Okay, so I meant to write this immediately after NaNo, but after writing 92k words, it took me several days to scoop my brain back into my head through my ears. So I'm a little late to the post-NaNo party, but that's okay.
First, I'm giving myself a little congratulations for completing a rough draft in one month. Yay me. It was tons of fun and a little crazy. It was great, but I'm definitely not going to write at that level of intensity all year round. Now that I have a craptastic rough draft of a potentially awesome mystery novel I've got lots more work to do, but more on that later. When it comes to writing, the work is never done.
I'm very proud of myself for accomplishing my goal, but it would be totally okay if I hadn't. That's something I started telling myself from the beginning, and it's important for everyone to know.
It's okay if you didn't meet your goal.
I chatted with a lot of people via Twitter about NaNo, and saw a fair number of people beating themselves up for not writing as much as they wanted to. This makes me sad. People really shouldn't be so hard on themselves. Myself included. I am my own worst enemy.
Setting goals is very important. NaNo is about being motivated. But I think it's of equal importance to realize when a goal is too much. I for one nearly always ask too much of myself, that's one of the reasons why I was actually surprised that I finished on time.
NaNo is a great idea, but November is not always a great month to go on a writing binge. And 1,667 words a day is a lot. There's nothing wrong with making a more reasonable goal for yourself.
I've told a lot of people that the only true way to fail is to not try at all. I firmly believe this. I'm not just talking about not participating in NaNo. I'm talking about not trying to write at all. Writing an entire novel is a very difficult, daunting task. This cannot be stressed enough.
The enormity of the task scares a lot of people away. It scared me away for a long time. I spent years telling myself I wasn't going to try writing a novel because there was no way I'd be able to finish one. Instead I just daydreamed for years. Now I write and daydream. I'm very glad I finally started trying, although I definitely still have my neurotic moments of thinking "I can't do this!"
But I'm still trying.
So, whether you did NaNo this year and won, didn't quite make it, or decided this wasn't your year, keep writing and never stop trying!