Or… did I?
If my narrow definition of win is writing 50K in one month, no…
I did not win.
But you know me. I have no narrow definitions for anything. I’m the perennial optimist. It says so in at least one of my many stock bios, “perennially optimistic and pathologically disorganized” or some such. And I can take a win from ANYTHING, including a NaNo year in which I got barely 20K written in a single month (an all time low for me.)
And in a year where I totally lost my shit and was unable to come up with a blog post for a friend’s birthday party, (Goddamnit, apologies go out to the ever-awesome Amber Kell, the original OG “mother of dragons”) I will take the fact that I am writing THIS blog post as a total win!!!
So much happened this month, personally, professionally, in the genre, in the REAL WORLD, that I’m reeling a little. At one point, just opening my laptop was like diving naked into a vat of acid. I don’t know why I was unable to do my job to my satisfaction. I don’t know which straw broke my camel’s back, but creative jobs are a strange thing. Would I have been unable to make widgets on an assembly line? I was unable to string words together in any meaningful way. I did sit, I did stare, I did put words down on the screen, but this month, my delete button got a major workout. It’s possible I even went backward, as far as my word count goes, because I started out with a half-finished project, and I literally deleted more than I wrote.
Sometimes, life is like that.
And I am still counting it as a personal win, and by that I don’t mean “Everyone gets a trophy for trying.” I mean that creating isn’t magic, it isn’t easy, it doesn’t come from outside, and sometimes, I am unable to do it to my satisfaction.
I learned something, both about myself and the world around me. I managed it–not well, not wisely–but I feel like I can put the NaNo month behind me with a new steely determination to do better. I have already recovered from my failure, and it’s over, and because I can always find a new normal, I’ll work from that.
So, in my book, that’s a win. Not the win I wanted. But it’s a start.
So if you didn’t get your word count in, take a minute and discover what you did do. Did you put words on paper? Did you put your time in? Did you struggle? Did you hit delete more than usual?
Did you make choices that led you away from your work? Were they good choices, in that they were necessary because of family or life or health or something else? Did you stumble, pick yourself back up and keep going? Or will you, now that NaNoWriMo is in the rearview mirror?
Yeah. That’s a win too. And that cat picture above, (hangover cat, he’s called) is a creative commons graphic, and you can probably use that as your lose-winning badge. Because sometimes I don’t win NaNoWriMo and sometimes I do, but I’m always going to feel like I won something, even if it’s just hard-earned experience, until I am not trying anymore at all…
So, maybe that’s a cop-out, or maybe that’s just how a person who has a bad month gets back to work, but since I have some creating to do, I’ll let you decide.