For some, NaNoWriMo has been a month of moderate goals and exceptional results. (See NaNoWriMo And All Its Glory.) For me, NaNoWriMo has produced not just words and excitement, but also frustration and a sense of failure.
I set out on November 1st to tackle the goal of NaNoWriMo for the first time: 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s a lot, but I know it’s possible (even for me). I was writing on a different project in October and very nearly keeping that pace. But at the beginning of this month, as I sat down to work on a completely brand new project, I found that the words just wouldn’t come with the same energy and ease as they did in October.
I am traditionally a slow writer. Ridiculously, painfully, excruciatingly slow. I thought, though, that NaNoWriMo might teach me to work with abandon. I thought that it might allow me to see a new project before me and jump in, consequences be damned. Crumbling plot line? Inconsistent desire line? Unidentifiable setting? Who cares? All of that could be fixed later. Words on paper. That was the goal.
And here is where I’ve experienced both excitement and frustration. I have been writing on a brand new project. Brand new! I haven’t done that in years. It feels wonderful. It feels freeing. My mind wanders each day through a brand new world, with new characters and fresh problems to ponder. Success! And yet frustration. I am nowhere near 50,000 words, which is the goal I set out to tackle. By the end of November, I expect that I’ll land somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 words. In a normal month, I would call that good writing. But here, in NaNo, it feels like an abysmal failure.
So this is the love-hate relationship I have developed with NaNoWriMo. I love that it drove me into a new project. I love that it gave me a goal. I hate that I did not reach that goal. I hate that it has bred feelings of inadequacy within me.
While I will not make it to 50,000 words this November, I feel that I must overcome my feelings of failure and cheer for the victories I have attained. I am writing something new. Yay! On average, I’ve had a successful month of writing. Yay! And my OctoWriMo was a huge success. Hip! Hip! Hooray!
So while I still love and hate NaNoWriMo, perhaps it has led me to a victorious end, though not the end I first set out to reach.