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nanowrimo reflections

December 14th, 2009 (10:57 am)

As Elbert Hubbard said, "There is no failure except in no longer trying."

So I officially failed NaNoWriMo this year. I knew this about halfway through.
I got sick on the 3rd or 4th day in and instead of trying to double-duty writing and working with getting well, I just took a break and rested for a few days. That killed my momentum. I also realized about a week in that I should have done much more planning. The idea that my muse would just turn on and the characters would "write themselves" was, in retrospect, idealistic. I started with a bunch of ideas. Situations and elements that I wanted to include in my story. Unfortunately, elements do not have wills of their own - they need characters to animate them. Had I started with fully-formed characters, they may have been more willing to write their own story. I did have a couple of good sketches at the beginning, but it wasn't enough.

I did some fantastically productive procrastinating, though: working on dormant projects, trying my hand at the guitar again. Towards the end of the month, I realized that even if I wasn't going to work on a *novel*, I should still try and write *something* every day. At this point, I wished that had been my goal all along. I have plenty of half-formed blog posts and partially-birthed essays lying around on my computer, and if I had made it a goal to publish one of those every day I could have had a very productive month. Unfortunately, I was too stuck on the "No" part of NaNoWriMo when I should have been thinking of it as NaWriMo.

Ah well, water under the bridge. I've learned the lessons this year for how to make next year successful. Here's to more creative output in 2010!