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There Is No Failing NaNoWriMo

 October 28, 2020

The most wonderful time of the year is near. No, not Christmas, but November–National Novel Writing Month. A time when writers throughout the world attempt to write 50,000 words. What’s even better, there is no failing NaNoWriMo.

My Experience with NaNoWriMo

I was first introduced to NaNoWriMo seven years ago. At the time I had been laid off from a job I loved and unsure what to do next. Most of my life I had dreamed of someday having time to write. Had I finally been given the opportunity?

I heard about NaNoWriMo in October and decided to give it a try, quickly putting together ideas for what eventually morphed into a series, Dancing through Life. I successfully wrote my 50,000 words, revised them and published it the next year. The second year I wrote the second book of my series.

No Failing NaNoWriMo

In the seven years since I started, I have successfully completed 50,000 words five times. The times I didn’t finish were far from failures. In the first case, I felt called to drop the novel I had started in order to finish a non-fiction book I was working on. In the second, I wrote 30,000 words. I finished the book that winter. Hardly a failure.

But perhaps the biggest success for me was that NaNo got me writing. During the past eight years I’ve written eleven book in my series, plus published a number of non-fiction books. No failure there.

The purpose of NaNoWriMo isn’t to turn out a lot of crappy 50,000 word novels, though that does happen. The purpose is to support writers, help them start writing on a regular or semi-regular basis, or just let them know they can do it. No one writes a masterpiece in one month. All require revising and editing. In fact, if you write 50,000 words then head to a publisher, you have failed. You have not learned the art of writing.

Everyone Has a Book Inside Them!

For those who always thought they had a book inside them, NaNo pushes you to get that book on paper or computer file. What you do with it afterwards is up to you. Perhaps you’ll realize it was the only book you had in you. Maybe you aren’t cut out to be a writer. No failure in that—you’ve learned something of value.

Or perhaps that nudge was all you needed to start a new career. Either way you succeeded.

Join Me

If you ever thought you’d like to try this, join me! It’s fun. There are no meetings required. You don’t have to interact with anyone if you don’t want to, a plus for introverts. And you get to be part of a large group of people all working toward the same goal—writing a novel.

This year, my eighth year participating, I plan to write book twelve, the last in my series. It seems appropriate that the series started with NaNoWriMo and will end with NaNoWriMo.

If you do something for thirty days, you make it a habit. Or not. Either way, have fun. Remember–there is no failing NaNoWriMo!

Are you going to NaNoWriMo this year? Let me know. Maybe this November will be the start of something great for you!


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