Today and tomorrow, the web is flooded with winners and 50k and delirious celebrations. And it is easy to feel like the rest of us mere mortals who couldn’t manage 50,000 words in a month of literary abandon are…ahem…losers.
But here is the great thing about writing. Getting a draft done first doesn’t equal a win. It is a great accomplishment, I’m not disputing that, but if you, like me, didn’t win at NaNo this year, there is no reason to be frustrated. Our job is to simply keep working on our craft, take more steps forward than we are taking back, and keep our ship steady as she goes.
Did you write more last month than you did the month before? Did you make progress on that beast of a revision and discover elements that you could improve? Did you learn about arcs and motivations and conflict and know more than you did 30 days ago?
Yes to any of these (and probably many other) questions means you win.
I used to get really annoyed with the story of The Tortoise and the Hare, because I’m hyper competitive and fastest is bestest the end. But as I get older, I realize the idea wasn’t that the Hare was better. It was that he was trying to find the quick and easy way and was lacking in knowledge of reality that was the Hare’s downfall, whereas the Tortoise knew that if he kept working his hardest, just kept plugging away, he maybe wouldn’t win, but he would have given it his best effort.
This is our job, as writers and livers of life. We need to just keep chipping away at the tasks before us, making conscious efforts to try and be better than we were before, putting our best effort into what we do. That is the determiner of a winner.
Did you win NaNoWriMo 2012? Did you get some progress on your work?