When starting something new, the prospect of starting can be daunting, can make you feel anxious, can give you fear for the future, and sometimes when dwelt upon too much, can make you not want to start. Or if you are looking to the end of something, can make you not want to finish.
This year for NaNoWriMo it was not starting that had me going crazy and it was not the fact that the closer the end came, the more I felt that I could not finish. To finish NaNoWriMo, to win, was one prospect that was not daunting, but the journey was. I did not win NaNoWriMo this year. Despite all of my preparation. Against the time I put in. In spite of one anxiety attack and writing 10,000 words in the last few days alone, I did not succeed. I managed 33,037 words by day 30. My friends and co-workers had to put up with my increased crabbiness by the end, my inability to be a part of anything that was going on around me, and my general silliness from lack of sleep.
Another thing that my friends and co-workers had to deal with, especially that last week when I knew for certain that there would be no light at the end of the tunnel for me, was my constant complaining and whining about how I was going to fail, had already practically done so, and my frantic writing and complaining while I was writing. Let’s just say that during the last week and days of NaNoWriMo 2014 I was not a graceful woman. Let this serve as my apology to all those who had to deal with me and especially for my housemates, which for you guys, there was no escape.
Throughout the last few days my housemates kept repeating a few things over and over. They reminded me that whether or not I reached 50K, the amount I still accomplished was a great feat and helped me get a great chunk of my novel finished. They also stated that I had managed a great deal more than I did last year at that time. And you know something, they were right.
For a long time I would not accept their words of wisdom and praise at the end. All I knew during that time was that I failed and failed horribly. I was over 25,000 words short of the amount I needed and nothing would console me. Now, though, I can see that they were right. Did I reach the end goal of 50K? No. Did I finish a novel in 30 days? No, but finishing a whole novel within that time frame had never been a part of my goals from the beginning.
What I gained from this years NaNo competition was far greater than reaching 50K and claiming my bragging rights. November showed me that if I put in the time I can make 2,000 words a day easily. I learned that if I stay disciplined, I can put out a large chunk of my novel within a few months, compared to the atrocious, measly amount I have done in the last year. The race of this competition showed me that there is room to grow, that there is always room to grow and if I can realize that, then there is hope for me. Once you think that there is nothing else to learn, that you cannot change your method or your mind about something then that is when you become stuck.
There will always be next year and you can bet that you will see me back next year and every year to come for November’s writing competition. In some ways I failed, but in others, so many others I succeeded. With every day that I write I gain a bit of perspective. To those that won this year’s challenge, congratulations. And to those that did not quite reach 50K, you did not fail. You tried and sometimes that is all you can give in turn to a world asking so much of you.