Why It’s Okay to Fail – My NaNoWriMo Experience


It’s a truth universally acknowledged that at some point we will all fail. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though

During the last Camp NaNo – the one in July – I failed miserably.

Knowing that I’d be without my beloved Ella (a.k.a. my laptop) for ten days, I’d set a modest goal of 30 000 words. However, I only accomplished 21 679 – just over two thirds of what I’d aimed for.

At first, I was upset. Well, I was nervous with the end of July nearing and once I’d realized I would fail, I was upset. 30K words isn’t that big of a number to come from under one’s pen or keyboard in a period of thirty-one days and it’s an okay number in my case of twenty-one days with Ella… So why couldn’t I do it?

I admonished myself severely for not working hard enough even though I managed a couple of Wattpad updates and ten blog posts during that month.

And then, a few days before the fated end of the Camp on July 31, I realized that I had two options: I could keep viewing my 21 679 words as a failure worthy of rigorous but fruitless self-reprimand or I could sigh, accept defeat and learn from it.

And do you know what I concluded after I gave the matter some thought?

I concluded that failure is okay.

Let’s put aside the fact that it’s impossible to never fail at anything and look at failure as the driving force behind success. After all, few things can motivate one further that not wanting to be in the uncomfortable position of admitting that one has failed. And even if we do fail again and again, after that first time of considerable shame, we’ll know that we’ve done all we could. The feelings of unease or downright panic that we’d have to once again say “I didn’t make it” would lessen with time and become more manageable while the desire to do better will still be there.

So in the end, failure can be a good thing as it teaches us to become stronger and more persistent in achieving our goals. Besides, which is sweeter: an easy win or one earned after a hard battle with downs as well as ups on the road to success?

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