NaNoWriMo Fail…Or Not?

Two weeks into NaNoWriMo and I’m still only 4,000 words into my story.


I guess you could call that a #NaNoFail.

Let’s be honest. I didn’t get the best start. Not that it’s necessarily an excuse, but I’m just not sure the whole NaNoWriMo thing is for me. I mean, sure I got swept away in all the writer-ly bonding and excitement, but when it came down to getting words on the page, I struggled. While I completely understand needing to get words on the page, with every crappy word I wrote, I wondered why I hadn’t put more thought into them.

However, over the course of the last two weeks, I’ve definitely walked away with some lessons learned:

1. I’m most definitely a planner. I haven’t quite figured out my outlining/planning style yet, but I know that I am definitely no pantser. I need a solid plan. Jumping in blind does not work for me. It leads to me sitting there writing random sentences, with no idea who my characters are and what their motivations are. Not good.

2. Writing isn’t easy. Even when you love doing it. It takes discipline, that’s for sure.

3. I need to schedule writing into my life. Like a job. I wouldn’t not go to work every day Monday through Friday right? I need to start thinking of writing the same way.

So remember, NaNo is NOT for everybody. If you tried NaNo and decided it wasn’t for you, DO. NOT. FRET. It doesn’t mean you’re any less of a writer. Some people are not meant to bang out 50,000 words in one month. Some people take longer. And guess what? It’s OKAY!

From the beginning, it was never my main goal to finish NaNo…that would have just been the sweet topping on the cake. To recap, my goals were to start the novel, get in the writerly spirit and meet other people to possibly form a writer’s group or crit group. So in essence, I guess this really isn’t a #NaNoFail since I still have time to complete my goals. And I still had fun doing it.

For awhile I struggled with the fact that I’ve reluctantly given up on NaNo, but then I decided…it doesn’t matter to anyone but me. Not finishing NaNo does not mean I’m not a writer.

I plan on continuing to write my novel (because I’m actually super excited about my Shiny New NaNo idea!) but I plan to take the proper time to do an extensive outline and write something that makes me proud. I will do it in my own time, and believe me, I’ll keep you updated along the way.

What lessons have you learned so far during NaNo 2010? What are your thoughts on NaNo? Is it for you or not for you?


16 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Fail…Or Not?”

  1. I hope that you keep writing and don’t give up just because your word count isn’t where it’s “supposed” to be. However, it seems like you’re being reflective and learning a lot about yourself as a writer, which is always a good thing.

    I actually hit 50,000 on the evening of the 14th, which was a complete surprise. Although this is only my second year participating, I’m finding that while I know a lot of what I’m writing will be changed, there’s something completely freeing about just writing and getting the story out. It’s working for me, which is awesome, because I spent the first 23 years of my life starting stories, second-guessing myself, and giving up halfway through.

    I’m hoping to finish the first draft by the end of the month, but I’m not looking forward to the editing that will have to take place after that.

    Keep writing!

  2. Jessica – I think that writing a blog AND 4000 of a NaNo is amazing. I’m still only about 3k words into my own story but I hope to make some headway soon. I might keep December open to finish writing. Just like working out I definitely need to schedule more writing time to get the story out of my head! 🙂

    Good luck!

    1. @Tracy, I like the idea of not having that one month deadline. Plus, isn’t November like the worst month ever to write write write? LOL, why not February? I don’t do anything during February. We’ll have to keep motivating each other through the winter to keep writing!

    1. @Becky (Page Turners), I saw that article! I definitely don’t agree with a lot of what she says, but I do feel that NaNo is NOT for every type of writer. It’s great for getting words down on the page though. Thanks so much for sharing the article 🙂

  3. I love this post! #2 is my favorite. I totally agree! Writing is hard – even when you love it, it is tough. My goal for NaNoWriMo was just to get back in the habit of writing, to put writing back on my front burner – if I hit 50,000 words that’s the icing on the cake. I have been trying very hard to have cram sessions to “catch up” but I know that ultimately, I will not hit the 50,000 and that just like you said, it doesn’t matter.

  4. I think the purpose of NaNo (other than the 50k) is to get people who like to write to establish a routine. Even if you only sit down every night and write ten words, that’s ten words more than you had the day before. I found that once I forced myself to sit down for a half hour without any distractions, it all came much easier. Once you start taking days “off” you lose your story and it takes time to get back into it.

    Keep up your writing habits and soon the word count will follow!

  5. Thanks for popping in on my site and for commenting! The one thing that I value about NANO is that it does turn writing every day into a habit, but this race to get 1,667 words or more daily can really burn you out, especially if you make your living by writing. I rather write 500 words a day on my WIP and make sure they’re something worth keeping. As it stands, I think I’ll be trashing a lot that I wrote for NANOWRIMO.

    1. @Rebeca, I like the idea of a smaller word count daily. Much more manageable, like you said, and I’d probably get more quality content to work with. Thanks for the tips Rebecca! I’m so glad I’ve found your blog!

  6. I could have written this post as I feel the same way you do about this crazy adventure. I’ve written about 5,000 words of a very non-coherent novel. Its just me spewing words on to the screen. If there’s a diamond there, its very, very rough. I may try to write a little more but given that November 30 is a week away, I’m a #NaNofailure too. But that’s ok. I’ve learned a few things from this experience and will keep moving forward with my goal. I may even attempt NaNoWriMo again next year.

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I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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