A New Way to Win #NaNoWriMo & Failing #ROW80

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo Stuff
In a ROW80 update post where I stated I intended to fail NaNoWriMo, Tammy J Rizzo told me, “You’re only a loser at NaNo if you don’t try to write every day.”  Which still left me failing, but that’s not why I bring this up.  This week, I found another way to win at NaNoWriMo and that’s to learn a lesson or two from it all.

That said.  I won NaNoWriMo.  Yes, I learned some big things this past week.

First off, in the normal times when I do big things, like write an outline or finish a manuscript or hit a big goal (half done on longer manuscripts) and such, I give myself writing time off.  Effort and amount time spent on the project dictates how much, but no more than a week.  During NaNoWriMo I finished HAMSTER, outlined RATS, and started writing RATS without a break.  That (mixed with life) killed my nerves.  Lesson 1: I need my reward time off.

Secondly, in the normal times, I have a couple of manuscripts going at the same time.  I’m focusing on just “one” for NaNoWriMo and I’m bored.  It makes tackling the hard scenes harder when I can’t loosen up else where.  And the fact that’s the only thing I can look at makes me want to look at it less.  I’m blaming my ADD for this one.  Lesson 2: I’m not a one project kind of gal.

Thirdly, in the normal times, I can usually (95% chance) stop myself from comparing myself to others.  As Kait Nolan put it (and it stuck with me), “eyes on your own paper.”  During all of NaNoWriMo, even knowing I wasn’t going to hit the 50k, I couldn’t help comparing myself and feeling bad for it.  Even though I beat last month’s word count in one week, all I could think about were just how many more words everyone else had.  Lesson 3: NaNoWriMo isn’t for me.

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I do want to say, I’m cutting a goal (yet again).  This time, it’s going away entirely.

ROW80Goal: Study 3 Breakfasts a Week
Reason: Because of yoga, I cut this goal down by two already.  Because of yoga, I’m making it go bye-bye.  See, on yoga days, I’m ready (dressed, groomed, and fed) to exercise/start my kid-free time at 7:40 am.  I get home by 9:00 and am ready to write/clean by 9:30.  But, on non-yoga days, because breakfast making doesn’t start until 7:40, I’m not ready to write/clean until 10:30, sometimes even 11:00.  I’m moving my breakfast to the same time I have it every yoga day, yoga or not.  And since that’s a fifteen minute window (son’s shower time), there’s no time to study (especially on days I am cooking).

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To sum up my week: Being a mom is hard (four different kid problems). Had to factory reset my cell phone because it didn’t like an update and became unusable for most of a day.  Also had a bloody nose at 2am  the other day (yes, I was sleeping when it started).  BUT!!!  On Saturday, I had a no problem day!  If only I could bottle that up and spray it at problem filled days.  I was very happy to have such a day.

Lastly, I got it in my head that someone somewhere out there might like some nice looking, but cheap premade ebook covers.  I’d say these lend themselves to historical novels, especially romance.  (My favorite things to read, but I don’t write…)  There’s an ad to the right for anyone interested.

What’s the last big writing lesson you learned?
Does knowing other people’s word counts spur you on or put you in the dumps?

Categories: ROW80 | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

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17 thoughts on “A New Way to Win #NaNoWriMo & Failing #ROW80

  1. No worries, the point is you didn’t give up and that’s what really counts. When I signed onto NaNoWriMo I knew I wouldn’t make 50K, so my personal goal is 30K. If I make that, once all the craziness of Thanksgiving occurs- I will consider myself a winner of NaNoWriMo. Row80 is another story, I generally fail at that. I have tunnel vision and can only do one thing at a time. Which is why I may do well for one goal and total bomb the others. But hey, if I actually make progress in my mad, mad world, then I’m happy. Generally, I do well with not comparing myself to others, sometimes I do look at the other word counts and wonder what I’m doing wrong. But then I eat chocolate and I’m good. Take a break and enjoy the ride.

    • Lately I’ve been declining in my ROW80 success (as in failing lots). It has been bugging me a little. But, I always figured any forward momentum was success.

      I took a break at the end of last week (Wednesday – Friday) and it got me level headed. I’m still not ripping and roaring. I’m abandoning my NaNo goal of 4 chapter books and I’m finishing this one and then figuring out where I go from there.

      Unfortunately, I just started a “new lifestyle” (as I’m seriously, unhealthily over weight) and no chocolate to make things better for me.

