Firstly, congratulations to all you who reached the 50,000 word goal today (or earlier in the month). You are gods among men.
I didn’t finish. I didn’t even get halfway. My piece stopped at the grand total of 22,244 words. They are words that I will probably never look at again.
I’d like to list a few possible reasons as to why I didn’t finish. This isn’t an attempt to make myself feel better…at least, I think it isn’t. I’m not so good with psychoanalysis, so it may refer to some (not so well) hidden wish to justify myself.
As someone who is used to pushing towards success, even when that success is hate-fueled, grueling and yields terrible results, I kind of want to know why this year was different. And I came up with the following reasons. Maybe these are reasons that others can relate to as well.
1. The Thesis of Doom. This one is obvious. I am a champion freak-outer, and I have been alternately relaxed and panicked about my thesis for the past six weeks. It didn’t help that I think I’ll be changing a significant portion of it to reflect some new discoveries. I know that Nanowrimo is designed for people who don’t have all day to write, but sometimes when you’re swamped with work, you wade and wade and wade…and find more swamp. For me, that’s just how things were this month.
2. I didn’t have the proper motivation. What was the point of writing 50,000 words? For me, not much. Because, in every other year, I’d written junk while hoping for gems, this year I decided to take a different approach and attempt to hone my novel-writing skills without publication as that end goal. As a result, when I started on November 1 I knew that a) my prose would probably be terrible and b) I didn’t want to fix it. So why put in the effort of so many words in such a short span of time? Earlier in the month I wrote a post in which I stated that the point of Nanowrimo is to write a novel, not to publish one. I stand by that, but once I realized that I wasn’t trying to write something even vaguely publishable, something in me kind of gave up. Really, there was no point.
3. Finishing things seems to be my kryptonite. This is a problem that I’d better get over before I need to hand in my thesis. But it’s true. When I was in high school, I wrote three finished manuscripts in about a year and a half. One of those was for Nanowrimo. Now, I only start things, get sidetracked, and never come back to them. My Nanowrimo novel of two years ago was a completed manuscript, but I cringed whenever I went back to edit it. And since then I haven’t written anything of length that has a beginning, a middle and an end. That’s going to be my next obstacle in writing – once I get the thesis of doom out of the way.
4. I had no competition. I hate to admit it, but in certain ways I can be extremely competitive. I don’t like having a lower grade than my classmates (the same grade is fine), and I don’t like failing when others achieve, particularly when I am certain that I can do it. What drove me to complete Nanowrimo the very first year that I participated was the knowledge that one of my classmates had finished halfway through the month. Part of me just couldn’t bear the idea that she could win and I couldn’t. So I did. This year, the social part of Nanowrimo didn’t work out so well for me, for a number of reasons. And the nanoers that I did have contact with weren’t going to finish either. So I didn’t feel the pressure to do it myself.
So, I didn’t finish Nanowrimo this year, and I’m okay with that. I’ve always known that some years I’ll finish, and some I won’t. And I learned some things about myself along the way that will hopefully lead to a more productive Nanowrimo next year.
Now, we can go back to our regularly scheduled programs, read books, write at a leisurely pace, and dream fondly of next year.
Happy End of November, everyone!