The Lessons Learned of Failure (Or Is It?)


I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

Bad news first, though, because that’s the stuff I want to get past. And because, frankly, there’s a lot less of it, and so I can spend less time talking about it up front.

The bad is this: I did not make all of the posts I hoped to do. I shall be continuing on one-a-week updates for the foreseeable future, because that seems to be what makes sense. I did not make my wordcount goals for the month. In fact, I failed quite miserably, this year, and Camp NaNoWriMo. It super duper did not happen.

…and there you go. That’s the bad news I’m going to give you. That’s it. Because now, I want to talk about the good news.

It isn’t anything so pronounced that giving it a single sentence explains all. I cannot say, for instance, “I won Camp Nano!” That would be clear, concise, effective, and certainly a victory. But as it is, my victory this time around is much more subtle and less pronounced.

My victory, simply, is that I tried and learned.

Again: not very exciting to read that. Let’s try this, instead…

I took on a lot more than I intended to. This month has seen a lot of big changes for me. I wrapped up my time at my previous job, and with the first of May will also be starting a new one. I have been preparing lesson plans, making goodbyes, and taking time to meet with friends, connect with people, sit back and make myself enjoy the turning seasons.

I also took my own advice. When not-writing, you do other things. So I did other things. I lived my life, I took walks, I let myself feel. I hit upon some incredible realizations regarding a number of characters. I developed my world and ideas a little bit more. I started, out of a sea of muck, to sculpt the culture, traditions, and shape of my written world. I have written more scenery description in the last 30 days (even without having written for a good number of those days!) than I have in years combined. I challenged myself. I considered starting over. I thought ahead, and thought back.

Basically–a lot happened. Not a lot got written, necessarily, but a lot happened.

That is important for me to say. I have had some very kind souls come up to me, and say they admire my dedication and perseverance in writing, that they notice that I do write, and keep writing. And that’s… pretty incredible, to me.

I think most writers get stuck inside their own heads. It’s easy for us to see what we’re not doing, and what we haven’t done enough of. I know I do this, anyway. I have heard the credo of “write every day,” and I have felt every second that I actively chose to let my brain rest, rather than open up the latest Word document. It’s hard. I don’t feel very much like a writer this month.

Maybe it’s too far to say that’s okay, but I also know it will come back. I go back to writing, and I always have. It’s okay if this month was a failure–because, in reality, it wasn’t. Life, rest, and time are important. Getting away long enough to come back refreshed is important. The thought you put into your books is important–and the words you put down, even if they weren’t as many as you dreamed, are important.

And you know what else? This NaNoWriMo, I have watched many friends write, and write, and write. Whether or not they were officially participating, I saw friends make their brains work, and put down one word after another. Beautiful words, at that. Words that made me feel things, that made me smile or flinch or laugh.

This month was not a failure. I have watched words get written, by my own hand and by others. I’ve seen the richness of creativity and glimpsed its bright rewards.

I am 15k into the second draft of my book, surrounded by amazing ideas and supportive people, and I am inspired by them.

Thank you, friends–for writing with me, and reading with me. I believe in words. It’s why I write them down–and seeing a few of mine, and a few of yours along the way, has been the greatest victory and the sweetest reward I could have seen, this month.

Take good care, my lovelies–until next week. Onward into May!



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