I Failed NaNoWriMo, But That's Okay

by Ari Augustine Posted December 22, 2017 in Blog, Home / 4 Comments

For dieters, it might be “fat” or “fudge”. For those who are different, it’s “freak”. If you’re anything like me, a perfectionist at heart, it’s the biggest, baddest, angriest F-word ever: failure.

And there’s no denying I failed NaNoWriMo. BIG TIME. I’ll admit, 50,000 words in 30 days didn’t sound so bad. I thought if I just made time for it, then the words would flow, but it wasn’t that simple.

There were nights I stared at the screen, when I sacrificed homework time to jot a few paragraphs down only to find the well had dried, and there were days the idea was a liveware in my brain, but I found impossible to convert the visuals to words.
I shouted at my husband as I sat in a sea of homework, “How can my instructors expect me to care about feminism or where corn grows when there’s an untold story inside me!?”
As my grandmother would say: It was like pulling teeth. November 30th came and went. My cursor was glued to 25,000 words and I’m certain the cry I thought I heard down the hall was actually me.

Yet, even though I failed, I felt a small swell of accomplishment. Not only had I managed to attend university full-time and balance it with working full-time, I somehow completed 50% of my project and maintained this blog.
Honestly, I probably lost time when I rewrote the first 25k words. The perfectionist in me was driven insane by the jilted flow and I had to fix it. The idea of imperfect flow gave me nightmares. Even though I wasn’t 100% satisfied with it afterwards, I laid down the law: no more editing until the very end.
And then the end passed me by, leaving me to stare in confusion. Where did the time go? Ultimately, I learned so much from my experience with NaNoWriMo this year. The fact that I forced myself to be a plotter this year helped. A LOT. I didn’t have to worry about “making stuff up” because I knew everything by heart and had info-sheets I’d drawn up to guide me. 
So, yes. I failed NaNoWriMo. I failed hitting my goal. I failed finishing my story. I failed, failed, failed. The world didn’t end like I thought it would, though, and that made all the difference in the end. Now, I’m just as motivated as ever.
So, watch your back, NaNoWriMo. In 2018, I am coming for you and I’m prepared this time.

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4 responses to “I Failed NaNoWriMo, But That's Okay

  1. Like someone else said about NaNo, it’s a marathon and we’re all running against our own personal best records. I did not attempt it this year and may or may not attempt it next year. We shall see. My husband participated (while working full-time + evening tutoring) and it is truly not a feat for the faint of heart. It takes serious dedication.
    I applaud anybody attempting it while working/going to school/having a life. I have no excuse! I’m just lazy 😛

    • Ari Augustine

      I can understand that. I was working FT + College FT and I think, in the end, I defaulted to focusing on those instead since I knew I wasn’t going to finish. It didn’t hurt as much as I expected, but I think that’s because I understood that it was more about challenging myself than actually winning. Kudos to your husband for participating and hey, nothing wrong with a little laziness. As long as you eventually get where you want to go. Thanks for the encouraging comment! It means a lot.