Lessons Learned From My NaNoWriMo Failure

It's OK to fail, just make sure you learn why and improve from it.

So the month of November is long gone, which means National Novel Writing Month (known to most of us as NaNoWriMo) has come to an end. Did you finish your 50,000-or-more-word novel? If so, congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment, and you should be extremely proud of yourself. I hope you did something to celebrate.

If you did not meet the NaNoWriMo goal, don’t feel too bad. I’m right there with you. I never cranked out more than 250 words. Ouch, that’s less than most of my blog posts.

So why didn’t we do it? What caused our NaNoWriMo failure?

Of course, your reasons might differ from mine, but now that I’ve had some time to reflect, I can see several thoughts and actions that led to my downfall:

I set myself up for failure from the start.

If you look back at my post announcing NaNoWriMo, you’ll see that I said,

“I was hesitant to commit to NaNoWriMo only because I really have a hard time imaging myself hitting the 50,000 word mark. That breaks down to writing about 1,600 words per day. And that would be in addition to writing my one-to-three weekly posts here. And don’t forget about Thanksgiving.

But then I figured why not? Does it matter if I don’t complete the goal? Won’t it be nice to at least have something accomplished toward this goal than nothing?”

I was already envisioning myself not meeting the deadline and providing excuses for why I wouldn’t. That is no way to go about achieving a goal.

My heart wasn’t in it.

If you really want to do something, you’re going to do it. You will find ways to make it happen and you won’t let anything stand in your way.

It was hard to face that I obviously wasn’t as excited and into this goal of working on my novel as I had thought. I think I believed that NaNoWriMo was just a really good idea and an easy way for me to meet my novel goal. But in truth, sitting down to write the novel just wasn’t fun, so I didn’t do it.

It was just too much for right now.

Quite frankly, I’m tired. This has been one hell of an amazing year and I’m very proud of everything I’ve accomplished. I hope you are beginning your reflections of this last year and are discovering the same.

I’d love to say I am still full of energy and raring to go, but I’m not. I’m ready to just work on Tenacious Me and enjoy the holidays with friends and families. I’m OK with not achieving any more of my goals for 2009. I did well this year, and I know next year will be even better.

Perhaps NaNoWriMo isn’t for me. I still have the goal to write a novel, but maybe I need to do it on my own schedule. I’ll keep experimenting and will be sure to let you know.

What held you back from completing NaNoWriMo? Do you plan to do it again? What did you learn?

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with others. Thanks!

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7 Responses to Lessons Learned From My NaNoWriMo Failure

  1. Emily says:

    First off, THANK YOU for not making excuses. It is refreshing to hear someone admit to why they didn’t meet their goal rather than hear excuses as to why it didn’t happen. I would rather hear someone tell me that they “just didn’t feel like it” rather than hear about how busy they were, how something came up, etc.

    You also make a good point: If your heart isn’t in it from the beginning, you won’t follow through. How many times in my own life have I stomped my foot and shouted my goal with full bravado only to not follow through?

    Here’s to making 2010 goals that we actually want to accomplish!

  2. Congrats–Admitting your faults is the first step toward overcoming what holds you back. I’m very proud of you…and very proud of all the accomplishments you made this year. As the years go on, you’ll begin to see that you ARE accomplishing something every year, even when your “to-do/goals” list has items that aren’t checked off yet.

    2010 is our year… so let’s make it happen!

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Lessons Learned From My NaNoWriMo Failure « Tenacious Me -- Topsy.com

  4. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thanks, Jen, I know you’re right. 2010 will be a big year — school, published books, healthy living…Keep pushing me to stay on track with my goals, and I’ll be happy to return the favor!

  5. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thanks, Emily! Yes, I mostly just ran out of steam, plain and simple. Good luck with your 2010 goals! I’ll keep checking in with you, too!

  6. adoruhbul says:

    Hi! I came across you’re blog while looking for other blogs about novel writing like mine. Although your blog really only came up because of the few NaNoWriMo mentions, I thought i’d comment. Failing writing for NaNoWriMo is nothing to be ashamed about. Writing has to be done on your own terms as you realize. I just started writing my own novel and as much as I have passion for it, some days I am lucky if I get a line down. I hope one day you are able to finish your novel whether its next years NaNoWriMo or on your own time.

    Good luck,

  7. Rachael says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t meet your NaNoWriMo goal, but cheers to you not letting it set you back. I like that you acknowledge why you didn’t get the novel written and are figuring out a different way to accomplish that goal. I, myself, was excited about the idea of NaNoWritMo for about a week. I wrote 3,000 words – but they had no plot. I think I like the idea of writing a novel (and the 3,000 words were great therapy) but I don’t really want to do it right now.

    P.S. I’ve been inspired by your 2009 Goals and am currently working on my list for 2010. 🙂

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