What I’ve realized after winning NaNoWriMo 2011

I first joined NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) during the year 2007 after my friend Heather suggested that I should join and start writing a novel. I had no idea what I signed up for at first. What I did know was that the goal was to write fifty thousand words in a month. If you reach the goal, you win and if you don’t then better luck next time.

I’ve been joining since then and I have never got to reach the goal. My excuses were always the same—“Oh, I didn’t go off to a good start,” or “I can’t write because I have to study for an exam for one of my subjects, or “I have a bad case of writer’s block. But now I realized that the main reason why I didn’t get to reach the 50K mark all those years was simply because I was lazy.

I did not have the right to make the excuse that I didn’t have the time to write because I needed to study for my subjects at school. You know why? Because I usually just slack around when I should be studying. Sure, I would pick up my hand outs and notebooks and start “reviewing” for my subjects, but after a while of staring at the very same page over and over again because I can’t seem to absorb what I am reading, I would usually open up my laptop and find something else to do. And do you think I write during those times? No, because I would feel lazy to do that as well.

Procrastination. Laziness. Cramming. These are the evils in life that lead us to not being able to fulfill our goals, whatever those goals may be. These are the very main reason why I have not been able to make the 50K mark during those years and I’ve always been denying it for years but I am admitting to it now. All I’ve ever been is lazy. Simple as that.

But this year, I had a bit more drive to write than I used to have. Perhaps because I had the thirst to prove to myself that I am good enough. And yes, there were times during this year’s November that I thought, “What if I’m not good enough? What if I don’t have a good story to tell?” and those doubts kept on coming and coming and I had to tell myself, “That’s beside the point. You just write. Write what you want and just do it for yourself, not for others,” and that’s when I realized that the very reason why I was doing it in the first place was so I could show myself that I could achieve something even if it is just the 50K word count.

But you know what? Though I have finally proved that writing 50K in a month is possible, looking back I see that there were times that I stopped writing when I have reached the quota for a certain day. Again, the laziness came. That’s why I had to cram up around 16K words on the 30th of November just so I could reach the finish line. I could have gotten to that finish line easily if laziness didn’t hinder me. So now I actually have the next year to look forward to because then the real challenge I would really set for myself is to not let laziness take over. I will write and write and write as long as I have a story to tell, regardless if I had already reached the quota for the day.

Setting goals and doing everything in our grasp to reach that goal is one of the best things that we owe ourselves to do. Because if we live life complacently, if we let ourselves to just go with the flow, we will never get anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re a nobody or you feel like you’ve already reached a certain age to not be able to do something. What matters is what you want in life because when you follow that path to your dream you will surely succeed and you will surely feel alive, more alive than you’ve ever been.

I am Trisha Sales, twenty years old. I didn’t believe in myself, in what I can do. But now, thirty days after I have taken the challenge to write fifty thousand words in a month, I know that I can. I can achieve something if I just set my mind to it. Trite but true. I am somebody if I let myself believe that I can be somebody.

Thirty days of literary abandon and I am here almost halfway to finishing a novel and the only thing left now is to write, write some more, and maybe, just maybe, I will find that one thing that would make me feel that I can be what I have always dreamed I could be.

NaNoWriMo 2011 certificate

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