Monday was the last day of NaNoWriMo.
I finished off with 40,155 words, 9,845 words short of 50,000.
In short, I did not win NaNoWriMo.
No, this is not a pity party. I’m just being honest. My goal, like everyone else doing NaNo, was to reach 50,000 words in 30 days, just like I had done the past two years in a row. However, I did not get that far. All things considered, if I had to fall short, to fall short by 9,845 is not something to be ashamed of. I still wrote a lot, I was still really close!
This year was different than the past two years. One of the main reasons I didn’t have as much time to write as last year and the year before is because I started dual-enrolling at our community college this semester. Two college classes along with my other school subjects can actually add a lot of extra homework, especially in November when things are picking up! I kept telling myself at the beginning of November that it would be fine. “I’ll catch up, I’ll catch up. No worries. I’ll get there. I’ll make time, I’ll find time.”
In the end, though, I was faced with two choices every day. I can write, or I can do homework. I can write, or I can study. I can write, or I can watch a movie or episode with my family that I haven’t been able to spend time with all day because of school, college, church activities, etc. I can write, or I can’t. How do I balance what I really want to be doing, with what I perhaps should be doing more?
I would really rather WRITE. Always. But homework and studying and family time…those are all important, too. In fact, they’re ultimately MUCH more important than writing. This doesn’t mean I have to completely give up my writing. It just means that I can’t write every day. Or that some days I’ll only write about 800-1,000 words, when I know I could write 3,000 if I was given more time. It just means that I won’t always reach my personal writing goals that I set for myself–that I can change and adjust. It just means that writing doesn’t come first–but it doesn’t mean it comes last.
So, I’ll be honest. When I first thought about writing this post, my plan was to tell you that I’m perfectly fine with not reaching 50,000 words this year. I thought it would be true by November 30. However, telling you that would be a lie. Because I’m still a little sad that I didn’t reach 50,000 words this year. I tried really hard and wrote as much as I could. So not reaching that goal is still somewhat disappointing. I look forward to this challenge all year. But again, that’s the nice thing about NaNoWriMo (as with many other things!): it always comes back next year.
But I still wrote 40,155 words!!! That’s pretty cool.
I’ll reach 50,000 words. Maybe this weekend, maybe next weekend. Maybe next month. Who knows? But I’ll get there. Bit by bit, step by step.
Moral of the story? I learned a lot in November–more than just that Scrivener is just about the best writing tool EVER (which, it is). I began learning how to balance what I want to do with what I need to do. I learned that we don’t always reach our goals when we want to, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying our hardest and going as far as we can. I learned that life can be busy and crazy and very demanding. We just have to take it one step at a time.
To all you other aspiring NaNoers who may or may not have reached 50,000 words in November: Congratulations for WRITING something! Keep at it. Already looking forward to trying again with all of you next year!