Shame. Shame.

Game of Throne fans will understand the title of this post.

But even if you don’t know the reference, you may understand the feeling of “shame” when you don’t finish National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) with fifty thousand words.

And I say, “It’s okay. Forget about it.”

Some years I “win” NaNoWriMo, some years I don’t. This year, I’m not going to make it. I’m okay with it, because, to be honest, I’m more excited about my WIP than NaNoWriMo.

I had a story idea all set up with new characters, new plot, new world building. At the last minute, however, I change my mind and decided to finish the second draft of my current novel.

I’m still not near fifty thousand words, but I have gotten a lot covered on my second draft.

I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for about twelve years. I should have known that working on a previous, unfinished story doesn’t work. NaNoWriMo is about discovery. It’s about new ideas. It’s about anticipation. It’s an excuse to write with abandon and not worry what happens. When I use a WIP for NaNoWriMo, some of that wonder is taken away.

So, the lesson learned is this: do NaNoWriMo when I’m at a point in my writing life to start something totally new.

I still got some writing done this month, just not for NaNoWriMo. And that’s okay. Every year, right before November starts, I read blogs and comments online by people who are trying NaNoWriMo for the first time and how they’re so nervous they’re going to “fail.”

My opinion is that there is no fail with NaNoWriMo. If someone writes 10,000 words in November, that’s 10,000 more words than they had before.

So, no need to hang one’s head and repeat the Shame. Shame. mantra in one’s mind. It’s just a contest. A contest with no tangible prize.

But I love it and I’m happy for those who did “win.” And I’m happy for those who wrote even if they didn’t reach fifty thousand words. I’ve both won it and lost it in years past. I always come out a better person.

And I can always use what I was going to do this year for next year. I’m ahead of schedule!

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