Letting Go: The Freedom of Failure

I’m doing National Novel Writing Month, and I’m proud to say, I wrote over two thousand words today. I’m also ten thousand words behind. And it feels great.

It’s taken me a long time to be able to say that.

I started the month with as much enthusiasm, drive, and determination to win as any WriMoer. Winning is good, right? Everyone loves a winner. Except my husband, it turns out. For some people, writing 1,667 words a day comes easily. For me, some days it does and some days it doesn’t. On the days it doesn’t, my family pays the price.

So nine days in, I took a day off. Then my daughter got sick, and I took off some more. I went through what any writer goes through when she isn’t writing. I got grumpy. I watched my fellow WriMoers pull ahead and meet their word counts with ease. One even wrote 75,000 words in two weeks.

Bah. Those aren’t tears of frustration, really. They’re tears of joy.

Then, I did something really drastic. I took a day off to write an outline. And I realized I needed to re-write the first third of my novel. So I broke all the rules, and I did.

Re-writing? During November?


Because I’ve spent a year trying to re-write a NaNo novel before, one that I pushed through without a plan, and I know how painful it is. So learning from my mistakes?

Yeah. The hard way.

There’s no way I’ll win this November. But I have 20,000 words of something that I didn’t have before. Something that’s a lot better than nothing.

It’s not winning. But now that the pressure is off, my family’s happier, I’m happier, and I like where my book is heading. I’m looking forward to December, Keep Writing Your Novel Month. And January, Finish Your Novel Month, and February, Start Another Novel Month.

That doesn’t feel like failure.


2 thoughts on “Letting Go: The Freedom of Failure

  1. Nothing gums up a schedule like sick family members. So long as we don’t actually miss a someone’s-paying-us deadline, we just gotta roll with it.

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