I’ve Just Won NanoWrimo… By Quitting.


I’ve got some nasty bug that’s had me bedridden for the past two days. The bad news is that I feel horrible but the good news is that it really gave me some time to write.

I’ve got to nearly 30 000 words on my NanoWrimo novel and I’ve decided that I won’t be finishing it. This decision wasn’t made lightly. It wasn’t made because I don’t have the time or the capability to finish by the end of November. It was made because at this point to continue would be a waste of my time. It sounds harsh, so let me explain fully.

I’ve written haphazardly at best for NanoWrimo 2013. I didn’t actually start the challenge until the 5th of November and then I proceeded to write only three times per week. If you do the calculations you will realize what that means it that I’ve been writing on average 3400 words per day. What really happened is that some days I did 2500 and some days I did up to 6000.

So you might ask, if it was going so splendidly, why did you quit? I was getting the words but I had no excitement for the plot I decided to go with. If I were dead honest I found that I no longer had any excitement for the genre I was trying to write or even the point of view. It became an exercise to prove that I could finish 50 000 words in 30 days. I guess this would’ve been a good enough goal if I haven’t already written a 72 000 word novel in 35 days last year (I know I had 5 extra days but I mean… I wrote 22 000 extra words). The kicker came when as I wrote this morning I thought to myself, ‘I can’t wait until I get to 50 000 words so that I can delete this file and forget about it’. I realized then that it had become about the words and not about the novel. This wasn’t going to be a novel that I’d go through with a red ink pen and replot before an actual rewrite. This is what I mean by it became a waste of time. So I’ve quit and the first thing I did was send that file to the trash.

I’ve learned from this experience, though, and I suppose that that is all you can really hope for in any endeavour you undertake. I learned that although my first genre was Fantasy (I moved from Epic fantasy to Urban fantasy) for now I’ve moved beyond that. I say ‘for now’ because as any writer knows – nothing is ever static, the process is fluid and exciting.

I learned that it is possible for me to write 6000 words in a four and half hour writing stretch but if I want to be comfortable I should set my set daily goals to 3000 words per day. I also realized that I underestimated how important it was to get up and just do the damn thing. Most of the days when I wrote it was in the three hours before school and the routine was relaxing (except I wrote for three days and then not at all for the rest of the week). I will definitely be sticking to a routine from now on.

And most importantly, I learned that sometimes the real victory can be found in knowing when to opt out of the battle.

I’m sitting here with a cup of orange juice and rereading the last piece I was working on before I dived head first into NanoWrimo. In a couple hours I will be reoriented and I will start working on it. I feel quite upbeat and excitement is tingling around the edges of my mind for the first time in a while. Last year when I had to quit, NanoWrimo had bested me but this year… I’m the winner here. And, in the end  that’s all I can ask for.

Good luck to those of you still going! You can do it!


Photo Credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net per Stuart Miles
Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net per Stuart Miles




One thought on “I’ve Just Won NanoWrimo… By Quitting.

  1. “And most importantly, I learned that sometimes the real victory can be found in knowing when to opt out of the battle”

    Bravo Rilzy, Bravo. Seriously, you seem to have made the right decision here and it’s great to see what you learned in the process. I’m so glad you can see that you’re still the winner here.

    Good luck with your other projects. Have fun with them!
    Take Care, Cat x

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