It’s three days before the end of NaNoWriMo, and for everyone who’s doing it, it’s time for a reality check.
NaNoWriMo has a tendency to consume your mind if you let it. It’s very tempting – it’s got a lovely metric and ways of tracking it so you can see the numbers ticking up and that little graph slowly following, matching, or even overtaking the projection line. If you’re behind, it’s a motivator to catch up. If you’re ahead, it’s a motivator to see how far ahead you can get. It’s almost video-game-esque in its ability to reward our brains with numbers.
If you are behind, it can start to get stressful. You’ll get labelled a “participant” on the site – it’s not quite as bad as “loser”, but everyone who’s been in a high school athletics day knows that when you have “participant” and “winner”, “participant” feels like a euphemism.
However, I’m a big advocate of different metrics for ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ NaNo. So here I want to ask a question: Three days before the finish, did you get what you wanted to out of NaNoWriMo? Whether or not you hit the word count – or achieved your own word count goal, whether that was more or less than the standard 50,000 – what was it you really wanted to get out of NaNo?
Did you form a writing habit? Did you write nearly every day? Did you write, on average, more words than was your goal? Did you get past a scene that you were finding difficult, or learn to write a new genre that you’d never tried before? Did you take a huge chunk out of that first draft that’s been sitting in your mind for years but you’ve never quite worked up the courage to put down on paper? Did you gain confidence in your writing, or your ability to motivate yourself to write?
For everyone who’s on the home stretch – don’t give up now! May the last three days be as productive as the first three, when you’re in the throes of creativity and novelty (pun thoroughly intended). You can do it if you hold out for the last three days.
For everyone who’s disappointed – it can feel like a failure, but try to remember what you learned and got out of it, as well as going through the reasons why you didn’t get to the goal you wanted. It’s trite, but the only failure is the one that you don’t learn from.
Good luck everybody, and happy writing!