I Failed at NaNoWriMo 2019 and It’s Okay

That’s right. I failed. I didn’t reach 50,000. I wasn’t even close.

For the last three years (2016, 2017, and 2018), I have been successful at the November event of National Novel Writing Month, where me and thousands of others attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I’ve participated in other years before (I think the first was in 2010 or 2011) but had never even reached 10,000 in the first few attempts. But I began to take it more seriously and was successful for 3 years in a row!

And then this year happened.

My final word count was 28,463 words. This is just over half of the goal.

And you know what? I’m okay with that. I just wasn’t in it this year. Since I’m planning on going back to school next fall, I probably won’t have time to do NaNoWriMo again for…4 years? 6 years? Who knows. So I definitely went out with a fizzle rather than a bang. But that’s okay. I can’t do everything.

I do know where I went wrong this year, though. It was a combination of many things, circumstances both in my control and out of.

First things first, I just did Inktober all October long. I was exhausted.

I started a new job/volunteer work (which isn’t that much, but it was still an addition).

My mother’s back went out and I needed to help her for over a week, so I was just too tired to write anything some days.

I hadn’t properly outlined this novel as I usually do (because of Inktober) so I was lost. It took twice as long to write anything when I did have the time.

Thanksgiving landed on the LAST weekend of November. I never write during Thanksgiving because it’s just too busy of a time and, therefore, I always end up writing the last 10-15,000 words within the last few days. But I couldn’t, because those last few days were THANKSGIVING MADNESS.

This novel wasn’t ready to be written. I’ve been thinking about it for a year, which is sometimes just enough time to write, but sometimes it’s not. And because I didn’t outline anything in October, nothing was ready. I was pantsing it far more than I like to and it just wasn’t coming naturally to me. I need an outline. I can’t write what I don’t know yet. It just doesn’t work in my brain.

And that’s that.

Just a mess of a month. I love NaNoWriMo. It’s so much fun and any excuse to force myself to write, to carve out the time, to explain to people “I’m doing this weird contest thing so I have to write stop talking to me oh god please let me leave” makes it a lot easier to say no, I’m up for. But this year just wasn’t my year. And it’s okay! I don’t need to win every year! It’s actually for the best, because the novel I was working on just wasn’t working. It needs more time to simmer in the ole noodle.

So, that’s my NaNoWriMo 2019 story. I failed and it’s fine.

I’d love to say, “on to next year!” but I don’t know if I’m going to participate again for a long time. It’s sad that my last year for a while wasn’t a win but it’s just what needed to happen, I guess. The stars, and all that.

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