End of NaNo, or What Happens When the Project Fails

Been quiet for a while because of NaNo and real life stuff that’s been going on. Most recently on the RL front, it’s been a nasty cold/crud/infection that’s hit the whole house.

Which is why I’m hanging up the NaNo hat. I’m 14K behind with a little over a week to go. I technically could do it if I pushed hard to the exclusion of all else, but with how sick I’ve been and still am, plus the fact I haven’t been able to play with my little one all that much (who’s two, so doesn’t understand “Mommy’s working” yet), I’m not willing to push myself to further exhaustion.

Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop work on the project; it just means that I’m going to tackle it at a pace and organizational level that I prefer.

So what did I learn from this year’s NaNo?

  1. While 1600 words is not doable for me at this time, I definitely can manage 500 words per day with the little one. So that’s going to be my daily goal from now on.
  2. I am not a pantser. I knew this already, but this project really confirmed it. I hit a point where I knew I had to add a new character and a whole new arc, and I got stalled out because I had no idea what to do with it. I still don’t. So next immediate work on this story will be working the kinks out there. Plotting is my friend and I will embrace it.
  3. Gaming is a boon and a bane. I’m going to eventually do a blog about how I’m a gamer who writes, but this NaNo has suffered and excelled from my gaming lore. The new character and the world building he’s pulling into the setting is coming from a number of gaming influences, like FFXII, old D&D tropes, and a bit more Shadowrun. On the other hand, trying to pull away from gaming during this time period to strictly proved to be a bit more of a challenge, and one I wasn’t able to deal with. Sick and stress means I want to immerse myself in a story that’s already laid out, not create a new one.

So what am I going to do now since I won’t be pursuing NaNo?

  1. I’m taking a break. I need to get better and that means rest. Plus my husband got incredibly lucky with his work schedule and is currently off this Thursday through Saturday, which means it’ll be the first Thanksgiving in a while that we’ve had off together. I still work Black Friday, but then I’m off Saturday, so we’re going to have family time, clean up, and try to decorate for the holidays, because Lord knows when we’ll have a chance later.
  2. I’m going to go back to shopping around for a home for my flash piece, “Portraits”. After the last rejection, I haven’t had a chance to research other magazines and try to figure out my next best move. I’d like to see that placed within the next couple of months.
  3. I’m picking up some freelance copy writing work. A friend needed help with a project, so I’m trying my hand at it. It’s something new, and it’ll be a good experience.
  4. Another friend asked me to edit some of his pieces, so I’m going to be working on that as well.
  5. I’m going to tackle a bit more of the world building and politics that I neglected to build up for this NaNo project (henceforth being called Arcanist). While I’m not happy with the current work, I do still believe it has a lot of potential, but I have to put the work into it. That means I can’t skimp the world building. The plot rests too heavily on it for me to skim past it.
  6. And finally, I’m going back to Villainous Heart. I’ve missed my superhero setting, and I’m excited to get back to it, even though it means I’m picking up with the bane of my writing: a fight scene.

Am I disappointed that I’m not meeting the challenge? Yes. But sometimes that’s what NaNo teaches you: where the weaknesses are. And with it, what your strengths are. As a writer, I need to play up more to my strengths and run with them. And right now, NaNo isn’t playing into that. So it’s time for a break.

Good luck to all who are still continuing on this month!

5 thoughts on “End of NaNo, or What Happens When the Project Fails

  1. rnmckinnon

    I really loved this post. I think it’s so important to reflect on what we normally call “failures”, that way we can re-structure them in our mind as learning opportunities.

    I “failed” this NANO as well, but I’m doing more work on my novel than I’ve done all year, so I’m not stressing about it. I’m proud of myself, and I forgive myself, which is what I talked about in my own recent blog post.

    Ah, RL RPG gaming! I love it when I find a fellow RPGer. I had to set aside a DND campaign I was planning during this month to focus on my novel. I’m going to get back to it in December, and even though that means less time on my novel, it means more time with a fun project and hanging out with my friends, which I desperately need.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. edmondswriter

    Well you learnt some things about your writing and you’ve got good plans for moving forward. So that sounds successful to me despite the fact you havent technically “won”. After all the point of NaNo is to get people writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, I didn’t even try nano this month. I’ve been plodding along since June on my current WIP and enjoyed the chill pace. That is, until a week ago when I decided I needed a break before I kill myself 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you’re not being hard on yourself about Nano because they way I see it, it’s meant to be an encouraging exercise, not something to beat yourself up about. Knowing myself like I do, I didn’t even attempt it (I don’t do very well with schedules of any kind so I don’t think it’s for me). Regardless, I’ve been getting a lot of writing done this last few months, both on my novel and shorter fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

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