On failing NaNoWriMo (or a different kind of pep talk)

It’s early days yet in November, and my social media feeds are peppered with enthusiastic updates of word counts and NaNoWriMo goals.

As a writer who is motivated by a little healthy competition and deadlines, I love NaNoWriMo–it’s exhilarating to watch your word count climb each day, eventually meeting (possibly outpacing) the charted graph on the official NaNoWriMo website.

But this year I haven’t said much about NaNoWriMo or my particular goals. That’s because this year, on day three of NaNo, I have a whopping 350 words.

There’s still a small part of me that holds out the (probably naive) hope that I’ll eventually catch up to my hoped-for word count. More realistically, though, I’ll spend the month chasing and not quite catching those 50k words.

But I’m not discouraged about this–and if you’re watching other people’s word counts climb while yours stay static, or don’t climb as high as you’d like, you shouldn’t be either.

In the past couple weeks, I’ve struggled to find any time to write. Those 350 words felt like a small miracle for me–and even if I end the month logging only a few thousand words, that’s more words than I’ve managed in October.


I’m not, by any means, encouraging you to give up already. Far from it. The month is early still and there’s lots of time to cross that NaNo finish line triumphant.

But writing is hard on good days. Harder still if we constantly compare our own style and pace to other writers. If we do NaNo, it should be for the fun of it–for connecting with other writers, for writing more than we would have without it. We don’t need one more thing to flagellate ourselves with or make ourselves feel bad about our writing.

So whether you write 50 words or 50k, push yourself to write a little more than you might have otherwise, and let yourself enjoy the process.

What do you hope to achieve from NaNoWriMo?



Rosalyn Eves is a part-time writer, part-time English professor, and full-time mother of three. She loves all things BBC, especially costume dramas and mysteries. When not wrangling children (and sometimes when she should be wrangling children), she’s often found reading. Her debut novel, BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, is forthcoming March 2017 from Knopf/Random House. She’s represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

One thought on “On failing NaNoWriMo (or a different kind of pep talk)

  1. I’ve only done NaNo informally…and that only once. My style is so different from the headlong rush that this month engenders. That said, I cheer all my NaNo-loving friends on! Go, NaNoites, Go!


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