Thursday, December 1, 2016

I DID NOT Win NaNoWriMo (and other writing failures)



A Post By Jonathan 

Do you enjoy reveling in other people's failures? Does it make you feel better knowing that you're not the only one who can't deliver on a promised project or deadline? Well then, this post's for you! Grab some popcorn, take a seat and read away.

I would like to preface this by saying that things have been crazy nuts in my house lately. My wife, who makes a ton more money than I do, has been dealing with all sorts of nuttiness at work, including a new boss, mutinous employees, and a disgruntled-job-applicant-turned-stalker who got turned down for a job she was hiring for. Just before the shiest schlug den fan, as they say in Germany, she turned down a pretty good job in another state, which she has since begged to have back, which has resulted in even more instability in our lives and a preemptive For Sale sign in our front yard. Suffice it to say, its has basically fallen to me to hold the family together, which means lots of time spent with the toddler and even more time with a drink in my hand (sometimes two!) talking my wife off the ledge. And I've also been applying to tons of new jobs in said other state and even a PhD program as a backup.

#firstworldproblems, I know. But being the sympathetic creative that I am -and someone who relies on routine above all else to get things done- my writing has totally tanked. I signed up for NaNoWriMo, but I think I ended up with a whole 250 words written on my Alpha Smart before I stalled out. Falling 49,750 words short, I most decidedly did not win NaNoWriMo. I also failed to meet another writing commitment in the month of November, a short story I was supposed to write for that contest I won a couple months ago. I ended up just recycling an old story I wrote for the same contest, about eight years ago, and I've been basically hiding out afraid to check the site because I'm pretty sure someone will call me out on it. In fairness, since I wrote the parameters for the contest, I kind of left the door open for such a scenario, seeing as my previous story met the requirements and I never said you couldn't recycle old ones... But I had always planned to write a new story and keep some momentum going.

I guess sometimes life gets in the way. And you know what? That's okay. Nothing bad happened to me or is going to happen to me. Sure, some people may think a little less of me, but whatever. You know how many people there are in the world? A lot. I have my health, I have my family and I'll be back to fight again another day. It just sucks that I didn't meet the goals I set out for myself. But you know what else? I hit other goals. Goals I didn't even know I was going to have when I set the others. I wrote three or four cover letters for jobs I didn't really want to apply to and I wrote a five page statement of purpose and research proposal for a PhD application I may not even have an opportunity to pursue. I did write. Just not the stuff I love to write.

Sometimes things come up and you have to switch priorities midstream. What you don't want to do is put that negative crap in your backpack and carry it around with you for the rest of  your life. Forgive yourself, move on and just try harder the next time. Because someday things will slowdown and you'll retire and you'll have more time to write or do whatever you want with your life and things will be great. Until then, Keep Calm and Carry On, as they say in the UK.

Whewww... I feel better. Thanks for reading, and I hope you feel better too!

8 comments:

  1. I've never won NaNo and I've participated enough times that I should've. Especially since 1667 words a day isn't really that hard for me. But I've still never won. What matters is the end result not how you got there.

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    1. Thanks, Kimberly. I think you probably won NaNo, but just didn't know it! 1667 is pretty rockin'...!

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  2. Hey, at least you attempted! I've never even gotten that far :) And it sounds like you were able to focus on a lot of really important things. Life happens, right?

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  3. You're right, Carrie. Appreciate the affirmation and the kind words!

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  4. I didn't meet my NaNo goals either! *solidarity fist bump* Hey, sometimes you just need to focus on other things.

    Also, thought you might like this little Ursula K Le Guin quote about not writing I found on the webz:

    “Don’t try to go against the flow, to work when work seems futile. Let it be. Let the block stay uncarved, or the word be unwritten — until it wants to take shape, to speak. What nobody in America teaches any more is how not to act, not to keep busy, how to wait … My guess is, you need to be still while your strength is gathering; and when it has gathered, you will know the direction you need to go — and you’ll go on there.”

    :-)

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    1. Wow, thanks Mary! *returns solidarity fist bump and blows it up but then realizes she doesn't blow it up so tries to hide the fact that he blew it up...* Seriously, though. Really appreciate the quote and the support. It definitely hit home!

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  5. I love Mary's quote! Also, solidarity fist bump from me, too. I was going to have a first draft of my next book by Thanksgiving. Then by Christmas. Now by...I'm not sure when. My writing took a big hit in November, too, but I'm back to eking out words on a page and some words are better than none, right?

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  6. Reminds me of Murphy's Law "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong," or something like that. You are living my life but with a different set of circumstances. It's a good reminder that everyone is fighting a battle, maybe on different fronts, but we all need a break once in a while. I appreciate your honesty. I feel like I'm not so alone. And hopefully "this too shall pass."

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