July, and the whirlwind that was camp NaNoWriMo is over. As you may have guessed from my title, I did not ‘win’ the NaNoWriMo challenge I set for myself – writing for 10 hours every week. I also set a word count goal – 10,000 – because that is how the man at NaNoWriMo has us all catalog progress. And guess what. I didn’t reach either of these goals.
To be fair to myself, I might have met the 10,000 words, I just wasn’t very good at keeping track of them, because how do you really keep track of words while revising? As a super competitive person, who likes to win I thought I would feel bad for not sticking to my goals and not crushing camp NaNoWriMo in the face. But I don’t. I feel really at peace about the work I did, and I don’t feel like I failed at all, here is why.
- I set a super high goal! On a good week I write for about five hours, so trying to squeeze in 10 hours every week was kind of an insane idea from the get go. I wanted to challenge myself, set the bar high and see if I could clear it. This time, I overestimated my bar jumping skills and smacked into it, but it is easy to see there was a problem with my goal, not a problem with my efforts.
- I focused on Balance. Summers are always busy, especially for us Minnesotans who spend nine months of the year in hibernation because of the cold. Add to that being a new homeowner, adding not one but TWO cats to my household, fourth of July celebrations, not to mention everything else life throws at me and there just wasn’t the time. Certainly, I could have made sacrifices. I could have become a social recluse for the month, could have neglected my body refusing to eat well, exercise or get enough sleep, I could have refrained from adopting my adorable kitties and I could have overall put my life on pause for the sake of writing. But, at the end of that day, that’s not what would have been best me or my writing. I might not have made it to ten hours a week, but I found a way to consistently plug writing into my daily life and that is a habit I can build on the rest of the year.
- I made a lot of progress. I am not sure if this was just because of how the timing of things worked out, or if my commitment to writing was just that much stronger because of this July challenge, but I made some serious breakthroughs on my story this month. I have been in revisions since April and it has been sssslllllooooowww. It’s good, it’s necessary, but it can be super frustrating. This July however, I finally pushed through a giant chunk of revisions that I had been stuck on, literally since April. I think it was my third go round getting this chunk right, and I finally got it where I want it to be (for now) it feels amazing! I finally have some work that I am ready to share with people and receive feedback on, and I don’t know if I would have gotten here this fast if it hadn’t been for my crazy camp NaNoWriMo goals.
- I met a few friends. My cabin for camp wasn’t the most hoppin’ place, but I did get to chat with a couple of other girls who were doing the same thing as me – pushing through revisions! It was super fun to connect with others who could relate to the process that is editing and to give each other encouragement. Are they my new BFFs? No, but it was still fun to connect with and chat with them for the month.
- It got me excited for official NaNoWriMo in November! I was on the fence about participating in November NaNoWriMo, I wasn’t sure if I would be in the right place as far as my drafting cycle is concerned and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put myself through the grueling pace that November brings. But attempting to reach this goal in July, actually made me more excited for it in November.
Overall, despite not technically winning, I made amazing progress on my novel that I am proud of and if that isn’t winning then I don’t know what is.
How did you do? If you aren’t happy with how you did? What can you do in November to make your experience better? Remember, no matter if you met your goal or not, the purpose of this is to inspire you to write, so whether you got 50,000 words on the page, or just 1 the fact that you tried is amazing, and the fact that you are determined to continue pursuing your writing dreams is pretty cool.
Stay amazing my friends