Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Evergreen, NaNo What Now?, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) | 0 comments

The following is an excerpt from

NaNo What Now squareNaNo What Now? Finding your editing process, revising your NaNoWriMo book and building a writing career through publishing and beyond

Available now in paperback and eBook.


To the writer that finished neither their NaNoWriMo project nor reached the 50,000 words,

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo since 2002, and from 2002 until 2007, I lost every single year. Two of those years, I wrote less than 5,000 words. For one, I signed up and then wrote exactly zero words, and I don’t even have a good excuse for why.

I mention this because I know how easy it is to beat yourself up when you fall short of a goal you set. I think this feeling is just as bad if you came in at 49,999 or if you meant to participate but never ended up writing a single word. But you need to understand that no matter what you were told in kindergarten, the opposite of a NaNoWriMo winner is absolutely not a loser.

I see you out there on social media tossing around hashtags like, #epicfail, and I want to make sure you understand up front that not winning NaNoWriMo is NOT a fail at all, let alone an epic one. You know what’s an epic fail? Not even signing up. Having dreams and just sitting on them without doing anything at all to make them reality. You didn’t do that.

The first step to anything is making the commitment to what you want to accomplish, and just by signing up, you crossed that hurdle. You took that very important leap to realizing your goals, and you cannot underestimate the importance of that. That’s absolutely an epic win.

You also learned something very important about yourself during the month-long challenge. You know when you worked your hardest and when you slacked. You know what kinds of curve balls life can throw you that strike you out and which ones you can reach and hit out of the park anyway. You learned just how hard it really is to write a whole book and what kind of commitment that will require of you if you want to do it again in the future. Those are all very important lessons you need to teach yourself if you want to achieve your goals.

Look at the words you did write. Even if it was less than you planned, each one still represents an accomplishment, a step towards achieving a very difficult goal, and it’s something to be proud of. Everyone says they want to write a book someday, but very few ever even start one. You’ve started, and that’s much further than many people ever get.

So be proud of yourself. And then get determined because your writing journey doesn’t end here. It’s only the beginning. And now it’s time to get serious about making it happen. That writing you didn’t get to do during NaNoWriMo? It’s time to do it on your own time and do whatever it takes to finish that book.

You’ve already taken the first step; now keep those feet moving until you reach your destination.