Nanowrimo: Failure

What a discouraging title!

But it’s true.

I set out with the goal of starting the second draft of Dim Vanities. Then, as November started shitting on me, I thought I’d at least get the 33 chapters read through and commented on.

Well. That totally didn’t happen. I’ll admit it: there were more days in November when I didn’t work on DV than when I actually went through any chapters.

I have read through and commented on chapters 1-14. Not even halfway through.

I stopped visiting the Nanowrimo site because I got sad that I wasn’t working on a new novel and getting words done. (Let’s face it, “word count: 0” just looks bad.) But on the other hand, I was profoundly glad that I’d decided not to do Nano properly. Because hey, if I couldn’t even get my novel read through and preliminary comments written, I was definitely not in the right place to write 50,000 words.

Sure, if I’d just pushed myself, I could have done more. But this time, I had a more stressful November than ever before. I’ve slept too little, worked too much, cried too much, worried about the future too much. So I think it’s good that I didn’t push myself with writing. There’s a time and place for prioritising writing, and this time it wasn’t November. (I did get a few poems written, though, but that’s different.) If I’d pushed myself, I might have collapsed. And quite frankly, there’s no time for a collapse before my Christmas holiday.

Sometimes you just can’t get stuff done. This is a very difficult thing for me to admit, because my perfectionist tendencies still often equate “didn’t get stuff done” with “bad person”, even though I’ve been trying to work through this and eradicate such thoughts.

Lesson learned? It’s possible for me to fail and yet not be devastated by it. Next year, perhaps, I can do Nanowrimo “properly” again and start afresh, not weighed down by the expectations of five years’ winning in a row.

I will continue editing DV: slowly, with other projects in between. I’m feeling insecure about this novel, too, so I think I need to be careful with it. At some point I might need to smash the whole thing and rewrite it entirely, but I’m not ready for that yet. So, for now, I’ll just keep plodding on.

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About Sara Norja

I'm a bilingual writer of prose and poetry. Things I enjoy apart from writing include tea, reading voraciously, cycling on warm summer nights, medieval manuscripts, dancing, and the wind.
This entry was posted in discussion, DV, nanowrimo, novelling, personal babble, revision and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Nanowrimo: Failure

  1. The fact you are plodding along and doing what you do doesn’t categorise you as a failure. Sometimes you’re not in a place of mind to get things from A to B as you want and I guess we have to accept that and just try again.
    As long as you’re writing, the 30 day challenge doesn’t immediately stop you from ever writing the book :)

    • Sara Norja says:

      Thanks for your comment! And yes – I may have failed my goals for November, but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure. I know I was just not in a good place for editing the novel, and I feel okay about that now.

      I’ll get this novel done eventually! Slowly but surely. I think the next problem is that there’s all these other projects calling me to work on them… :)

  2. “Sometimes you just can’t get stuff done.”
    One of those truths that should be so easy to handle, but somehow it just isn’t, is it? As a fellow perfectionist, I gave up on NaNo years ago. It’s brave of you to undertake it, and excellent of you to be okay with not completing your goal this year.

    • Sara Norja says:

      Yeah, it’s something that should be obvious and easy to accept, but it really isn’t!

      Thank you for your lovely words. :) I’ve found that Nano has helped with my writing perfectionism when it comes to producing zero drafts – I no longer feel the need for my text to be good when it’s first spewed out. But I haven’t avoided Nano perfectionism with regard to reaching 50K, because I’ve always felt the need to prove I can win… until now. So, I suppose it’s a good thing. Clean slate and all that. Although I’m still sure that when I do Nano next year, I’ll still push myself till I get 50K. :D

      So it goes. Perfectionism is really irritating, isn’t it?

  3. Pingback: My writing in 2013 – and my hopes for 2014 | Such Wanderings | Sara Norja

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