Are you a member of the NaNoWriMo Failures Club (meaning, you didn’t reach 50,000 words on your novel)? If so, don’t be too hard on yourself! There’s thousands of us every year, and for all sorts of reasons. Some reasons may seem more important than others, but for the most part, they are all valid.
While completing NaNoWriMo is a wonderful accomplishment and should be celebrated, the only person you’re accountable to is yourself. Instead of beating yourself up, learn from the experience. What went wrong: was it something in your novel, your personal life, or your brain? Was it out of your control? Was losing an act of self-sabotage or did you really not sabotage a damn thing, because if you wrote something you didn’t care for it’d be a waste of your time and energy?
If the reason was your novel, look at how you prepared in the weeks and months leading up to November. Did you write a complete outline – and if so, why didn’t you finish the story? If you were a pantser, did the lack of preparation cause you stress? Was it a fault within the plot: an unlikely resolution, a dull climax, too many inconsistencies? Was it your characters: too vague, too one-dimensional, too perfect? Was it the format: would this tale work better as a short story, graphic novel, or movie script?
If the reason was your personal life, ask yourself if this was an unusual November for you. A breakup, a new job, or family drama doesn’t happen all the time. But if it you’re blaming the same work schedule that you have every month, then you need to start looking at when you can make more time for writing.
If it was your brain, don’t beat yourself up too much about it. Ask yourself if writer’s block is common for you when you’re anxious or depressed. What has helped you to cope with that in the past? For me, writing helps, but not writing a novel. I need to get my feelings out on paper, and that was the majority of the writing I did this month: very personal poetry and ramblings.
If I’m going to be honest, I think my failure can be attributed to all three: I’ve dealt with some traumatic personal news, my novel started boring me once I realized it’d be a much better novella (like, 20k words max), and my depression made a comeback.
I’ve lost more years than I’ve won, and they were mostly for very different reasons. But I have noticed some patterns that I should improve on if I decide to try NaNo again next year! For the moment, however, I’m just going to lay back and enjoy the rest of the year, and so should you. 🙂