Dear NaNoWriMo Loser:

“. . . You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

– Jody Picoult

So. NaNoWriMo.

It isn’t an easy month. You know that, I know that – but it doesn’t really sink in till we’re smack-dab in the middle of it.

Then it’s shoved right in your face. Everyone’s hosting or attending live word sprints. NaNo pep talks and promos stuff your inbox. Your Instagram feed is flooded with writers who write five million words on the first day and caption it, “eh, not too bad.”

“How do they do it?” you ask. “How in the world do these people manage to put so much on the page? Don’t they have jobs or homework to do?”

I chatted with a girl once who wrote 100,000+ words in 3 weeks. I have a lot of respect for those writers.

But seeing their excessive word-counts flood in can make a slower writer feel ashamed. I say it because I’m that slow writer. I understand.

I’m here to tell you: there’s no reason to feel ashamed if you didn’t meet the quota. Or even if you had to quit partway through, like I did.

You tried your best. That’s the most anyone can ask of you.

Don’t focus on how far behind you fell. Instead, make an effort to focus on what you did accomplish during November!

  • Wrote every day? AMAZING.
  • Edited a chapter or two? FANTASTIC.
  • Outlined a killer plot? FABULOUS.
  • Developed a ton of characters? EXCELLENT.
  • Inspired another writer? TERRIFIC.

“A few words” is still a step forward. Don’t forget that.

Honestly, writing is not easy.

Writing is deep work, and it’s hard. Experienced writers struggle. I struggle. That perfect #amwriting Instagram account struggles. It’s not just you. You aren’t alone.

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.”

– Joseph Heller

Now what?

Here’s your action step for the day:

Ask yourself, what went wrong this NaNo season?

Did you have a lack of community? Not enough planned for your story to get invested? Burnout? The comparison game got you down? You couldn’t fit it into your schedule? Mental health got in the way? You simply couldn’t write fast enough?

Think hard about your answer. Then, figure out how you can improve and try again next year.

What did you accomplish last NaNoWriMo? Tell me all your little victories in the comments below!

As always – happy writing!


One response to “Dear NaNoWriMo Loser:”

  1. Thanks for this! I definitely needed some encouragement after losing nanowrimo yet again. But you’re right! This was the first time I didn’t give up partway through the month, AND I launched my blog this month. So I guess I won’t feel too bad!