To the Rest of Us NaNoWriMo Failures

NaNoWriMo FAILUREI’m a failure. I’m a big fat lazy aimless unambitious masochistic failure. And this post is dedicated to all the Wrimo Failures out there. 

A few days before the start of November, I thought “Hey, I’ve never given NaNoWriMo a serious shot before. I’m gonna’ do it this year!” Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I started writing with a vague semblance of a point for writing my book. It was going to be a fictional memoir, you see, full of meta postmodernistic dark humor about someone who forgoes writing a suicide note for writing a suicide book. The protagonist was totally going to die, you see, and he would know all about it because he was going to be the one doing it. Yeah, this idea totally rocks! No plot, no problem, right? I have my ending kinda’ sorta’ hashed out. Alls I needs to do is slap some peanut butter and jelly in this sumabitch.

As you may have seen in the couple of updates that I wrote about in the past month, I started out strong writing right on track at the 10,000 word mark and then I gradually fell behind. But hey, a couple cups of tea and a few hours of pure writing time at the cost of my sleep should just about do the trick. I’ll be caught up in no time.


Just nope.

It was about 10:53 p.m. on the evening of November 30th, when I realized there was no way I was going to be able to write 7,000 more words in 2 hours and 7 minutes. If I wasn’t already too sleep deprived, I would have broken out the irish creme, coffee liqueur, and half & half and started watching Monty Python videos. I just stuck to watching Monty Python sober- but not until after I had churned out a thousand more words for the next hour and 6 minutes. In the end, I reached 43,438 words of my “novel.”

And you know what? 43,438 words ain’t half bad. Actually, it’s freaking fantastic. This past November was a wonderful learning experience via NaNo alone and I am thankful for the lessons it has taught me. In fact, there has been a lot to be thankful for this November.

NaNoWriMo Chart with Frame

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde

So for all of you out there who started NaNo, but never got around to reaching your goal for whatever reason, I raise my mug of tea to you. Whether your wrote 49,000 words, 12,000 words, 100 words, or just came up with a title, we can all give ourselves a pat on the back. The point of NaNoWriMo is not about writing a perfect New York Times bestselling novel in 30 days. The point is to just get started. Any step forward is a step in the right direction. It’s stagnation that kills us. There are some people with novel ideas who never so much as write down the title! You did that and perhaps much, much more! We did that!

This all sounds a lot like naive, self-deceiving, optimistic bullshit – which it is – but yet, it isn’t. NaNoWriMo is about having fun. Even the stress you experience through NaNo isn’t supposed to be overly negative stress. You’re not meant to beat yourself up over your holey plot or stubborn characters. You’re supposed to have fun with it. What is the point of writing if you’re not enjoying yourself? I may not have been even close to finishing my story, but I’ve made [in]glo[u]rious headway on it.

It might be a steaming pile of ox dung right now, but it’ll make great fertilizer for future writing endeavors.

So chin up, fellow Wrimo Failures. Even the greatest writing fails we have achieved this past month is a small victory.

What are you thankful for? Fellow Wrimos, did you reach your goal? What did you get out of NaNoWriMo? Will you do it again? (I know I will). Post your word count proudly and share your thoughts in the comments! 

Read about others’ NaNo “losing” experiences:

Follow my mundane thoughts on Twitter @SOStudent and watch me make a fool of myself on the YouTubes (stressingoutstudent). Cheers.

14 thoughts on “To the Rest of Us NaNoWriMo Failures

  1. Pingback: Update: NaNoWriYes? Or NaNoWriNo? | The Lonely Tribalist

  2. Pingback: Writing ’13 Instead of ’14 on My Papers ‘Cause I’m A Rebel… or Forgetful | Stressing Out College

  3. Congratulations on making it through without any instinct of self loathing. I am sure there are people out their who are dissapointed with themselves over their hundred thousand word mammoths. To be happy about what you have achieved its the right way to go. Now give your fingers some rest. Enough with the tiresome November now have a sweet December instead. Bye and take care. 🙂

  4. Even I had not planned before hand. My success this year is really only attributable to my history with the character I was writing about. He was not new to me, he was someone I love writing about, and so it was easier. Let me tell you, when I was your age (I swear to God, I am not trying to sound like a grandfather right now) I was not writing 50,000 words in a month. Nor was I getting as close to 50,000 as you did. So you did not reach 50,000; that’s not the point. The point is, you sat down, and you wrote something. It may turn out to be gold, it may turn out that every single word is utter rubbish, it does not matter. You wrote, so now you can look back and see what is good and what is bad, and keep going. Do not give up hope.

    I am not completely satisfied with what I wrote, and I exceeded the goal. I will be going back, changing some things, and more than likely, drop whole chapters. Nevertheless, the point is I wrote. You cannot just sit down and write something in one go that will sell. You need to do drafts, and you cannot have rough drafts, second drafts, etc. without first sitting down and writing utter garbage first. Not that what you wrote was garbage, but just saying you have to look at things in perspective. =) Good luck.

  5. A failure? Nah, running into a wall is not a failure. Doing it again in the same way is … well … a little closer to a failure.

    I learned from my own deficient word count. Apparently, there’s this thing called ‘planning’ which might help. I’d never heard of it before …

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