I Lost My First NaNoWriMo After Four Years

Where did I go wrong?

Did I set my goal too high? Was 175,000 words in 30 days too much?

No. I lost for multiple reasons, but the goal word count was not the reason why. My final word count was around 69,000 words for the month, the majority of which completed in the first two weeks of the month.

I made five major mistakes during November that brought me to be over 100k short of my goal.

MISTAKE #1: I took a break.

The first break was meant to be just a day after a great streak of hitting 6k daily. The reason for the break doesn’t matter because this ruined the momentum I’d sustained for the first 5 days. After that break, I never got back my initial momentum.

MISTAKE #2: I split my attention between multiple projects.

My focus became diluted between different subjects, topics warring with each other for creative input. My thoughts were pulled back and forth between these multiple worlds, draining my energy too quickly to get beyond 3k/daily.

MISTAKE #3: I allowed too many distractions.

Between social media, movies, games, and non-writing projects, a lot of my hours eventually got scattered and in response, my mind as well.

MISTAKE #4: I didn’t prioritize the work on a daily basis.

On the days where I prioritized writing completely, even if it was the ONLY thing I did that day, my word counts reached on average around 3k+ words daily. It was simple to reach 6k, and on my best day, 8k. On the days where I didn’t prioritize writing, the word counts were dismal, 2k and under, eventually a streak of 0 words towards the end of the month.

MISTAKE #5: I allowed emotions to lead me off the path.

If I’d been able to get over myself and been ruthless with my emotions, I probably could have pumped out more words… but I also had a standard that at least 95% of what I write must be usable for my projects. This eliminated the chance of free-writing or BS-writing that had nothing to do with my projects but would’ve upped my word count. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want empty words for the count’s sake. I wanted words that mattered, words that could be sculpted into something later on. That’s what I got, 69k of them.


Overall, I got further along with my projects and of course, have even more work lined up for December and January. My work is never done. I’m just figuring out how to optimize my process so I can get more finished and move onto the next and the next and the next at a quicker pace.

After all, I still have that classic Fantasy novel to get out. :P

Since my first NaNoWriMo in 2012, it has served as structure to check where I am at in regards to my writing abilities. November is a month in which I purposefully judge myself and push towards that next level, driving me into the next year.

That said, perhaps I’ll give Camp NaNo another go in April or July and aim for 175,000 words again. See how far I get next time.

Anyways, back to work. I’m currently in the process of getting a release out for December!