NaNoWriMo – incomplete but not a failure

It is over. NaNoWriMo 2011 ended at midnight November 30.

I did not “win”.

I tried. I even pulled two all-nighters of writing, not getting to bed until 4:00 AM, but it was not enough. I just could not manage the 50,000 words required for a win.

It was my own fault. Getting started was really hard this year. Because I wanted to complete my novel started in NaNo 2010 (50,265 words written then), I think I felt restricted and I had lost my momentum. (Those reasons and life stuff.) Once I finally got going with it, ideas kept unfurling themselves and evolving into more depth and extended drama.

My story is not yet complete. It is getting ready to wind down, though. Some details have to be worked out to fit into the story so that the conflicts and questions can be resolved. I need to write several thousand more words to settle that out.

Here are my stats:

Your Average Per Day … 1,071
Target Word Count … 50,000
Total Words Written … 32,150
Words Remaining … 17,850
At This Rate You Will Finish On December 17, 2011
Yes, I wrote 32,150 words. A lot of words, but not enough for a win. But, I do not consider that to be a failure, just an incomplete. According to my stats, if I were to keep at it the same way I would meet the goal in 17 days. If today is any indication, that is not going to happen. I got up at 7:00 AM, took care of the dog, went back to bed and didn’t wake again until noon! (All-night writing binges do not a wakeful mind make. 😉 ) But do I even want to keep up the same pace until the 50,000 words have been written?
What I want to do is finish my novel’s first rough draft. And rough it most definitely is! Once I bring the story to a satisfactory end, then begins the editing. Oh my! I have plot holes, repeats of scenes but in different ways, – a couple of those, and they were by accident because once you begin NaNo you are not supposed to go back and reread or you will not have time to finish .. so you just write on, – I have names mixed up, facts missing, details confused, a time line that must be established, and unnecessary fluff to be sifted out. For this to become a readable novel there is yet much work to be done.
*Laura, do I sound like a writer to you?  😉
NaNoWriMo 2011 is over, but the challenge has not ended for me. I have a novel to finish!
Do you get totally wrapped up in your writing projects so that you cannot stop until you have them done? Or do you easily put them away to work on at a later date? Do you lose your momentum or inspiration if you wait?
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂
Next post: PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) update.

8 responses to “NaNoWriMo – incomplete but not a failure

  1. It was certainly a valiant effort on your part, and you wrote many more words than I did this past month. 32,000 words is nothing to sneeze at, so congrats for making it that far..

    “NaNoWriMo 2011 is over, but the challenge has not ended for me. I have a novel to finish!—yup, sounds to me like something a writer would say.


    • Laura, I think the reason I have a hard time calling myself a writer is because I do not keep at it consistently. In my mind, a writer is someone who writes a little every day or so, as if it were a job or career … and I have not taken it on that way. Yet. Maybe I have watched too many old movies in which those absorbed writers hole themselves away and write feverishly to make some deadline. Or maybe I do not believe in my own abilities enough yet.

      Right now I feel a little like a writer, without the ‘fever’ since NaNo has ended for another year. 😉 Maybe this is where I am to put my creative energy for now. Feels pretty good, actually. 🙂


  2. Hi Lynn, I really appreciate your effort in trying for 50,000 words in the nano contest. That’s a helluva lot of words in a short period of time. I’ve never tried it…and probably never will. I like to control the amount I write myself.

    Answers to your questions:
    Yes I get wrapped up in my writing projects, but I can always stop. It’s not always easy to do and it’s usually just until the next day. . But I would never stay up past twelve AM…my health is just too important to me. I rarely lose momentum, unless I put the project aside for a week or more.


    • Hi Nancy, Welcome to my blog!
      I first learned of NaNo in 2009 but was not ready then to attempt it. When I took it on in 2010 I was eager, excited, nervous and determined, and it was a great experience for me. I can understand, though, why many people will not even try it, like everything it is not for everyone.
      You are a writer who has your own niche to fill, and from what I can see (I peeked at your blog) you do it very well. 🙂

      Health, something I am keenly aware of but I am a night owl. It is something I have to get a better handle on, though, as my health is important to me, too. The older we get the more we realize it should have been a priority long before.

      Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. 🙂


  3. I definitely fell into a second week slump, then the flu, then the holidays and I only reached 16k. I am a bit disappointed, but I have to say I did have fun. After all, it was only my first year.

    Write on, sister!

    Jenn K


    • Aw, Jenn, I am sorry you had such a challenging November!
      At first I was a little disappointed too, having not met the 50,000 words goal, but I am fine with it now. It is not a fail if you try.
      I say, Congratulations for the 16K! And you learned something about yourself and what you like to write. (I peeked at your blog.) Plus you had fun, and that is good.

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  4. Hers’s a win for you – the Versatile Blogger Award! Congratulations. Details at my website.


  5. Thank you so much, I accept! (This is actually my second time, but I am delighted nonetheless.) It is encouraging to be acknowledged. Now I have to do some thinking about who to honour in return.

    Btw, the book you won – A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk by Jan L. Coates – is being put into the mail this week. The publisher tells me you should have it next week some time. Here’s hoping the beginning of Christmas mail does not slow it down.


I look forward to reading your greatly appreciated comments. Thanks for making my day! :)

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