Yes, I failed at National Novel Writing Month this year. Well, I don’t know if “failed” is the word I should use, though.
I still managed to write over 18K words in the first half of the month. So really it’s not a total failure.
Maybe I should say I didn’t “win” NaNo. By the way, did you know a very small percentage of those who start NaNo actually finish? Yes, that’s right. Only twelve percent.
I can look at this in a positive way, though. I have at least given it a try for the last three years. This year I simply didn’t do as well as I could have.
How did I “fail” or not “win” NaNo?
Illness takes me down
I have been lucky. Really lucky so far this fall. Usually by now a sinus infection has taken me down by mid to end of October – at the perfect time that I am usually planning for NaNo.
I did get sick then, but I bounced back after a few days.
However, then the sinus infection returned a couple of weeks ago with a vengeance. Yes, sinus infection AND bronchitis.
Naturally, with a sinus headache, coughing, and fatigue, I barely made it through a day doing what I had to do. Writing took a backseat.
In fact, the last four days of the month, I sat in a recliner, coughed, and blew my nose. I know you don’t want to hear those gross details, but that is how bad I had gotten sick.
I could barely concentrate on the nonstop television that I watched those days. Let alone trying to write a novel.
So I just stopped writing. No matter how hard I tried to sit down and concentrate writing on my novel those nights when I felt lousy, it didn’t happen.
I stopped writing period. I didn’t stop thinking about the novel, though. I actually thought about it quite a bit during the last two weeks when I wasn’t writing.
I kept telling myself I needed to write. I needed to achieve what others had done or were doing.
But did it really matter what the others were doing? No, but I hoped it would push me.
Instead I quit writing.
Maybe there is something else going on? After all this is the second time I have started this novel. Yes, that’s right.
For last year’s NaNo, I started this same novel only with a completely different storyline – same characters, just different plot.
This is the third and final book of The Divorce Trilogy. I am anxious to finish it so I can move on to other things.
So what is making this so hard to write? I have no idea, but I wish I had the answer.
Then life happened. This hasn’t been a great year for me. In fact, I can hardly wait until it’s over. That’s how bad it’s been.
Is that an excuse to quit writing? No, absolutely not. If I am a writer, then I need to be writing. Rob Parnell taught me that in one of his books, and it’s stuck.
When I first started writing in a diary when I was as a sixth grade nerd, it was a way to record what I did each day.
As I got older, that diary writing evolved into more of a journal in which I shared my feelings with myself. A way to vent and get things out that I needed to do.
Why couldn’t I write a novel then and use it as a therapy to get out my disappointments of this past year? I have no idea.
Reflecting back over the last two weeks, I realize I gave up too easily. I took the chicken way out. For that I see not finishing NaNo as a failure.
If I was making a living writing, I would have to keep writing. I couldn’t just quit. Right? I would have clients and deadlines. All of those fun things.
Then, of course, the money. I need that money to pay the bills and have things needed for life.
From now on, I am determined to write something every day no matter what. And next year when NaNo rolls around again, I am determined not to “fail.”