A Successfully Failed Mission

As I write this, it’s the last day of November. It’s also the last day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’ve touched on this subject more than once this month. Basically authors are tasked to write 50,000 words during November. 

Well, I failed at that task. I was able to write about 60 percent with the novel I began November. Now, considering all the other words I wrote for work, rants, and all the other projects I worked on then I would have reached my goal. However, whenever I attempt this annual task I typically try to restrain myself in counting only words written for that targeted novel. Some of you might be saying, “But Jim, you failed. Don’t you feel just so miserable?” 

Nope, not a bit. 

The reason I don’t feel that bad is that I did what I set out to do. I started writing a novel. I knew it wasn’t going to be finished at 50,000 words. I typically have a goal of around 85,000 words for my books. That’s a completely different topic for a different rant. For me, the goal of NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing that 50,000 words. Sure, it would be nice to be sitting at that word count by the end of the month. What I’m aiming for is a significant amount of words that will eventually lead to my end goal of 85,000.

“Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe,” states Stephen King in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

As a side note, if you have a writer in your life that wants to read a very good book about writing then buy them King’s book. 

Anyway, what King writes is that in the end, it doesn’t even matter what your word count is or if you succeed or fail in your NaNoWriMo quest. The point King is trying to get across to people is this: shut up and write.

“The greatest teacher, failure is,” a little fictional green friend once said. Sure, Jedi Master Yoda was a fictional hermit on the planet of Dagobah. And sure, he spoke funny. But he was right. Over the last two years, I’ve suffered some devastating failures but I’ve always learned something from each and every one of them. And that’s why I don’t consider this failure as a complete loss because I learned something from it. 

That lesson is, you guessed it, another topic for another weekly rant.

Now that I’ve fulfilled my quota of Star Wars and Stephen King references for an article, I’m going to do what I suggested above. I’m going to shut up and write.

What will you do?

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