An Epic Failure?

Nanowrimo is over for another year, and once again I didn’t even come close to finishing. I didn’t even finish a single project (I was rebelling and trying to finish two previously-started projects). Some might look at my numbers and conclude I failed epically. But really, I achieved one of the goals I set myself this Nanowrimo (use the energy and social dynamics of it to make myself write more often). I did write more often, and I discovered a writing partner along the way in an old friend. We found a way to help each other achieve more and better wordage and that’s worth gold all by itself.

But one of the other things I got out of Nanowrimo was unexpected, though not unwelcome. I learned some things about myself, and my writing process. That sort of self-discovery is deeply important to any artist, and the realizations can strike at any time. In this case, the very structure and culture surrounding Nano helped me to see things about myself that I had previously been blind to. Self-knowledge of an artist’s own process is vital to success. We can talk endlessly about ways others have succeeded, and recipes for success, and lessons from the greats. But one thing oft repeated in the writing world is that what works for one writer may not work for another. We each must find our own path and follow it. Sometimes the path changes, sometimes it doesn’t, but if we don’t know it then we’ll be lost in the weeds, stumbling in circles like footsore adventurers gone astray. So this December I’m more thankful for the clarity achieved in November than for any great strides in word-count. Being conscious of what works for me (and what doesn’t), I think I can begin to craft a routine that will do more for my out-put than any outside devices or regimes could do.

I hope everyone else had a satisfactory Nano, with the achievements and goals reached or strived for that you set yourselves, whether you achieved 50k words or a complete novel or not.



  1. Ruth Cooke said,

    December 4, 2013 at 11:06 am

    My NaNo goal was simple: write every day in November. And continue that practice on for the rest of my life, if I can.

    This was my ninth NaNo, and my fourth win. Which means I still have one more NaNo to go before I break even, so to speak. The learning process if valuable, Lia, and as the years go on I see that one of the most important predictors of success is how many NaNoWriMos someone has participated in. Very few of my NaNo buddies have tried and failed every year — eventually they learn what makes them tick, and they’re away to the races!

    Go you! And may your coming year be filled with lots and lots of new words!

    • Lia said,

      December 6, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Congrats and hurray for the win! That sounds like a good goal to have had, and one that Nano is pretty good at helping with.

      Thanks for the encouragement! Hope your year is also filled with many words. 🙂

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