NaPoWriMo: I failed, but it’s a good thing. No, really.

It’s true. For about the first twenty days of this month, despite deteriorating health (don’t worry, I’ll be fine, it’s just making life difficult for a month or two it seems), I managed to hammer out a poem a day. I remember thinking around the 20th of the month that I should post up some more poetry, but found nothing that I liked enough to post. Then, over the last week, my health threw a few more curveballs at me, and it all just fell apart.

I should have seen it coming really. I like to think I’m invincible, that I can take on more and more challenges in my life and that I won’t ever burn out. However at the start of April I burned out with work, and even now I’m in the slow process of easing myself back into my job, so I should have really known my creativity was going to slump as well. I thought at one point that if I have beaten NaNoWriMo three times in a row (last year knocking out 75 000 words in a month), that surely I could handle a poem a day? But it turned out I couldn’t, at least not right now.

And this is why it’s a good thing I failed – I needed to remind myself that I do have my limits, and that sometimes I have to say “no more” and just stop and let myself recover, without beating myself up over my failure. It’s okay to fail once in a while, so long as you stand back up afterwards, dust yourself off, and try again, which is exactly what I’ll do. And all things considered, I gave it my best shot and did pretty well under the circumstances, I think (not to mention that I have never been as comfortable with poetry as I have been with writing stories).

To all of you who attempted and actually managed to knock out thirty poems this month, I salute you! You people are amazing and inspiring, and have the resolve that will get you through so many other challenges in life. And for those of you who, like me, attempted, but didn’t quite get there in the end for whatever reason – I still salute you, because you tried, and because we’re all human and we can never predict where our lives are going to take us, even in the small space of a month.

Next year I’ll beat this challenge. For now, it’s time to get my health back on track, get my 12 novellas back on track (yes, I still plan to finish writing 12 novellas this year, despite how behind I am), and brace myself for my fourth NaNoWriMo coming up in November.

How did you all go with NaPoWriMo? For those who didn’t participate, are there any writing challenges or goals you have missed lately, and have you learned to forgive yourself for it and move on?

16 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo: I failed, but it’s a good thing. No, really.

  1. Perception is everything! I could hardly call 20 poems in one month a failure. You cannot fail if you make an effort. You only fail when you fail to try. Bon courage!

    • Well this is true, I still got close to my goal and I certainly gave it a good shot. I agree, trying does tend to cancel out the failure. I am often just used to setting a goal and reaching it, so for me it was a shock to the system to find for once I overestimated myself. But thank you, you are definitely right! πŸ™‚

  2. Hats off to you for even attempting such a feat, much less writing 20 poems! I couldn’t do that if I tried. I hope you get better soon and wishing you all the luck in the world with the novellas. You’ve got 12 going, huh? You are an inspiration.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, it’s very much appreciated! And it’s always nice to know I inspire people, even if they think I’m a total lunatic. πŸ˜› Pretty sure I know what I’m doing on New Year’s Eve this year – passing out from exhaustion!

  3. Let’s hope you don’t ‘pass out from exhaustion’! Wishing you good health and don’t worry that you only wrote 20 poems in the last 30 days. That in itself is a success, not a failure! Your health is more important than meeting a poetry challenge! Besides, you are doing way better than me. I didn’t even rise to the challenge and got very little real writing done except for blogging – and not much of that was related to writing, this month! Take care. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! And you’re right, my health is much more important, which is something I have had to face this last month. I’m still doing good, I guess, I’m just hard on myself haha! But then, we’re all our own worst critics often, aren’t we?! πŸ™‚

  4. It’s okay, Watson! We try; we don’t always make it, but we try! Give yourself permission to not make it this time. Those 12 novellas in a year is not for me. I’m not really into writing; although, I had to “teach” 4th and 5th graders to write during my teaching career. I did do the 30 poems( I’ve really always liked poetry.) SO, I refound the poet in me and an old friend from the late 60s. Mr. Rod McKuen. Have you heard of him?

    • It’s funny actually, as I have noticed most English teachers I know don’t write for leisure much at home. The only other English teacher aside from myself who does is also in his twenties, which leads me to the conclusion that we only do because we’re lunatics. But for me writing is too big a part of me, and when I’m not writing for a long period of time it takes its toll on me, as odd as it sounds.
      That is awesome you did the 30 poems – well done! I haven’t heard of Rod McKuen no, though I suspect maybe I should have?

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