Tag Archives: nanowrimo

It’s not failure; it’s an opportunity to learn

writer's blockNovember is half over. I should be halfway through my novel. Many of you might have assumed this was coming, but I’m nowhere near halfway through a novel. In fact, I haven’t made it past 5,000 words.

When I started the National Novel Writing Month project, I said it was an experiment. Unfortunately, it hasn’t bee a successful one.

I don’t want to give excuses, but I can give an explanation. I was very ill for the first week of November, which put me way behind. Then, well, I got lazy. Every night I came home from work, finished my to-do list for this blog (which remained my top writing priority), and then I just couldn’t bring myself to write 1,500 more words after sitting in front of a computer writing all day for work.

I was pretty down about it at first. As much as I wanted to “win” NaNoWriMo, I just didn’t have the energy. I’m still coughing a little, and I’m still recovering from the virus I picked up Halloween weekend. A lot of my interests and responsibilities have been on the back burner for the past couple weeks as I continued to recover. I haven’t been to the gym or taken any real photographs for this entire month. It’s been all I could do to keep up with this blog and my job.

I said I wouldn’t give excuses, but I won’t let myself feel bad about it either. Instead, I choose to see it as a learning opportunity. I did learn some things, even if I didn’t write the novel I wanted to write.

Just because you want to do it doesn’t mean you have the time.

A long time ago I had to learn to say no when I didn’t want to do something or take on more responsibility. But I never considered the fact that I could be my own worst enemy. I have to learn to recognize my own limitations and acknowledge that a 50 hour work week, daily blog, photography hobby, exercise, husband and household are already a lot of work. This year just wasn’t the right time to add on another responsibility, no matter how much I wanted it. I was setting myself up for failure.

Not right now doesn’t mean never.

I love to set goals for myself and accomplish them. But I have a now or never mentality that holds me back. Just because I have too much going on right now doesn’t mean I’ll never write my 50,000 word novel. Just because it can’t happen this November doesn’t mean it won’t happen next November (or even next July). There is no time limit. There are no rules. If I want to accomplish something, I will do it. I just need to learn that it doesn’t always have to be right this second.

Acknowledge your own accomplishments.

The whole point of participating in NaNoWriMo was to force myself to write creatively every day. But just because I pushed the project aside for now doesn’t mean I failed. The volume of writing I do for this blog is nothing to sniff at. So many blogs are started and abandoned (I’ve done it myself too many times to count). I should be proud of myself for maintaining a blog for over a year, and publishing about 3,000 words a week on top of who knows how many words I write for work every week.

The point is, if there’s a goal you’ve missed or an accomplishment you gave up, it doesn’t mean it’s over. Learn to accept your limitations, find the right time to pursue your goals, and never give up. But don’t waste time and energy being mad at yourself for putting things on hold.

Photo by samflinn

Are you up for a challenge?

nanowrimoIt happens every few months or so. I get restless. I start feeling unfulfilled and bored. I want some excitement, something new, but I don’t really know what that something might be.

We all get in a rut sometimes. The question is, what do you do about it? Do you complain? Wallow in unhappiness? Or do you try something new? Take on a challenge and see where it takes you?

I’m constantly challenging myself to try new things and explore new interests. Most of them don’t stick. A lot of them end up being unfinished projects or even unstarted projects. But you’ll never discover new interests if you don’t challenge yourself with new things.

Quilting, photography, this blog … all of my hobbies started out with a trial run. And it’s time for me to take on yet another challenge.

This year, I’ll be participating in National Novel Writing Month. I will write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30. I already have an idea and a rough plot outline.

The purpose isn’t to write a great piece of literature. In fact, it’s likely that the finished project will be total crap. It will be rushed, unedited, and hastily written. But it will be a novel, and it will force me to write creatively every day for a month.

I haven’t written fiction since junior high, so I’m looking forward to this new challenge. At the end of the month, I may decide that I’m better off sticking with nonfiction for the rest of my life. Or I may discover a new passion for fiction. Who knows where this new challenge will lead me, but that’s part of the fun of it.

I’m going to try very hard not to let this new project interfere with my writing here, but the fact is, I might be a little pressed for time in the coming month. If I miss a day here or there, you’ll know why.

So how about you? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Are you hungry for a new challenge? Have you always wanted to run a marathon or make a scrapbook? There’s no better time than now to make it happen. Let’s make November the month of new beginnings!

Photo by olivander