NaNoWriMo and why I fell short.

Well, NaNoWriMo has come and gone and I failed. All told I ended up about ten thousand words shy of the total.

My heartiest and sincerest congratulations to everyone who signed up and managed to hit the total. You guys rock. However you managed to do it, you did manage it and my hat is off to you.

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, an annual event which seeks to encourage writers, both amateur and professional, to commit the month of November to ... look, the name is National Novel Writing Month. Do I really need to explain further?

Anyway, the target is fifty thousand words words or roughly sixteen hundred and sixty-seven words a day. A not-impossible target. So why did I fall short?

Well, I could talk about how I was sick for a large slice of the month, and that would be true. I could talk about setting aside last Friday as the day when I was going to catch up, only to find myself hit by the worst migraine I've had in nearly a decade, and that, too, would be true. I could mention the Bengals unexpectedly being quite good this year and how I had to--no choice, you understand--watch them every Sunday. I could add Thanksgiving into the mix and lament about how, between the cooking and the going to relatives houses, I had to take valuable hours away from the keyboard. I could mention that I do my best writing at work during my split shifts, and how, for reasons unknown, I didn't get split shifts for at least a week. I could mention the sick wife that I nursed. I could talk about all of these things and more.

But let's face it, those are just excuses.

They're not reasons.

The reason I fell short was because I just didn't write enough words. And that's didn't, not couldn't. I can write seventeen hundreds words a day. I can do that easily. On three separate occasions during November I sat down and wrote five thousand words, often in four hours or less. On Monday, the last day of the month, I spent a total of four and a half hours bashing out over seven thousand words.

I can do it. I had the time. It was not a failure of time, or ability, it was a failure of motivation.

I messed around on facebook when I should have been writing. I tormented the cat when I should have been writing. I watched a half-dozen movies, three seasons of Blackadder, three episodes of Stargate Universe, the same number of Sanctuary, and went through most of the Military Channel and the Science Channel on Insight's Free Spot. I watched Stargate: Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum. I watched American football. I watched a spot of real football. And I could have written whilst I was doing all that. I have my AlphaSmart. It's portable and cord free.

I read, too. Boy did I read. I went on a Terry Pratchett binge, reading most of my collection. I read Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. I proof-read Pagan again before authorising it for sale on Kindle. All told, during November, I read close to twenty novels. Twenty! When I could have been writing!

There was also the whole issue of getting started. I didn't set finger to keyboard until the fourth of the month. The fourth! I was already over five thousand words behind by the time I got started.

Maybe if I had got started early and worked a little every day, I could have...

Excuse me, I just have to go and have a flashback to every rushed homework assignment from my school days.

So, lessons learned?

Let's find out, and I don't have to wait 'till next year. December is my private NoWriMo. I'm going to write fifty thousand words in the month of December, if only to prove to myself that I can do it.

Just as soon as I've finished watching this really cool special on the History Channel. And I still have four episodes of V on the DVR. And the cat's looking bored. And I never did get around to reading Sourcery. And I have food to serve on Cafe World.

Oh, this month's not looking good, either.

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