On “Winning” and Winning

The following is a guest post from Melissa (Gidgetisms).  Melissa lives and writes in Calgary and wants to talk to you a little bit about what winning REALLY is.


So you decided to do Nano. Let me just say hooray, congratulations and various other accolades!. You made a good, if tough, choice. Regardless of your goal, you said “I made the decision to try to write a novel.” You told your friends, you planned out your month and you toiled.  I bet you even made your own handy graph to keep track, with assorted colourful highlighters (or maybe that’s just me). But at any rate, you got yourself  prepared. You came to write ins, or came on the chats. You set aside time, and grabbed whatever writing time you could. You pushed yourself and threw yourself headlong into it.

But then you fell behind. Those lines on that pretty new graph just didn’t get as big as you wanted, and you didn’t get to use your pretty multicoloured highlighters as often as you wanted. Everyone else seemed to be leaving you in the dust. Your days fell apart because of life. Your motivation took a detour. Things happen. You could feel your motivation leaking away, and you felt like giving up. “There’s no way I’ll do it now, I can’t win”. 50,000 words was just too far away and you felt like a failure. I know what that feels like.

I’m here to tell you, though, that whether you put your pen down (or shut your laptop, or turned off your tablet) or just kept going, you are a winner.  You committed yourself. Whether you wrote 50,000 words or 5, you still tried, and trying is half the battle. Who cares how far you got? You have a lot more than you started with, and I’m not just talking about words here.

Maybe you have an amazing plot that you planned out and can come back to later. Maybe you wrote half and got bogged down in edits and plot holes. Maybe you finished the story early, and it turned into a novella instead of a novel. You still are further along then you were in October. You might not have completed it, but you have the basic structure to play around with. You have the bones, you just need to flesh it out.

You set an awesome goal for yourself. How many of your friends do you know that tried to do the same? You have accomplished much, and you should be proud of yourself, don’t let it become a matter of numbers. Or, if it must be numbers, consider these numbers: one more storyline than you had, however many new words written and one more community behind you one hundred percent.

So don’t allow yourself to feel like you have failed. You are a winner, regardless of word count. You won your own challenge and we’re all proud of you too.