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National Novel Writing Month: Meditations On Failure

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Somewhere around twenty four hours after National Novel Writing Month officially ended for the year 2010, my writing partner sent me an instant message. It started with bad news. He'd been let go from his job. There was, he explained, a silver lining to his plight. He is listed as having one more word than I do on the official NaNoWriMo Web site. One word.

You see, once November passes into December, you can no longer update your word count. So even though I've got a few more than him, you wouldn't know that by visiting the site. Cheeky bastard.

Admittedly, even if I could update my NaNoWriMo profile I'd be several thousand words short of the 50,000 word goal. That's right. I blew it. And for a multitude of reasons for which I take complete responsibility. Save one, which is why do this in the month of November?

I mean, seriously! The cruel joke of NaNoWriMo is having to decide between spending a few Thanksgiving moments with your loved ones or to go work on your novel. No one wants to be that guy.

Still, I take a little comfort in knowing I've at least got a decent start of a novel after mostly, basically, kind of, participating in NaNoWriMo. I also take a little comfort in the following message from the East Valley NaNoWriMo liaison's thoughtful little note about not getting discouraged:

"If you didn't quite make it to that finish line, that's okay. At least you took the plunge and signed up for the challenge, which is more than many, many others who have said "I want to write a novel" have done. You tried - it's all you can ask of yourself."


So what have I learned?

  1. My first-person writing is not as comedic as my third (Damn Anthony Bourdain).
  2. Writing 50,000 words in a month is a Herculean task that should be celebrated (if you can actually do it).
  3. Whether you string together 50,000 words in a single go, cram out a few every day, or do most of your writing on an airplane trip to visit Gram Gram, the important thing is to get off your ass and write.

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