Losing NaNo This Year Does Not Make Me a Loser By Raina Schell

writingLet’s welcome back monthly columnist Raina Schell as she shares with us “Losing NaNo This Year Does Not Make Me a Loser.” Enjoy!


This is the first year in the three years that I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer’s Month) that I didn’t “win”. In case you don’t know, NaNo is where you write 50,000 words in the month of November. I started my fourth novel for NaNo this year and then life got in the way. I’ve been disciplined enough to write a novel outside of November in the past but having that month to completely focus on word count has always been ground breaking. Being competitive with yourself works for some people but not for others. It works for me.

When I realized I wasn’t going to win this year I got very down on myself and then because life was in the way I soon focused on all the other things that had come up. Giving in to “not winning” has helped me tremendously. I don’t feel “like a failure” because I got 25,000 words written and I know I’ll finish this manuscript regardless of the time it takes. But in the bigger picture it showed me that failing at something doesn’t mean I’m less than or that I’ll die or even suffer.

blonde woman typingAt first I wrote consistently, 2,000 words a day, which is what I like to do when I’m being productive. I had even spent October outlining my novel, which was a great help. But I still hit a wall and when I hit that wall and all of these other issues (not to do with my story) surfaced, I dropped the ball. My endless use of clichés didn’t help either.

Now that NaNo is over this year, I decided to spend my time editing another novel before going back to the one I’m writing. In my writer’s group yesterday another writer reminded me that all our time spent researching and making character bible, floor plans and more, all count toward the process. We even mused that watching movies and TV shows can count if we’re paying attention to the character arcs, dialogue, plot twists, black moment and antagonists.

books on staircaseWhat I took away from my fail is that no one else cares besides me, which means I need to get busy and churn out the content since no one else will be cracking that whip. But it also means that when I don’t write or can’t write I can give myself permission to forgive and keep moving forward.



Raina SchellRaina Schell is a vagabond. She lives where the tide takes her. The only constant in her life is her trusty laptop. She doesn’t live in a tidy little house. Her dreams aren’t surrounded by a white picket fence. She has no family but spends her free time with a black and white bunny rabbit named Fred.

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