My word count: 3,723
That’s right. My word count has not changed at all since last week’s NaNoWriMonday. To be painfully, brutally honest, I’m not going to make it to my word goal by the end of November. From the first of November to today, I should have a cumulative 16,000 words, just a tad over halfway to my goal.
Instead, I have approximately the amount of words I should have had on my third or fourth day of writing.
And I’m okay with this.
Why? Because I tried. I was always too afraid to attempt NaNo before, too afraid of failure. Now, in the face of my own impending unaccomplishment, I realize that this is a chance to learn. I didn’t buckle down and force myself to write and reach my goal every single day. To be honest, most days I haven’t even approached the computer with the intention of writing anything relating to “Prisoner”. I’ve let myself get distracted and disinterested.
However, that doesn’t make me a bad writer. I know that this single event does not determine my successfulness in the future. I can still accomplish writing, perhaps even daily writing and word goals, if I just learn to discipline and push myself further.
There’s this quote from Thomas Edison, one you may have heard before:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
That was after he had tried for so hard and so long to create a concentrated light source powered by electricity with no results. And guess what he’s primarily known for now? Achieving that dream by creating the lightbulb. After 10,000 tries that everyone around him labeled “failures”, he never lost his positive perspective, and it paid off in the end.
I sure hope it doesn’t take 10,000 tries for me to finish a rough draft, but I’m adamant that I have not failed; I’ve simply found an approach that doesn’t work for me.
I’m definitely going to do NaNo again next year, because NaNo isn’t the problem – it’s the approach I took to it. I was a little too lax on my writing schedule, and my novel suffered because of that. I’m going to work on becoming more disciplined and intentional in my writing efforts, and perhaps I can find a way of doing so that will work for me.
That said, I am not by any means quitting NaNo this year. I repeat, I am not quitting NaNo or ceasing my work on “Prisoner”. I have come to terms with the face that I probably won’t reach my word goal unless I complete some crazy-long writing sessions, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t see how much I can write by the end of November! I’m sticking this thing out ’til the end, just like I had intended.
We have two more Mondays left in November, and those will continue to be NaNoWriMondays. 🙂 This isn’t a resignation letter by any means, just sort of an update.
I hope you can learn from this experience as I have, because if you don’t meet a goal, a personal deadline, etc., you are not a failure! You simply need to approach it in another way. Find peace despite not accomplishing and/or completing your writing. It’s not the end of the world and it’s not a failure, and it’s certainly not cause to give up.
Right now, I haven’t failed.
I’ve just found one way that won’t work.
It’s your turn! How do you discipline yourself into writing regularly? Have you ever not reached a personal goal or deadline, and what did you learn from it? How hard was it to come to terms with the fact that you wouldn’t make your goal without seeing it as a failure? Got anything else to add? I want to hear from you!