I Failed NaNoWriMo, and that’s okay.

So I failed NaNoWriMo.

I could have written 50,000 words, but I didn’t. I could have written everyday in the month of November, but I didn’t. I could have finished my novel, but I didn’t. I could be upset about my failure, but I’m not. The thing is, I did so much more this month than I have in years, and I am doing so much better this than I was last year. How can I be upset about that?

NaNoWriMo was a personal challenge I started with great enthusiasm, but slowly tempered down. This is something I do a lot. My personal goals are generally small and easy to manage because of this tendency. On my list of priorities NaNoWriMo was probably in position 3 or 4, so my failure has not hit hard. Honestly, I am impressed with what I did do.

I now have 22,000 words written, and my first draft of my novel is about 1/3 complete. Most of this was completed the first 15 days of November. I have never written anything longer than 25 pages before, do this is a benchmark for me. For the first time ever, I actually feel like I can finish this novel, and maybe even get it published. When? I’m not sure, but the fact I actually have a full outline and over 50 pages of unformatted writting is pretty encouraging.

Why I didn’t finish it this month? I’ll be honest- I got distracted. I have been in the holiday spirit and have been running around filling my apartment with the holiday spirit. I’ve been cooking and crafting, movie-watching and decorating, shopping and planning for the last two weeks. I literally haven’t felt the “Christmas Spirit” this way in years, so the allure has been too strong to resist, but that’s a blog post for another day.

Really, my whole point is that “failure” doesn’t have to be devastating. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that you “failed” completely. How you can avoid complete disappointment and shame is to keep things in perspective. What was the point of your goal? What were you hoping to gain from the experience? Did you try your hardest? Did you learn something? Did you grow? Usually you will find that you didn’t fail on all these points and there was something gained after all, even if that gain was a hard-earned lesson. In my case, I gained a sense of accomplishment that I can finish my novel and I can write longer works. For me, that was enough to make the month worth all the work.

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