of a standalone novel all the while outlining and index carding two other books.
Way too much on my plate. In the end, I charted 37,258 on my standalone and mixed the rest up with my novella and a couple of index cards and a sample chapter or two for Night Watch. And redesigned my webpage. That was excruciating.
If writers are gluttons for punishment, and even a tad sadistic with what they do to these poor little characters on paper, than web designers are masochists. And my heart goes out to them.
Seriously. That stuff is hard.
But, now my grand total on the standalone is 25,111. Don’t ask. The pruning sheers were excellent. And justifiable.
Given all the freak accidents and bad luck that befell me this month, 25,111 is something to be proud of.
Then why don’t I feel like such a hero?
Because I don’t have anything to show for it.
Except for 25,111 words?! That’s more than most people write in their lifetime.
I think part of it stems from my reckless abandon as I chased the finish line and impulsively checked my word count every five minutes.
I wrote scenes that were 1,000 words long because they needed to be 1,000 words long. I didn’t force myself to stretch a paper thin premise for an extra 600 words that I knew it didn’t need.
Because what would that accomplish? A little check mark on my daily planner.
Big stinkin’ deal.
I can’t help but prune as I go along. Even when I turn spell check off, I still see that tiny little oopsie and I go crazy. Out, damned spot!
Were they distractions? Yup. Were the necessary distractions. You’re damn right.
I’ve never “not finished” a book because I got hemmed up on the distractions of the craft. I’m the type of person that would prefer to do something write (yes!) the first time rather than go about and redo it six times when it could have been perfect on the first.
I know this NaNo will get finished. It just won’t be done for the month of November.
Because you can’t microwave dinner and call it a gourmet meal, no matter what the pretty packaging will try to convince you of.
And even though I spent a good three hours designing a pretty cover that I hoped to have on a printed ARC for next week, it’s okay. Because I know something that pretty deserves to be on something that twisted.
But, when it’s done and I approve, I know it will go next to all my other books. If I’m going to put my little pile of dreck next to Stephen King and Jeff Abercrombie, then you can bet I’m going to do the best I can to make it FIT on that shelf.
You can’t dress up a rusted out Beetle to make it look like a brand new Benz.
And my little books keep company in high society on my shelf.
So, I won, even though I failed. But I won. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but it does. The point is, you don’t need one month out of the year to prove you can write. You can do that every month. And every day. Even if you failed, you still accomplished something.
And something is better than nothing.
So, did you guys win NaNo this year? What beat you down? Did you celebrate your success?