What I learnt from failing

What I learnt from failing

Did you noticed?

It’s May already.

Which means that Camp NaNoWriMo is over. This time I can’t brag about winning because I didn’t reach my goal of 60000 words but I can sound wise by telling you some of the things I learnt from this experience (some I already knew but it’s good to have a reminder from time to time).

First of all, what was different from the previous editions? Now that I have a daily job that takes away most of my time, I wanted to use Camp NaNo as a chance to test my productivity. Clearly I overshoot but now I have a clearer idea of how much free time I have and how much I can do with that time.

The annoying thing is this. If I managed to write 38000 words in a month, while working every day and translating a novel of 20000 words, why was I so slow when I was home doing nothing? I can’t help but think about what I could have done in the year and a half that I spent searching for a job, had I been more focused and productive.

Anyway… I can’t do nothing about that now, but I can make sure it won’t happen again.

And this is the second thing I learnt: never waste time again. I don’t want to be one of those embittered old women dissatisfied with their lives that keep telling “I could have been a great writer, but life happened and I didn’t have time”. That’s not me. Time is there, hidden somewhere in my days. I just have to convince him to show up.

But (and here we come to the third thing I learnt) I can’t ask too much from myself. I need to sleep, eat, spend time with my family and my boyfriend Andrea (by the way, from now on I won’t say my boyfriend anymore – too teenageish – so remember that I’m talking about him when I say Andrea). That’s why I need to compromise between my mind swirling with ideas and reality. The important thing is to keep going, no matter how slowly, just go on one step at the time.

As you may remember from a previous post, I decided to use Camp NaNoWriMo to do the final rewriting of Secrets of a Handbag. The fourth thing I learnt is that rewriting and rewriting and then rewriting again is risky. You may end up hating what you are doing. In those cases a step back is absolutely needed. That being so I spent yesterday afternoon writing a map about the things I have to do. Nothing overly detailed, but it helped me to visualize my ongoing projects.

The result of an afternoon spent with my swirling mind and my daily diary
The result of an afternoon spent with my swirling mind and my daily diary

I don’t like to scatter my energies over too many things but I need to see my projects growing, each of them. So from now on I will devote some time every day for my translation job (which is the only income I have from writing) and the remaining free time will be devoted to a different writing project every day. Monday: sci-fic. Tuesday: chemistry blog. Wednesday: Secrets of a Handbag. Thursday: writing blog. And so on.

I’m going to try this method for a couple of weeks and see what happens. This will be the umpteenth attempt at founding a system that works. If it doesn’t, nothing terrible would happen. I will just have to try again.

I will keep you updated!

In the mean time I would love to here from you in the comments!

7 Replies to “What I learnt from failing”

  1. I wouldn’t call it a failure, but I understand what you are saying. And when you learned as much as you did, it will benefit you in the long run. Thomas Edison, inventor once said, “I haven’t failed, I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

    1. I don’t consider it a complete failure too! I just don’t like to miss a goal 😛 However I knew that this time it was going to be difficult. I wanted to test myself to see what I was capable of 🙂

  2. Irene I can resonate with you, I only just wrote out a similar list. Mon picture book Tues novel revision Wed blog/writing, Thurs picture book and friday art for gallery. The weekends are an added bonus but like to spend it with the kids. I use to start new ideas all the time. I’m learning that I must see the ones I have started through first, even if the may not turn out the way I thought they would. Its all about practice and pushing myself to finish. We can do it together. No failure, only a giant learning curve that most people give up at this point. NOT US.

    1. I struggled a lot during the last day of April because I felt like I couldn’t do that. Then I realized that I was spiraling down the same path that lead me to give up on writing the first time. This time however I have more confidence, more tools and the awareness that it’s not going to happen unless I make it happen.

  3. I wouldn’t call it a failure, either! It’s all a learning process. 🙂

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