The National Novel Writing Month known as NaNoWriMo is quickly coming to an end. For some this was the year of your novel. You finished your life’s dream. Congratulations!
However, for others this could be the end of yet another failed attempt to do something. Perhaps this is your first year, or this was a multiple attempt year to beat the 50,000 word deadline by the end of November. Regardless of how many attempts, the feeling of defeat can paralyzing. Unless you look at it as a sign that you are uniquely special. After all, how many other people do you know are crazy enough to publically say they will write a novel in a month? Not many I bet, and that makes you pretty special.
This was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, and I failed successfully well. I could create the excuse that there was a lot going on this month. Actually there really was too much going on this month. My kids had activities, the husband was traveling a lot and when he was home there was this sense of urgency to spend time with him before he left for work again, oh and there were all those social media outlets I needed to keep up with especially the groups I help manage, and let’s not forget Thanksgiving preparations. Plus I can’t overlook do blah, blah, blah.
Isn’t there a 12 step goal in which we are supposed to admit that we are powerless over something? Well sometimes I feel pretty powerless over my own time. I have a feeling there are a lot of mothers and fathers who feel pretty powerless when it comes to making time for self. Actually, I know of several unmarried people and young people who feel that same tug of war between self-ambition and family, work, or community responsibilities.
However, NaNoWriMo taught me something about myself. I learned some of these tips in NaNo workshops and some from the participation in the yearly event.
1) I really do have an hour a day to do something for myself, such as write.
2) The world will not fall apart if I give myself time to do what I love.
3) The family, and I’m sure others, think I am a more pleasant person to be around when I am happy, and honestly I’m happy when I feel a sense of self-achievement.
4) It is okay to fail while writing. That is why the editing process exists.
5) Do not edit while writing the first draft. Especially do not edit during NaNoWriMo!
6) Join a writer’s group for support and sanity. It’s just nice to not feel alone.
7) Read, observe, and write as often as possible.
Even though I did not meet the NaNoWriMo goal I still feel like I succeeded. I learned something about myself. There have been new friends met and new writing tools gathered for future writing events. Plus, I’ve connected with authors, Indie and traditionally published. Oh and I’ve learned one other thing:
8) There will always be another NaNoWriMo next year.