Why I Failed NaNoWriMo, but I’m Ready for Next Year.


I’m going to be real honest for a minute.

Before I started National Novel Writing Month, I had an idea for a story. A detective and his assistant, solving mysteries in the 1920s. In the summer, the concept and plot were strong and clear in my mind, I just wasn’t motivated enough, I guess. But when Autumn rolled around, that picture became a little fuzzy. I didn’t feel like I had the connection to the time period and to these characters that I wanted to once November started. It was like we were once roommates, living together and then, they became the neighbors down the street. An unexplained distance came between me and this story idea.

I tried my best, give me credit for that. I wrote about 10,000 words this November, which is an accomplishment, in some regard. I’m grateful for my experience with NaNoWriMo, it got me back into writing, regularly, without stopping to edit. It pushed me to be a better writer and to write more frequently. And I think that’s what I needed at this point in my life.

But It also made me realize, I might need to go back to the drawing board with this story idea. It made me question, is this the best story for my two main characters? Should I change the case my characters are investigating? Should I write something completely different?  Should I add a little fantasy element into this mystery?

If I do justice to these characters, they can be something special. I have to believe that.

Yes, I understand fictional characters are fictional. As writers, the characters we create can be more than that to us and we feel obligated to tell their tale and tell it right.

Going back to the drawing board and figuring things out is not a bad thing. Sometimes you have to step back and look at the big picture.

There’s another reason why I had to quit NaNoWriMo. (Possibly a good reason)

I got an internship. Now, for those of you who have read previous posts and know a bit about my life, you know it hasn’t been easy for me to find a job in the field I just earned a diploma for. I won’t sugar coat, it’s been tough. After hearing rejection after rejection (even got rejected by Barnes and Noble during the holiday season. Seriously?), I eventually heard a yes. It’s currently an unpaid internship, writing for a blog that focuses on everything Disney. It’s definitely made me unusually busy this November (After a couple uneventful months). Something is something, and I intend to learn a lot and gain some valuable experience. My task is to write 5 articles per week, with an average of 600 words each. That’s about 3,000 words a week, if my math is correct. I want to do a good job on this, it’s the perfectionist in me. And technically, I will have something published with my name on it. So, I’m okay with focusing on this internship for a while until I feel comfortable balancing article writing with fiction writing and my own personal blog writing.

I’m definitely gonna try NaNoWriMo next year. It really was a good experience, even if I didn’t “win”.  I still kinda won, sorta. NaNo gave me the push of motivation I needed.  So this rookie ain’t out yet, next year, I’m aiming for the world series  (I’ve been making a lot of baseball references to NaNo, haven’t I? Should I be concerned?).

I want all you aspiring writers to keep on writing, even if you feel stuck at the drawing board or things don’t fall into place quite so easily. Never forget how magical storytelling is.

Write With Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky.