I nervously began my first NaNoWriMo this month and though the idea was a little intimidating to begin with, I can say wholeheartedly that I loved it!

I had my WIP (a 1950s murder mystery) all plotted out but hadn’t written a single word of the actual manuscript because life kept getting in the way. You know the thing, endless housework, sick kids etc. But thanks to NaNo I finished the 50,000 word challenge and almost first draft on 17 November!

I really don’t think this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the challenge. I certainly wouldn’t have sat down and tried to write as many words as I could, everyday, without the prompt of hitting that coveted 50k.

Having said that though, others I know have struggled this month and have been left feeling like a failure and that they have ‘lost’ NaNo.

Whilst I think NaNo is a really fun challenge and it is good to set ourselves goals, we have to remember that this is something to aim for, but it really isn’t the end of the world if you don’t manage to hit it. The world keeps turning, your project won’t suddenly get wiped from your hard drive because you didn’t meet the target.

Yes, I have a first draft almost finished, but how many of those words will I keep when I start editing? Who knows? I don’t. So while I’ve really enjoyed the challenge and it was just what I needed to get things moving again, I won’t necessarily sign up every time. Or perhaps next time I’ll set myself the challenge of writing every day, rather than just writing like mad to hit the end goal. I think that may be harder somehow.

But whether you ‘win’ NaNo or not, be happy that you got somewhere new with your writing. Whatever you were working on has more words than it did before, which means it is one stage closer to being finished, and that’s something to be celebrated.

Well done to everyone who’s participated in NaNo and there’s still eight days to go! And let’s hope our projects will someday make it out into the world!

Have you done NaNo this month? How have you found it? What have been your NaNo goals? Stop by the comments and let me know!