NaNoWriMo: failure and success

While in grad school, I heard whispers about a contest to write a novel in a month.  I thought:  Who the hell would be mad enough to do that?  I’ve got a poetry thesis to worry about.

Then, three years ago, I decided:  Yes.  I am mad enough to try this.  And, three Novembers ago, I was a sad little poet trying to write a novel and failing miserably.  I put the story–which had more in common with cat-sick than anything resembling coherent progression–away.

[Ok.  I kept it in a secret little box with pretty ribbons where, on occasion, I would take it out.  It was lonely.]

In 2011, I decided to again attempt NaNoWriMo.  And guess what?  I actually did it!  I finished.  There is something really cathartic about being able to say:  I wrote a 50,000 word story.

Is my end product what I would really consider a novel?  No–too short and choppy.  But it is something I would call a seed-draft for a novel.  That means there are significant portions to fill in/develop before I would call it a first draft.

If you are attempting NaNoWriMo, failure is just fine–and probably likely.  Suck it up, buttercup.  Take comfort in the humor of Patrick Rothfuss:  1) upon entering the competition; and 2) upon defeat.


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