So you’re a failure? (Big Dreams Blog Update #14)

Almost forgot about this month’s Update Day…
For those of you out of the loop—which shouldn’t include any of the 17 other bloggers signed up—Update Day is the end-of-the-month wrap-up for the Big Dreams/Do You Have a Goal? blog hop hosted by Misha Gericke and Beth Fred!
Consider joining if you have any big, wacky dreams you don’t have the guts to share IRL, y’know, with family and friends and coworkers. We fellow dreamers got your back! 🙂
So last month I talked BIG.
And BIG around this time of year for writers…well, somewriters means National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo).
Like I said I talked big.
Maybe a little too big.
Or at least that’s what I was telling myself by week 2. I was so darn sure I was not only going to stop talking about NaNoWriMo (and go back and delete my last Update Post, or the parts where I talk NaNo) but I was really sososoSOclose to stopping all my writing all together.
Like I didn’t see how I could back out of NaNo and continue to write this month. It would be like facing my failure every single day for all November.
All right. Hold up!
Who thinks like that anyways? (I mean, besides me two weeks ago.) If you’re thinking like this right now, stop. Just. Stop.
Do yourself a favour and stop thinking. Shut down for a bit. I mean think just enough to read this post…
FELLOW NANOERS: If by now you’re darn sure your word count meter isn’t broken and you’re officially looking at finishing your NaNo novel sometime AFTER November 30th—don’t despair!
I mean, eat chocolate. Totally go crazy with the win and chocolate this weekend. Heck, heal those wounds with a little shopping therapy. (Black Friday? Cyber Monday? They were really created to fill in the whole of crappiness for shopaholic writers. ^^) And now that you’re in good company (if you consider company with me a good thing)!
Here’s what I’m taking away from my NaNoing experience:
One, I’m learning all about patience.
This whole year has been about patience, but every time I duck into a project I remember to give it a break. Cut myself some slack. Giving myself insane word counts after I miss one day of word counts might be okay. Until you miss like 3 days or a week or more…then you enter loopy land. Some of us can do it, some of us can’t. And it could just be the timing we don’t have control of. For instance we don’t have more than 24 hours in a day. Maybe work/school was REALLY crazy this month. Or maybe you just weren’t feeling it: I mentioned in one of my NaNoWriMo series posts that this time of the year (late fall/winter) sees a rise in depression and stress levels. So it’s okay if you were having more downs than ups, I know I was up until the end of the second week.
Forgiveness: also all about taking it easy on myself. It’s great to accept you might be selling yourself short. But killing yourself in the process of doing something is crazy…mostly because you won’t live to see ‘The End’. Stay sane, friends. I mean we talk to ourselves anyways as writers, and I get flake from my family about that so…yeah. Don’t add undue pressure where it isn’t needed. Write what you can and move on.
And though I thought this should have been obvious, it only recently clicked that it’s all about persistence from here on out. What you do between NaNos is just as important as what you do during NaNo season. Kind of like how you should be thankful between Thanksgiving, or how you should always be nice—especially if you don’t want to be cleaning coal out of your stocking—all year round and not the few weeks before December. Now think of it this way: it’s 11;59p.m. on November 30th—and there’s no way you can hit 50K with one minute to go (forget about those Pacific timers with their extra 3 hours my fellow NYT peeps). You’ve got one minute, what are you going to do?
A. immediately delete the file with all your work/toss or burn your notebook.
B. close your file and tuck it away in your USB/stack a bunch of old magazines (i.e. pr0n) you will never read on top of your notebook
C. actually continue writing
I’m not going to say anything to your Rebel As and Bs, but pull up a chair Cs because you’re the kind of people I want to hang with.
I know NaNo seems to be pushing towards getting its participants across the 50K. I should know. I’m currently reading founder Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem! “Quantity first trumps quality” is the motto there. Particularly quantity geared towards getting a first draft complete. Once the first draft is complete, Baty stresses quality will be part of the revision process. (Anyways it’s a good book so go read it.)
Basically you have to keep going. Keep writing if you haven’t finished the novel even if you have hit the 50K mark. Write 200 words a day and you’ll finish one day, right? You know what won’t finish your manuscript: if you guessed 0 words then you’re correct! Ding, ding, ding!
Now I’m going to take my own advice and continue writing past this:
At the rate I’m going and a crazy slow plot unfolding I probably won’t be done in December either, but cheers to the New Year and completion one day! 😀
Although I reached my 30 books for the GR 2014 challenge, I still have a couple books I want to read by next Update Day, too. Because even if another year is almost done it seems my TBR pile never ends. Which should be a cumulative post including New Years’ goal—because yes, it is soon-to-be that time of year again.
And maybe one new years’ resolution will be to not be too much of a failure. Remember, a little failing leaves room for improvement.
Fun times are ahead.
All you have to do is get behind the wheel and keep driving…and if your car breaks down run. Run like heck. And keep writing running.

2 thoughts on “So you’re a failure? (Big Dreams Blog Update #14)

  1. I also completely failed NaNo this year. Life's been HARD this month. But hey, I still finished one of my projects and wrote 19k words. Which is still better than what I would have achieved if I'd wallowed in self-pity rather than signed up for NaNo. As I said before, that's really what it's about.

    And your health/happiness as a writer is much more important than that 50k goal. So glad that you realized the same thing. 🙂


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