If You Didn’t “Win” NaNo, Don’t Despair. It Doesn’t Mean You’ve “Failed”

I’ve met many people who tell me, “Oh, I failed NaNo. I only got 13,000 words.”

I know writers who would give their eye teeth to have written 13,000 words, 8,000 words, or even just words! Just because you didn’t hit that magic number of 50,000, doesn’t mean you should pack up your keyboard and throw away your word processing software. It doesn’t mean you should go back to Twitter, home of the brief. It just means it’s time to regroup and see where you are. Here are some truths:

1. Writing takes practice. This means, the more you do it, the better you get.

2. Babe Ruth, the baseball player often quoted for his number of home runs, also held a record for strikeouts – the point being, the more times you’re at bat, the more chances of getting a home run. Show up at the page, day in and day out, and you will achieve the goals you set for yourself.

3. You had the courage to start. Don’t underestimate that. Big things come from small things. Give yourself props for having the courage to take a chance and begin something.

4. Now that you’ve tried it, you don’t have to begin from scratch. Yes, you will write new words. But that’s not what I mean. Now you know what NaNo’s all about. This information is power. Maybe you can go into next year with some prep-work ahead of time. Maybe you can spend the next year learning to plot, or develop characters, or fart around with some story communities and see how others do it.

Above all, keep at it. The words you wrote in November are new words that never before saw the light of day. If it weren’t for you, they wouldn’t exist. And that, truly, is magical.

So rest on that, writer. You did it. You started.

And that means, dear writer, that you ARE a writer.

You are a writer.

You ARE a writer.

So go write!

Write on!


A. Catherine Noon, co-ML for Chicago Region 2014; 6 events, 4 wins
National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo | ChiWriMo | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”  - E.E. Cummings

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  1. Rachel Wilder says

    So very true. Many writers don’t even try- so everyone that did is a step ahead of finishing that novel that lives in your heart.


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