First of all: congratulations. Yes, I’m congratulating you because you accepted the challenge of writing 50 000 words in one month. That’s a massive commitment and it shows your dedication to being a writer. This could be your first step on your journey to becoming a professional writer. Here’s why.
You learned a lot about what it means to be a writer
Being a professional writer is though. Sometimes the words flow by themselves and other days you wrack your brain for hours only to get one sentence on the page. That’s normal. Other people have good days and bad days at work, too. The important lesson here is that no matter how difficult one day may have been, the next day you return to your imaginary office and continue writing.
Another issue every professional writer can tell you about is that often reality gets in the way. Look at my Nanowrimo graph above. Do you see the fluctuations? I’m a professional writer with two published novels and a short story collection but I didn’t manage to write the exact 1667 words per day either because real life gets in the way. The days were I wrote more were usually those were I had long train journeys or waiting time somewhere. But there were also many days where I fell behind or used up my head start because I had to focus on my job, for example.
Maybe you had a particularly busy month at work or school. Perhaps the friend you hadn’t seen in a year was in town. This is the tricky part for professional authors, too. You can set office hours to do your writing in but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to prioritize. Making sure you spend time with the friend you haven’t seen in a long time or focusing on the job that pays the bills, doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. As long as you keep writing, you will finish that book eventually, even if it takes a bit longer.
Writing and creativity are like a muscle
No matter how much you managed to write, it is likely you feel like you just ran a marathon. So do what any athlete would do after such a huge achievement. Take a break, rest and most importantly replenish your energy. For you, this may be reading a good book or going for a long walk, whatever helps fuel your inspiration.
Then get back to writing. Set yourself reachable goals. Take small steps. Write 100 words or whatever you are comfortable with every day. It doesn’t matter how much you write or how good you think it is. It’s about training your writing muscle and making writing a habit. The longer you train, the stronger your writing muscle becomes and the more you can write. It will also become easier to get into the right mind-set for writing.
Different writers have different writing styles
There are many successful bestseller authors who wouldn’t attempt or failed to do Nanowrimo for the simple reason that everyone writes differently. Some people rush through the first draft because the majority of the work happens during revisions and editing. Other writers like to plot precisely and edit as they go, which is an equally valid way of working. It’s simply different and therefore, writing 50 000 words in one month might simply not be your style.
Losing Nanowrimo is not a big deal. You may feel disappointed for a while but also feel proud of what you did manage. Many people try things and fail at the first attempt or the second. It’s a learning process and I bet you learnt so much this November.
It may be hard to keep a writing schedule without the support of the Nanowrimo community but there are so many people who try to write a book during the rest of the year, too. Find someone and buddy off with them, motivate each other. If you take anything away from this blog post then let it be that you are most definitely not a loser but a winner. So keep writing.