Thousands of writers began new novels on November 1, 2011, prompted in part by “NaNoWriMo” – National Novel Writing Month.
Only a fraction of those completed the “requisite” 50,000 word draft. (Some wrote more, but most wrote much, much less.)
Two days ago I spoke with a writer who finished only 12,000 words before throwing the towel and declaring herself a failure.
Just a minute there, my friend. Let’s back up a step or two.
Failure to finish your novel in 30 days does not make you a failure. (Only failure to finish it … ever … wins that award.) Life is hard, and takes focus, and whoever chose to plop Novel Writing Month in the middle of Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping and end of term exams was either not thinking clearly or living in an inaccessible cave on a glacier somewhere. Writing, like any skill, takes time, practice, and perseverance, all of which are in short supply as the year draws to a close.
Don’t use that as an excuse to surrender your dream.
December 1 may mark the “end” of NaNoWriMo, but as far as your manuscript’s concerned it’s just another day. A day in which you could turn your back, or in which you place your behind in the chair and your fingers doggedly back on those clattering keys.
Your novel will not get written any other way.
So flip the calendar, turn on the laptop and get back to work. Spend five minutes or five hours – whatever time you can steal from this busy day. But whether your dream is a novel, a painting, or something entirely different, don’t let a momentary failure derail your progress. As of today, “NaNoWriMo” stands for “Naturally, Novel Writing MORE” as in, more effort, more time, and more determination.
Our dreams are a game of “last man standing” – and only you can decide when it’s time to sit down.
Today, it’s time to stand.