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How to Cope With A Crippling NaNoWriMo Failure

How to Cope With A Crippling NaNoWriMo Failure

Flyergirl13 suffered a HUGE loss—but she was brave enough to bounce back (after a healthy amount of weeping)!—Sparkitors

It's 10:00 at night and you're scrambling to finish the last 400 words to meet your daily NaNoWriMo quota. You re-check the word counter to see if you've gained any ground, and it inexplicably displays a number significantly less than the one it showed a few minutes ago. Assuming the counter is simply faulty, you scroll back thorugh your lovely 5,000 word novel—only to discover that it seems to have a lot less word mass than it once did.  Somehow, someway, your entire 3,000-word first chapter has disappeared.

How do you deal with such a disastrous event? Give up on NaNoWriMo?  NEVER!  You must prevail!  You will likely go through these stages, and through this experience find the strength and fortitude to endure.

*Note: Yes, this really actually happened to me yesterday. Yes, it really sucked. No, I will not give up. Never.

Stage One: Denial
There must be some mistake. Perhaps the program has a bug. Or maybe it's this special feature where it only displays a certain number of words at a time?  You frantically click every possible button, ctrl-z-ing until it won't let you anymore, desperately trying to find your missing chapter. It can't be deleted. Maybe you're seeing the screen wrong and it's actually right in front of you. Right? RIGHT?!

Stage Two: Anger
You pound the keyboard in frustration and slam your fist through the computer screen. (Well, not that last part.) You demand that the computer return your chapter immediately, or it will be very, very sorry. It does not return your chapter and you ferociously unplug it in revenge. How dare that computer do this to you!

Stage Three: Bargaining
You make deals with the freshly rebooted computer.  If it gives your chapter back, you'll stop hooking up with iPad behind it's back.  If it magically restores your word count, you won't unplug it without properly shutting down first any more. You may also bargain with God, if you so wish.  If God happens to find your chapter floating around in Heaven and gives it back, you'll give your sister a turn on the computer. (Yeah right.)

Stage Four: Depression
You sit in front of the computer screen and bawl. You'll never finish the novel now that you're 3,000 words down. You're a failure at life and you are a worthless human being who can't even write a novel without a disappearing first chapter.  You use up 42 tissues and sob to your parents, who are unsympathetic. You cry some more.

Stage Five: Acceptance
Look on the bright side: you're not dead! And since that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, you now have 6.9% more muscle mass on your abs and quads—check them now if you don't believe me (crying is a great ab workout)!  You have gone through this terrible ordeal and survived. Clearly, you can do anything—including finish this stupid novel, even if that means getting up at 3 AM to rewrite a chapter that you already wrote. Be a word Jedi and write that novel!

Note of advice: Back up your novel. Multiple times. Just in case.

WOW. We are SO impressed with flyergirl's fortitude. If we lost 3,000 words, we would have cried until the end of time. You go, word Jedi!

Related post: Blogging NaNoWriMo: The Story Begins

Topics: Life
Tags: guides, writing, depression, novels, nanowrimo, writers, denial, tips, writing a novel

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