Reflections on NaNoWriMo

Well, I could say I failed dismally at NaNoWriMo this year, but that’s not entirely true. I was very sick through the majority of NaNo and then this year had some family obligations I don’t usually have during November. So yes, I can make some excuses as to why I didn’t finish, but when it comes down to it, I stopped working on the novel and that’s what caused me not to ‘win’ the challenge this year. It’s my first time in four years to not win.

I want to congratulate all of you who did finish… especially those of you who finished for the very first time. What an accomplishment that is for you! I wonder now, how do you feel about writing?

There’s a reason I’m asking this…

I’ve talked to writers who freelance or write nonfiction, and always thought they might try their hand at fiction and I’ve also talked to people who just dabble with writing but always thought they might have a novel lurking inside them. Sometimes, I’ve talked to these people after NaNoWrimo and they were so excited to finally finish that novel, even if they never did anything with it.

But then some folks have actually come back to me and said that while they enjoyed the attempt, they realize now that they are not a novelist.

Doesn’t mean they aren’t a writer… but not everyone can write newsprint, not everyone can write tabloid, not everyone can write fact-based informational, and not everyone can write fiction. And even further, some who write fiction, can’t write novels. I know some awesome short story writers who will never write a novel worth reading, and I know some novelists who can’t write shorts to save their lives.

I think that’s what’s important for a writer… to find where your passion is, what you’re niche is, what you’re not only good at but what you truly enjoy writing and then do that.

And for some people, that’s not a novel.

So did any of you NaNo-ers come out of this realizing novel writing isn’t your cup of tea? If so, how do you feel about that now?

What about you guys who took on the challenge and rocked it? You feel like writing novels is something you will make a career out of? Will you do it again?

I want to hear back from you guys! Let me know how it went!

We managed to raise $125 dollars to donate to NaNoWriMo this year… it was short of the goal, but after I got sick, I quit pushing for donations and marketing the NaNo fun (pout). Still, it’s more than we donated last year and next year we’ll pass that again too!

For me, I did manage to get a really good outline of my next novel written down, a few character sketches and about 10 solid chapters… I will keep going on this one too, so it wasn’t a total waste. NaNo was still a great jump start for me on this novel.

Anyway, to those who didn’t ‘win’ this year, don’t give up. I didn’t win my first year or this year, but I’m still a professional writer for a living, so NaNoWriMo isn’t the tell-all for a writer, promise.

For those of you who did win this year, congratulations! Let me know how you felt about it – if you’ve written a blog post about it, link to it here so we can all come read it!

Keep writing!

Love and stuff,