My big, fat NaNo fail. I think.

Well, November is over. And thank god, too, for I no longer have to feel guilty for not pounding out 2,000 words a day to meet my National Novel Writing Month goal.

‘Cause, if truth be told, I kind of, sort of blew it off. I just wasn’t in the mood. Or maybe it just wasn’t the right time. Or maybe, you know, I got caught up in other things and wrote other stuff and my NaNo goals faded to the background.

I’m still bummed about this. I’m disappointed in myself.

Because I started out so optimistically. I was going to accomplish so much! I was going to finish my next novel! I was going to start another one after that one! I was going to write like crazy and not bathe and live on pretzels and carbonated water and fully embrace the life of a demented writer.

I’ve never been a conventional person, though, and I’ve always bristled when it comes to rules. So knowing that I was supposed to write 2,000 words a day made me want to do anything but write 2,000 words a day (actually, it wasn’t quite 2,0000 words, more like 1,700, but no matter).

The thing is, I did a shitload of writing in November. I just didn’t do it consistently. Instead, I wrote in long, jagged stutters, staying up all night writing one night and then not writing again for three days and then writing almost non-stop for the next two.

And so, without further ado, my November stats:

Wrote 40-page hybrid memoir for a chapbook contest
Finished two essays and submitted both
Six chapters of a new young adult novel
Two chapters of my feminist scary novel
Finished four poems
Edited and submitted a 72-page poetry manuscript
Read eight books (eight!!)

So I wrote, a lot. But as most everything in my life, that writing was scattered and unfocused. Is this a good or a bad thing?

I dunno.

But now it’s December, which is a new month with new goals. Of course I haven’t made any goals but still, it’s a new month with 28 more days filled with 28 shining possibilities.

It’s also a month of darkness up here in Alaska. We’re down to about five and a half hours of stingy daylight and we’re still losing around two minutes a day.

Still, the darkness can be a blessing for a writer. There’s less distraction, less temptation for long runs and long hikes and long walks on the beach. Instead, there’s a long stretch of darkness, and the coziness of a quiet house and the dog snoring by my feet and, of course, hours and hours of writing.

There’s also this, the beauty of the sunset in mid-afternoon.

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Big hooray: Congratulations to Luanne Castle, whose poetry collection Doll God won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. You go, Luanne!

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Another big hooray: And also a very warm congratulations (and big hugs) to Alaska’s very own Caroline Van Hemert, who was named a finalist for nonfiction in the Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Awards.

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Caroline and hubby, Patrick Farrell.

Van Hemert and Farrell completed an impressive 4,000 mile human-powered journey from Bellingham, Wash. to Kotzebue, Alaska, a few years ago. Read more about their adventures on their blog, Northern Limits.

8 thoughts on “My big, fat NaNo fail. I think.

  1. Last year, I read a book with a similar story to Caroline’s, only the couple traveled from Seattle to somewhere out on the Aleutians instead of Kotzebue.

    That NaNo challenge is much like the running streak that Runner’s World encourages runners to do between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The problem with attaching yourself to specific numbers is that it never tells the whole story although the intention of both are motivation to improve. Are your efforts part of this singular goal (writing 1,700 words/day, running every day for a month) or something larger? Is there too much emphasis on quantity rather than quality? It looks like you had one heck of a writing month, even if it doesn’t look neat and orderly on paper. Maybe you just cut out the junk miles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Karen. I love (love!) what you said about cutting out the writing junk miles. I’m always a bit suspicious of people who take on those running streak challenges. They seem more for show than anything else. I used to follow a woman who had been run-streaking for years but quickly became disillusioned because struggling through two miles when you’re sick just to stay on a streak seemed kind of silly. I must remember not to do the same with my writing. Cheers and happy running in your warmer weather paradise.


    1. Thanks! Just wish I could sit down, each and every day, and write between certain hours and get a certain amount done (does anyone really write like that? If so, I am terribly, terribly jealous). Cheers, pats to the pets and happy writing. P.S. The colors up here in Alaska are amazing, especially the lavender-blue-silver shadows.


  2. I think my “success” with NaNoWriMo pales compared to what you accomplished in November. Seriously (and I’m not calling the dog), you not only wrote, but you also submitted!!! I wrote 50+ words that will likely die a slow death in my dropbox. So please don’t beat yourself up over NaNoWriMo. You have much to be proud of, girl 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love you! You made a Seriously joke! I really needed that right now, so thanks so much. I don’t think that your 50+ words will die in your dropbox. I’ll bet it will be revised into a novel and I’ll be reading it by this time next year, and I’ll be terribly jealous but pretend that I’m (fingers crossed, and toes too–not on the jealousy part but the book part). Cheers and have a great weekend.


  3. You did loads of writing – no fail in sight there… Sometimes you’re just not in the mood to go on with a long project and sometimes too life takes over. I got to 32K and then I stopped. It needs time in my brain before I continue.
    That is one fab photo. We’ve had fog for days, would be nice to see the sky.
    And happy running!


    1. Thanks, Linda. And good for you, too, for writing 32K–that’s a huge accomplishment. I kind of like that you stopped, though. I think writing fast for too long can make the words come out soggy, if that makes sense. We don’t get much fog here but we don’t get much sun, either, lol. Cheers, happy writing and have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

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