The Exciting Prospect of Failure

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Hello all! Hope you’re having a great Sunday! I just wanted to do a quick personal post today where I talk about how my not-quite-Nano writing month went. Despite my title, I didn’t actually fail with my goal this year. In fact, I exceeded it. I managed to do 10/12 of my planned chapters- and even polished off another chapter yesterday… which brought my WIP to (hopefully) an explosive end.

happy-runningTo give this WIP a little background, it’s taken 8 years since I came up with the idea to come to this point where I now feel like I have a complete story. To put that in context of what it means to me, well, this is not only the last book in a trilogy, but also my sixth manuscript to date. So as you can imagine I’m feeling a lot of *feels* right now: liable to burst out in a happy dance at any moment, mildly shell shocked (that finale was not sunshine and rainbows and kittens, in case you’re wondering), but mostly optimistically nervous about what comes next.

Because, of course, it’s not over. As you’d expect from a first draft, there’s quite a way to go- fragments of the story I forgot to tell and new bits of the narrative to articulate. Before I started on this book, I knew there were issues with the series I wanted to tease out, but while I was writing I discovered sneaky little plot points that really needed my immediate attention. But I couldn’t exactly turn around and fix them- I knew I had to finish what I’d started first.

train crashIt’s an interesting experience to know that you’re working on something that’s gonna need an overhaul. Especially as a compulsive editor like me. Usually flaws like these would make me want to stop what I’m doing there and then. I’m certainly no stranger to hacking away at a manuscript until it feels a little closer to right. But this was like deliberately driving a runaway train into a ravine- with one eye on the prize and one gazing wistfully back at the start and knowing it could all be somewhat more spectacular (and yes, the runaway train metaphor is definitely what I’m  going for- my characters are total trainwrecks and the outcome of their actions is a complete disaster 😉 ).

The strange part of all this was that- even though I knew I was writing something that would inevitably have to change- I wasn’t deterred or put off. In fact, the prospect motivated me. Last year I talked a little about how failing is when you learn the most– and this year I realised it’s more than that. It’s the mistakes that keep you going. I’m looking forward to rectifying all the kinks and details I got wrong and I can’t wait to implement all the thrilling modifications I’ve come up with. Striving for something better is what keeps me on the edge of my seat when it comes to this story; it’s what makes me want to forge ahead with all the new ideas I have for the future. That’s just one of the great things about writing I guess: there’s always something new to explore, even in old worlds. Although, I’ll admit, right now I’m going to shove said manuscript in a drawer and not think about it (much) for about a month.

And that, folks, is a wrap! So did you participate in Nano this month or in years gone by? And if you write, what gets you motivated to write more? Let me know in the comments!

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50 thoughts on “The Exciting Prospect of Failure

  1. daleydowning says:

    I can definitely relate to this! Some of my biggest “failures” paved the way for a new short story, a better plot twist, or a more engaging character arc (and in some cases, a less melodramatic one!). I decided back in September I wouldn’t be doing NaNo this year, as the stress it caused me last year about put me over the edge. And it wasn’t “suffering for my art” – like I sometimes think of usual rewrites and editing – it would just feel like suffering! So I happily skipped!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Completely agree with you there!! I think that makes a lot of sense- I’ve never fully done Nano cos I also couldn’t cope with the stress of it (and even without doing it properly have managed to bite off more than I can chew). So I really get why- there’s no need to suffer when it comes to writing! Good call!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Shalini says:

    Ooooh this was exciting… I didn’t know you were/are writing a book. I hope you get to it soon. I love how authors can think of such different plots…
    I am sure you have done a fabulous job… I am doing the happy dance, what genre is your WIP?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Madam Mim says:

    It’s the failures that keep you motivated – that’s such an interesting point! I have a massive issue with editing as I go along, and getting frustrated that everything isn’t perfect, and then not finishing things. Definitely taking that advice, because I really hadn’t thought of it that way before

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bookbeachbunny says:

    That’s awesome! I have had a horrible writing year to be honest a poem here and there but anything longer and I just…well my hashtag would likely be #amstaringatblankscreenthengivinguptogooglejasonmamoapics (long hashtag) I need to buckle down again. I hope to get to read your stuff one day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nel says:

    So I had to log in and comment on this one even though I’ve been failing a bit for weeks (*months* sssh) but I am so excited that you are writing! 8 years! What a journey! I also love the way you’re looking at the big picture even though it’s looking at yourself. I’m wishing you lots and lots of luck and I just know when you’re finally ready to share your works, they will be fantastic!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jia Xuan says:

    Congratulations on getting so far in your WIP! And I have to agree, failing teaches us many things, but so do the mistakes that keeps us going forward, the ones that make us pick ourselves up and move on. What gets me motivated to write is whenever I read a bit in a good book that makes me go “oh, I want to be able to do that too”, and it just works as a flying kick for me to start writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    Oh wow, best of luck with this last book!!! I’m sure it’ll be a challenge to edit (especially since you’re such a perfectionist – hey, I feel ya!) but it’ll also be super rewarding in the end.
    You are so right about everything… If we all stopped in the face of failure (or the prospect of it) we’d never get anything done.
    I didn’t get to do NaNo this year but I do write all year round a little bit, so it’s okay 🙂 I’ll definitely try and make some time for it next year as I really enjoyed it before.
    Amazing post ❤ Love your positivety and inspiration! Keep it up ^^

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you so much!! hehe yeah that is a struggle 😉 Absolutely!!
      That’s so true!!
      Totally understand that- I like to write all year round as well, which is why I never fully participate and usually just try to up my game in November. Awesome!
      Thank you so much!! 😀 ❤

      Like

  8. waytoofantasy says:

    Sounds like you had a very successful month writing! Best of luck on completing the work. I didn’t have a good month at all, I just wasn’t in the right mindset. Maybe I will try again sometime next year after things slow down a bit. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Cozy Pages says:

    Congratulations on getting to this point. Even if you’ve got loads of editing ahead… you’ve got the biggest chunk out of the way! Yay! Go you! Wishing you all the very best for bringing it to completion. I had plans to write in November… then I got sick… twice! Lol. Sigh. Ah well. It will happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Vera says:

    What a brilliant post. I feel that how we perceive failure is everything. If we approach it from that curious, learning place, we grow. If we make it mean all about us as “people”, we can get put off by it as it can hurt a lot.

    I love your approach and applaud you for going through with it, staying in that process regardless how hard that must have felt. I’m sure your books will be wonderful and I certainly will be amongst the first ones to buy them. 😊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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