  2. kathils

    I’m with you on not being a one-project type of gal. When I get stuck on one, I need another to bounce to otherwise I get mired. Then I get cranky. That’s never a good thing.

    We have to do what’s right for us. Or, if maybe it should be what’s ‘write’ for us. 😉 I’ve never done NaNo because it’s just not possible for me. For many it is and kudos to them. We have to find where we rock and then embrace it. Sounds like you’re well on your way to that.

    • I haven’t gotten cranky yet. One project has turned me into Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh). It hasn’t been pretty. But, learning about myself and my writing is a great thing. If only it could have been under happier circumstances.

      Thanks for noticing me. 😉

  3. Not comparing yourself to other writers is a good point–no one has the same challenges and life stuff as you. I’ve won NaNo three times, but this year, I just want to “fail successfully.” I read that on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog – by that, he means even when we don’t reach a goal, we’ve still succeeded if we did more than we have before, or more than we otherwise would have without the goal, or even if we just learned something. So even if you don’t hit the goal (and there’s still time), sounds like you’ll already have failed successfully. Congrats, and keep up the good work!

    • I planned to “fail successfully” from the beginning and I’ll be failing at fulfilling that. I’m grasping at straws this post, but that’s so I can keep my sanity. Doing that? Much bigger win. 😉

  4. The pre-made covers look great. I don’t write historical fiction either, but for those who do, I’m sure they’ll jump at the chance. If you want to go a step further, and guest post on my site (Writing Room 101), I’m happy to help get the word out.

    As for a spray to combat those bad days, you wouldn’t be able to bottle that stuff fast enough – we’d all want to get on board!

    • You are just the best. I’d love to do a guest post. I’ll email you about it the instant I get an idea wrapped up in my head. 🙂

      The closest I found to a bad day away spray is yoga/not thinking. Even if I manage it just for three minutes it is like my body relaxes in places I didn’t know were tense.

      • That’s a good point – people tell me how therapeutic meditation can be. So far I’ve failed at it, but one of these days I might give it another go!

        I’ll look forward to receiving the email 🙂

  5. I think NaNoWriMo should just be about writing as much as possible. The 50k mark, or the writing everyday should not be a measure of success or failing. I used to do NaNo every year, now that I have a little girl, I’ll be happy if I’m able to get half that word count in 1 month, so I totally hear where you’re coming from.

    And I know what you mean about getting bored with one project. I’ve found with my writing, the sections that I got bored while writing are usually the ones that I cut later, so I just try to get through them as fast as possible so they don’t bog down my MS. 😉

    • I think, as much as I think NaNoWriMo will be fun or that I can make some crazy plan, I will never ever be able to do it. It is against my wiring.

      What’s boring for me is what’s “hard.” It’s the stuff that doesn’t flow from the fingers and takes extra writer work to get just right. Fight scenes. Turning informative text into interesting things. A kiss scene. I write those like molasses, because they are hard for me and thus I’m bored because I’m not getting carried away with the story. Though, the time usually pays off for me and those parts rock.

  6. Lessons learned are lessons learned, whether good or bad. Sometimes the self discovery is as important as the writing which your are doing. Cheers to your self-discovery. Sorry that you had a rough week though. I have been there myself. I want to give you a hug! ~HUG~ Do what you do, and do it well. You tried NaNo and that the important part.

    I, myself, have fallen behind in my NaNo, still plugging along, because it’s what I do.

    Hope this week is better!

    • So far this week is shaping up well. Thank you for the hug!

      I don’t know what I do… Wait, I try something new. That’s probably why I tried the cover shop. 🙂

      Hope your NaNoing goes well.

  7. I had a tough writing week, too. It felt like work, and I didn’t even write Friday or Sunday. It did help a little that I’m working on two projects, so I could switch. I like the “fail unsuccessfully idea”–I wrote about several ideas I might not have, more than I would have otherwise. It’s good practice to look at the successes that came out of each week, I suppose…Good luck with your projects!

    • Thank you.

      Writing doesn’t always come easy, but when it comes sooooo hard it definitely takes a toll. If only there was something for that other than cheesecake. 😉

  8. I would certainly buy a hundred bottles of that stuff:) Forget the world fail – put with creativity it makes no sense – it is a word for something more tangible than imagination and creation – enjoy your week:)

    • But, when we put real world things, like goals, it is so easy to mix the two. Maybe it is expectations on creativity that shouldn’t exist first. But then again, I could be sleepy and rambling. 😉

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