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Monday, November 14, 2011

When losing is winning

For the past couple of weeks, I'd set the alarm at five to push through as many words as possible in hopes of once again successfully completing NaNoWriMo. I'd looked forward to receiving that "winner" badge all year, and I'd known what novel I'd write for ages.  My daughter had been begging for a sequel to last year's Nano Project.  All was going well.  Technically, it still is.  I may not have been 100%  happy with my plot, but I was on target to "win" a week early.  This was a huge accomplishment in and of itself because I hadn't been writing much, and I was pleased I could still produce something ... anything.  Plus, I found new ideas crept in when I wasn't looking, and I drafted another "Potential Projects" list.

Then, I went to an SCBWI-IL event, Prairie Writer's Day, and I had a wonderful experience which is going to make me a loser.  I sat through two sessions where first pages were read and editors/agents reacted.  I was fortunate enough to receive honest and useful feedback from Molly O'Neill and Stacey Barney. During another insightful session Ms. O'Neill read pages from some of the work she's edited and then followed up by reading from first drafts which authors were willing to share.  Suddenly, a lightbulb went on, and I knew what I had to do with both of my completed projects, including the one I claimed I was about to trunk--and it involves a re-write. I knew it was coming; I just didn't have a vision.  Until now.

So, I've decided to put my 25K+ Nano words aside in an effort to capitalize on my motivation and capture the flowing ideas on paper. 

Have I mentioned I'm competitive?  I don't like failing Nano.  But at the same time, I know that this is absolutely a winning situation.  So, I accept my Loser Trophy with pride as I set my sites on a new goal. 

Sometimes changing course mid-stream is the best thing to do.  Any experiences where changing goals worked out in your favor?  College major?  Career?


  1. Perhaps I don't see this as losing because you've worked up quite the word count for the NaNo project but you have received the motivation for something else. Consider it a course correction instead :-)

  2. Don't you love when this happens? It's why I love going to conferences. I'm slowing down with NaNo too, because I've come to the final act and need to do some research and plotting before I can go forward. So I'm not sure if I'll be a winner this year either, but my gosh, even getting 35,000 words written in such a short time feels major. We'll see.