This Is My Promise to My Fellows Who Are Going to “Lose” NaNoWriMo

Here’s how it looks now:

nano-chartI’m currently a little under 30K. It’s not that I think it’s totally impossible to write 20K in two days. I know that there are people out there who are going to come up out of equal deficits and make it to the WINNER bar. And I’m happy for them. Really.

I will not be one of them.

And I hate to say that, because I have a nemesis or two who I want to see win NaNo. I want to read these novels, guys. I also want to share my novel when I finish it. I love writing — I fucking love storytelling, guys. I sat here on my parents’ couch, getting progressively more wine drunk, while telling my mother all about my DREAMING OF EDEN rewrite because she’d read the draft before1.

At the same time, I don’t want to spend the next two days throwing myself at the novel only to wind up hating it on December 1st. I had already started to stress myself out about failure. That if I failed at NaNo this year, it was just proof that I would fail at everything else I had achieved and am afraid to mess up. I made NaNo into this symbol of everything, and the end result was emotionally ugly. The WINNER bar is not worth enough to me.

Today while trying to throw myself into this NaNo thing full force, I more or less solidified the outline. While I barely understand what this rewrite is about right now, I’m excited. I’m interested. I want to keep writing.

So this is my promise, fellow “losers.” We’re going to turn this experience into good work, and we’re going to keep doing it after November. I’m not saying we’ll finish the novel right away, or that we won’t let live get in the way.

But NaNo reminds me that writing is meaningful to me, and that it’s worth it to keep working at it. While it sucks not to get another win under my belt, I’m unwilling to sacrifice all my energy for it.

But I will keep writing. And I want you to keep writing. We have not lost anything. We have great stories ahead of us.


1. True story: I told her that  a common complaint when I was shopping it was, “Why wouldn’t he call the cops?” and she was like, “THAT’S WHAT I KEPT WONDERING.” So I was like, “MOM YOU SHOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING.”

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