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The Grace of Failure
because the road to success is paved with disappointment, frustration, and tenacity.
My big plans for November 1 were blown by 5 a.m.
November 1 marks the start of NaNoWriMo, and I decided to participate this year. When I went to bed on October 31, I couldn't wait to wake up and start writing.
But sometimes life has other plans.
On November 1, I awoke at 4:30 a.m. with nose and tear ducts running like faucets. And my daughter was uncharacteristically awake at 5 because why not (I swear, she felt the coming end of Daylight Saving Time.)? I had blasted through any energy I had by noon when I closed my laptop out of necessity and tried (and failed) to take a nap.
On the first day of NaNoWriMo, I wrote exactly zero words. But I also have exactly zero regrets or guilt. Instead of pushing myself to just get it done, I listened to my body's needs and took it easy.
Difficult as it was to let my day-one NaNo goal go, I made the right choice.
Listening to my body and taking that all-important self-care day to convalesce may have saved me from making a disaster out of my own novel.
As hard as it is to acknowledge it, I know that if I had pushed through the snot just to get the daily word count, I would have left myself mired in a crappy writing swamp come day two, and I’d have likely started over.
It’s now NaNoWriMo day 6, and I have only about 1,700 words written. Are they great? Heck no. They’re shitty first draft material — as they’re supposed to be.
But are they headed straight to the scrap pile? Heck no, either. I can work with this shitty first draft material, hammer it, shape it, turn it into something useful later.
This, to me, is what NaNo is all about. While I realize I’m now days behind in the overall word-count calculation, I’m not worried. I have no stress. While there is a bit of a tingling in my hands to get to the writing, I know I will meet my goals for the rest of November.
And if I need to tack on a few days in December, well, I’ll add those easily and without guilt. NaNoWriMo may be November, but great stories get written every day.
Setting goals is a great way to build self-motivation, but if achieving them means running yourself ragged, cut yourself some slack; give yourself the grace you deserve.
If you’re a fellow NaNo week-one goal blower, I see you. I know the word count goals creep ever upward and missing even one day can make the next day’s goal seem insurmountable, but it isn’t. We just have to take it one day at a time.
Now it's time to get it done.
Are you writing during NaNoWriMo?
I’d love to hear a bit about your story, how far you’ve gotten, and send you positive vibes through the universe. Comment below and let me know what you’re working on.
Happy writing and editing!