The past few days, I’ve had a few people approach me about NaNoWriMo. They keep asking, “Why bother finishing if I’m not going to win?”
Here’s my simple answer to them (and to anyone else contemplating the same thing):
NaNoWriMo isn’t about winning. It’s about writing!
…Okay, I can see all of you competitive souls out there rolling your eyes and muttering under your breaths. I know, I get it. I’m competitive too and I despise it when I fail.
But, let me clarify something:
NaNo is a writing challenge. It’s not a writing competition. There are no judges or tangible prizes (besides those offered via third parties). And there’s definitely no waiting on pins and needles after November 30th to see if your slap dash, half-finished manuscript beats hundreds of thousands of other slap dash, half-finished manuscripts. If you want that, then you’ll need to sign up for an actual writing competition.
…Okay, okay. Now I can hear all of you Mr./Ms. I Always Win‘s saying, “It’s not about winning a prize. It’s about winning.”
Yep, I totally get it. But…let’s face it. We can’t succeed at everything we try. Failure is part of life, and failing to write 50K words in one month isn’t the end of the world. Not at all! It’s really just the beginning.
Okay, everyone, here’s the truth about NaNoWriMo:
If you sit down and start writing on November first, then you’ve won. If you keep writing beyond November 30th, then you’re a star. If you finish your manuscript, then you’re a champion.
The whole point of NaNo is to write. Period.
So, whether you’re currently at 1K words, 50K words, or 100K words, go ahead and declare yourself a winner (yes, even you, Mr./Ms. I Always Win). And give yourself a trophy if you keep writing on December 1st. And give yourself a crown if you don’t stop until you finish your novel (extra kudos if you rewrite, revise, and edit).
I hope you take my words to heart and persevere no matter where you are on the word count scale. And I really hope you don’t shove your manuscript into a drawer on December 1st and say, “Cool, I’m done.”
You’re not done.
Congrats to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo 2015. You’re all winners in my book!