Failed NaNoWriMo but still got a book out of it.


Those who know me know that I’ve never taken failure well even though I seem to be turning it into a spectacular kind of performance art piece in which I live my life.

This isn’t a bad thing.

Some of the greatest things have happened to me in the middle of a grand failure; I met my awesome partner failing at a job; I self published after failing to pick up a publisher and it is still one of the best things I’ve ever done just to name a few.

Most of the time my failures also result in a book. I’ve actually developed the mantra “Okay I’ve failed but at least I’ll get a book out of it.” The annual NaNoWriMo Word Orgy was no different. It was the first time I’d officially signed up to do it and I bombed 7k words from the finish line. Just to put it into perspective, I do at least 2 unofficial writing challenges a year and I nail them so wtf was so different this time around?

Some books are not meant to be ‘writing challenge’ books. The one that I was working on (that has no real title) is not meant for a challenge. I kind of knew this going in but I thought ‘No Amy, you need to do this because you have Dead Sea Scrolls next semester for uni and you need to concentrate on that and not be trying to write a new book at the same time.’  So I had a chapter plan of the book and the first 30k words and I still went ahead with it.

Considering my headspace it turned out better than I had expected. In fact it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever written and yet I don’t know if it will ever see the publishing light of day. Maybe it’s a story I needed to write just for me or to figure out its not going to work. It still needs 10k words. I’m certain that there are parts that I’ve missed out or thought I’ve written amidst the tangled sheets and awkward elbows of the word orgy mindset.  It’s been printed and bound and ready for a read through on the weekend to make notes on where the gaps are.

It’s about an exorcist. It’s probably going to be classed as a Metaphysical Thriller. It’s a strange book that’s very unlike anything I’ve ever written. It’s weird feeling when you pick something up that you’ve written and it feels unfamiliar to you. In the whole scheme of the Amy Canon it’s a prologue book leading into a book about Mychal, a character from The Firebird Fairytales. It’s going to be very stand alone series though so any reader could pick up any series and don’t really need to know their way around the Firebird world. There is the classic Amy style of mashing up stories but this time instead of Finnish or Russian I’m getting Biblical. I’m quite positive it will confuse and annoy many. 78b181b34210edad9451ec729196ae11

The Mychal book is another of my failures. I started writing it in 2014 and I have started from scratch and re-written it four times, four different ways and haven’t been satisfied with any version. It needed my exorcist and as I embark on the great number Five version I’m hoping that it’s not another failure.

I’ve been talking to a lot of writers on Twitter that are talking about ‘Do Over December’ because the maelstrom of rage of horror that was November has devastated a lot of NaNo’s word counts. I considered getting involved but I’m okay with owning my failure. My brain is already moosh and I have the Dead Sea Scrolls to dive into (and hopefully not fail) and let Ancient History renew and inspire me.

Update in publishing land is that I received my covers for the new book Wylt and they are beautiful. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better job. I can’t wait to share it with you all closer to the date.

I’m changing editing dates and pushing out deadlines because that’s what I need at the moment to self care. The world is a crazy place right now with a lot of fear and hatred so remember to switch it off and find your own way to self care.

Celebrate your failures as well as your victories, you never know what will come out of it.

3 thoughts on “Failed NaNoWriMo but still got a book out of it.

  1. I know I said I’d do NaNo, but I agree that some pieces of writing just aren’t fitted to these challenges. I’ve been musing on an idea for a while now and I need to let it out, not force it out within a month. This was such a rewarding post to read, thank you! I actually only got 700 words into NaNo this year when I realised it wasn’t for me. But that’s completely okay. 🙂 Because I have those words to go back to later and continue with! Great post!!

    1. Thank’s for the luck! The revisions are coming along but I’m starting to make peace with the fact it might not be as long as some of the others I’ve written. Some stories are as long as they need to be. I’m worried if I start adding things to make up the word count the feel of the book will be lost. Writers problems!

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