And why I’ll probably do it again.
I am not going to “win” NaNoWriMo this year.
If you know me, you probably know me for my most popular article, where I talk about how to get through NaNoWriMo and succeed at it. But here’s the kicker: I didn’t take my own advice.
Granted, I did spend ten days away from technology completely (which is an entirely different article on its own), which was going to set me back no matter what, but I encountered another problem: my story wasn’t meant to be 50,000 words.
I hadn’t known this until this morning, when I realized there was no possible way I was going to reach 50,000 words. I was at a solid 37,000, and had woken up today with the goal of reaching 40k.
Needless to say, this didn’t happen.
I finished my NaNoWriMo at just under 40k words, and I was happy with that.
Even if I’d just preached about writing every day (I didn’t), not editing (I did), and not slowing down (I definitely slowed down), I was still happy with how everything turned out.
So why did I go against my own advice? Why didn’t I push through these last couple days and work as hard as possible to crank out my final 13,000 words?
I’m going to blame it on my plot.
Stories can only go on for so long. Some stories truly do takes hundreds of thousands of words, but mine just didn’t work out that way.
The plot could’ve been condensed completely into fifteen or twenty pages if I really tried, though I was determined to win at NaNoWriMo this year.
I have now lost two years in a row, and I’m not mad about it.
I did everything right, at first.
I made my characters, fleshed them out, created a timeline, put in dozens of plot points, separated it into acts, detailed most of the scenes, and opened up my blank document with plenty of ideas in my head.
So what went wrong? Why did I come up short with word count?
To put it simply, my story wasn’t meant to be that detailed. I could get my point across in a lot fewer words than I originally planned. And that’s okay!
We’re all so caught up in the right amount of words or right amount of pages or chapters that sometimes it seems like we forget what we’re doing. What we’re writing for and about.
And what’s the point of writing if it starts being about something other than the fact that we like to do it?
Well, plenty of reasons. But the short answer is that there isn’t.
It takes the joy out of writing when all we’re doing is mindlessly typing away to reach a word goal, doesn’t it?
So I wasn’t going to experience that this year. I wasn’t going to pour out that last 13k that I didn’t need just for the sake of reaching a goal. I was being too hard on myself.
Setting and reaching goals is a great thing, but I didn’t need it this month, and I think that’s just fine.