The Power of Not Making It – A NaNoWriMo Unsuccess Story

Sometimes, you crush your goals, other times, your goals crush you!

person in front of laptop on brown wooden table
Photo by Eduardo Dutra on

After setting some lofty goals for NaNoWriMo this year, I was really excited to try and finish not one but two different novellas. Plot Twist: It didn’t happen. Not at all. I managed to put together maybe four thousand words in The Last Gladiator, and that was that.

Success? No. But failure, not necessarily. Did I finish NaNoWriMo? Not at all. I didn’t even get close. I didn’t even get close to my end goal for the novella (a mere 30,000 words, much less than the 50,000 that is the standard goal). Even today, when I could be writing, I’m busy (typing this, but also planning to see some friends).

This November had all manner of interruptions and challenges, but I also struggled because of motivation. I’m at a particularity tricky part of the novella to write (for The Last Gladiator) and I struggled to carve out the time to really sit and focus. That’s the rub, for me. The sitting and focusing. I was very distracted this month, with Shorehammer, parent teacher conferences, quarterly grades and Thanksgiving (naturally!) These are simply part of life.

Do I want to keep writing? Of course! That’s something that won’t go away, but to help me out I’m planning on getting back to my old ‘one hour a night’ typing goal to help me focus. With only about 15,000 words to go in The Last Gladiator, that should get me there pretty quick if I can make sure I actually sit and do some writing.

I also need to revisit my motivation. I briefly watched some episodes of Spartacus to get me into the mood for T.L.G, then I think I’ll pop in Gladiator to give me some more visual ideas. Hopefully this will help me gather up some more ideas and put them together in some method of coherency.

So what about you? What do you do to gain some motivation when you’re stuck?

Author: Daniel Ottalini

Author of the Award-Winning Steam Empire Chronicles Series

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