Look guys, NaNo is huge.
It’s a massive undertaking that thousands of writers tackle every year. Many find success – hell, I’ve heard legends about people completing double-NaNo in November (I know, I struggle to comprehend it too!), but more importantly, there’s also hundreds (thousands?) of us who don’t reach the 50,000 word goal.

And that’s alright.


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I’ve attempted NaNo about 4 times across the last 6 or so years. Boooy has it been disastrous, for one very important reason: exams. I don’t know about the American school systems or what not, but November is the month of high school and university exams (and in my unfortunate case, my birthday).

Only ONCE have I actually managed to NEAR the word count at the end of the month, and that was the magical year I only had one uni exam and it fell at the very beginning of November.
I’m new to it, but I’m now also a participant of Camp Nano! … Of course, this also falls during A-semester Uni exams -.-
But that never stops me from being enthusiastic, and November still ends up being (on average) my most productive month of the year.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the most important part.
Reaching the goal is hella rewarding, I know, but it’s not the end-all-be-all (am I using that right?).


Currently, as of the 21st of November, I have yet to hit my first thousand words. Admittedly, I don’t normally fall this spectacularly behind, but life threw a couple of curveballs at me recently, on top of uni, on top of my birthday earlier in the month.
But it’s fine.
Sure, I’m a little disappointed, but hell, at least I tried. It’s still 600 words I probably wouldn’t have forced myself to sit down and write otherwise. I have still made progress, and that’s the whole point: keep moving forward.

Whether you fall 5,000, 20,000 or even 40,000 words short of 50,000 you should still be hella proud of yourself, because damn there’re millions of people who didn’t bother trying, didn’t have the courage.


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Progress is progress, no matter how small. Don’t give up, don’t quit; just keep mosying on at your own pace.

You don’t have to reach the same goal as everyone else to succeed.
So what if there’s only a week left and you’re 30,000 words off 50,000? That’s fine. It still means you’re 20,000 words closer than you were before.

Take a breath, and reassess. Aim to make it to 30,000 instead. You’re allowed to set your own goals (Camp NaNo style!) and you’re allowed to change them.


The only way to really fail NaNo is to never begin at all.

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Win or fail, you still get the badge!
(Let’s be honest though, my main motivation to participate is to buy the merch without feeling like a fake!).


That being said, you can always aim for greatness next time around.  Holland Rae offers some good advice on winning NaNo, check out her post So You Want to do NaNo


3 thoughts on “When You’re Failing at NaNoWriMo

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