This year has been a strange one for timing. Normally, I start a new project in November and use NaNoWriMo to get a first draft or most of a first draft done. This year, I was 2/3ds of the way through a draft and used NaNo to finish it. That meant I finished the draft about halfway through the month. And then things got weird.
I wanted to keep writing, to keep up with the word count goals and to work on other projects. But I’m also accustomed to taking at least a week off between projects. I didn’t take that week this time around, in the hopes that I could at least get started on another project. I did pretty well, starting the first chapter of another book, going through and creating the first “episode” (or most of it) for a serial sci-fi/space opera piece that will come into play next year sometime for a special project. I gathered ideas for yet another couple of books and managed to get a bunch of book reviews written.
Sometime around the last week, week-and-a-half, though, things started to get wonky. I realised I hadn’t properly throught through the requirements for the book. I finished my backlog of book reviews. I also had to deal with the holidays, which throws a wrench into things at the best of times.
The result was this: I managed about 40K total written words for NaNo and I am perfectly pleased with that. I did not “win” at 50K, nor did I write a full book. I finished my WIP, which was a huge thing. I gathered ideas for other books. I have projects and plans for the new year. I’m thrilled to have gotten what I did done. So what if I didn’t “win”? It wasn’t a competition. I am a full-time professional writer. I don’t really need to worry about my daily word count. I find NaNo a fun challenge, but the “winning” is not the point.
And, to draw that experience into real life, “winning” is rarely the point for me. I am all about Kaizen, the art of continuous refinement. I can improve my writing. I can improve my other creations. I aim to do better and to grow. I don’t think of this as something to be “won.” It’s life. I’m not going to be kicked out because I didn’t “win” some arbitrary goal.
You don’t have to be perfect at everything. Actually, most people find perfect people to be very annoying. It’s okay to be wrong, to be a little slow at somet hings, to be learning and to be refining. That’s rather the whole point of life.
NaNo was fun. I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. And that’s what matters.