NaNoWriMo and Me: How I failed NaNoWrimo and Why I’m Happy About It

Going off the title of this post, you already know what I’m going to talk about.

I failed NaNoWriMo.

My final count was 43,836 words. I was 6,164 words away from victory. So how did I fail?

For starters, there were many days within the month where I found myself coming up with excuses to write. “I’m tired” and “Family Guy is on” came out of my mouth frequently throughout the month of November. Secondly, my social life decided to take a drastic change and suddenly I had a bunch of social engagements I couldn’t say no to. And finally, the last three days, when I could have easily finished out those 6,164 words, my pinched nerve in my shoulder flared up to the point I couldn’t grip a pencil, let alone sit at a computer and huff it out.

I tried to fight through the pain of the pinch nerve, cranking out 8,000 words one night. But that was a stupid idea–the pain came back ten fold. I spent November 28, 29, and 30 drugged and in a lot of pain.

But! I’m happy that I failed because my body was working against me, and not because I didn’t have the drive to finish through. And 43k of writing is still a good start for a short novel. So, I decided take a month break and start editing my two (count ’em, two) manuscripts one after another. 2012 will be a good year. :)

On a quest to justify my feelings regarding my failure, I surfed NaNoWriMo’s website and various blogs looking for similar sentiments. Here’s what I found:

“I didn’t feel like a failure or like I’d done something wrong. Because I did something more important in November: I gave myself permission to take care of myself, which is something I do not do very often.”- excerpt from “I failed NaNoWriMo and It Was Good For Me” on xojane.

“For all this, I was glad that I did manage to get some words down, even if it was thousands of words off the target. You think that for every person who either completed their novel or did a couple of thousand but then stopped there are loads more who signed up for Nanowrimo and didn’t write a single word. The fact you tried to have a go is an achievement in itself, even if you didn’t get to the end.”- excerpt from “So I Failed NaNoWriMo” on Lyns Blog On.

And last but not least, this guest post on “Men With Pens” (one of my favorite blogs):

“If you find yourself writing because you have to write or you will fail, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re writing because you have to finish NaNoWriMo, because you have to win, because quitting means you’re a loser – your attitude needs tweaking. If you’re writing because you love writing, because writing fuels you, because writing is what you want to do – well, you’re already a success in my book. If you’ll pardon the pun.” – excerpt from “Are You a NaNoWriMo Failure?” on

Reading these blogs always make me feel better and reassure myself that I am not in fact a failure because I write every day come heck or high waters. But how about you? Have you tried the NaNoWriMo craziness? Did you succeed?


I’m super excited.

Every year, on November 1st thousands of writers get together online and in person to embark on the quest of writing a novel in thirty days.

The challenge: To write 50,000 words (without cheating and writing ahead).

The prize: Satisfaction and bragging rights for a year.

I can’t begin to tell you how pumped I am for this.

At first, I thought about cheating and finishing my first draft on my first book. But after banging my head against the wall for the last few months, I think it’s time to take a break from those characters and have fun writing something else for a month.

I already have my idea for my 50k story. As I move through the challenge, I’ll be updating this blog with snippets from my journal on how things are going, along with excerpts here and there.

Wish me luck!