Well, NaNoWriMo, you beat me this time. There were too many distractions, too many bizarre injuries, too many hurricanes, and too many other obligations. I am attempting to accept my defeat gracefully. There are many other WriMos out there in the same boat as me. NaNo is a real challenge every year, and even the most prolific writers encounter periods when their time is not their own.
I knew fairly early on that this was not going to be a winning year for me, but I didn’t surrender until the last day. Why? Simply put, every word you write for NaNo is a word that you wouldn’t have otherwise written. Despite my relentless distractions, I managed to write 25,000 words this month, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.
I continue to learn more about my own writing process, as well. This is hugely important. I consider writing to be a form of art, and like any artist, I must continually work to improve and stretch and challenge myself. The life of an artist is a journey, and the public’s perception that an individual is either talented or not, full stop, is erroneous. The Stephen Kings, J.K. Rowlings, and Neil Gaimans out there aren’t born writing well – it’s a learned skill. Events such as NaNoWriMo are wonderful vehicles for writers to learn and grow and develop their abilities, and so no attempt could ever be seen as a failure.
Another consideration that keeps me from spiraling into a vortex of self-loathing and chocolate binging is that many of the obligations that kept me from working on my novel were tied to my work for Renaissance Romance Publishing. This is a good thing, because it reminds me that I finally have a career that I can enjoy and find fulfillment in. I’m lucky to have been given such an opportunity after so many years of patent specifications and embassy certifications and demanding clients and mysteriously disappearing (yet critical) case files. It’s hard to get depressed over having a full and rewarding life.
I still love the NaNoWriMo experience, and I’m looking forward to giving it another shot next year. Perhaps this time I’ll try advance preparation and a smidge of organization… maybe.