Planning to Fail or Failing To Plan?

Participant-2014-Twitter-ProfileIn my last newsletter, I said I wouldn’t participate in NaNoWriMo because I needed to finish the novel I began in April.

Yet I’ve wanted to take part in the event since I first learned of it several years ago. When several of my online writing friends talked about their participation, I felt the urge pull me. And I debated with myself.

Sign up, Joan. You know you want this.

“But I need to finish Willow Lake. I don’t want to abandon it.”

So you’ll wait for ANOTHER November to do NaNoWriMo? What will be your excuse next year?

“Yes, just one more time. I have so many unfinished projects. I started writing Willow Lake at least three times. And I don’t want to talk about how long ago it was when the story idea first came to me. Next year will be the right time.”

Then I received some sound advice from a fellow writer:

“Joan, all I would say about NaNo is that you can still set your own goals, even though they say you need to make 50K to “win.” I don’t need a win—I need words that amount to something of quality. I’m going to get support and enthusiasm by participating…I’m just gonna do it on my own terms. Can you see your way into doing it that way?”

So, I decided this is the year to participate. And rather than starting a new project, I decided to finish the first draft of Willow Lake. I may not write 50K new words, therefore I may not “win,” but I will have accomplished something.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Benjamin Franklin

How does NaNoWriMo relate to planning and failing?

When I decided to dedicate the month of November to finishing Willow Lake, which, by the way has a new title, I knew I needed to plan ahead. I wrote and scheduled blog posts for the entire month as well as my First Friday Fiction stories for November and December.

Rather than panstering my way through the NaNo project, I wrote a brief outline of the story. I went back over my previous draft, cut some parts, changed some others, and better defined the story.

I have blog post topics for the month of December, and have begun to plan for 2015 posts. Having a topic helps me stay focused. It keeps me from sitting down on a Tuesday night to write a Wednesday post without a single idea in mind.

Planning does not guarantee success. We still need to put action to our plans. And yes, there are times when obstacles arise, but having a well thought out plan helps to overcome hindrances. And remember, even if you don’t reach your goals, you’re not a failure.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill


7 thoughts on “Planning to Fail or Failing To Plan?

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  1. Joan I feel good hearing that you have unfinished novels…….me too and I am encouraged by you to keep plodding along. I don’t plan my posts so lately Im posting once a fortnight and Im okay with that. Next year friend we might both have a novel finished now wouldn’t that be grand.


  2. Congrats on your decision, Joan! I’ve yet to sign on to do NaNoWriMo and your spirit is an encouragement. Your planning also highlights the need to cover other responsibilities BEFORE you begin rather than having them pile up on you. Thanks for a look at your process. And good luck!


    1. Thanks, Sherrey! I’m so looking forward to finishing this book – even though its the first draft. I’m usually not this organized with blog posts, so it feels good to get ahead for once! 🙂


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