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NaNoWriMo 2019 Failed… and Why I Think It Wasn’t A Failure at All

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I attempted NaNoWrimo in 2019, but once again, I failed.

This time around there was more on my plate thank merely anxiety and a surge of workload to deal with: one of my best friend (like a sister to me) lost her father to leukemia a month earlier, and I was greatly affected too, since I knew the man and I loved him as if he was another father. The loss hit me greatly, but most of all, I couldn’t leave my friend alone to deal with such a huge trauma, so I used most of my free time to take care of her.

Seriously, when a friend is like a sister, she is a sister, and you’ll do that kind of thing. It may just come natural to you. At least, it did to me.

So I put aside NaNoWrimo 2019, knowing that I would still be happy with a shorter draft — because something is always better than nothing, right?

I only managed 2,400 words…

That’s it.

1,969 words for the whole duration of the challenge, and another 431 right after the challenge was over.


2,400 words is not much. That’s a short story.

Yet I’m not too unhappy about the result, for the simple reason that I’ve got something written instead of only a generic idea still floating around in my mind.

As Erin Morgenstern (author of The Night Circus) wrote in her Pep Talk for NaNoWrimo 2019:

“The important thing is getting it down on the page, because that’s how the story starts to become whatever it’s going to become.”

The advantages of having something written?

  • The worldbuilding and character development was set in motion… there’s no stepping back.
  • I grew fond of the characters I managed to write at least a little bit. That’s a big push to continue writing the novel!
  • The details of the story continue to build around what I’ve already written and the outline in the background of my mind, so getting it ready to be on paper is only a matter of time
  • As they say, well begun is half done!

A Few Notes On My NaNoWriMo 2019 Novel, The Observant (Italian: Gli Osservanti)

My NaNoWriMo 2019 novel project is titled The Observant.

This is no mistake, in either language: this particular group of characters does observe, they are observers — but they are called the Observant because in addition to physically observe, they are also observant in the sense that they are good at noticing thing, they cast a critical eye on their world and know what’s missing and what must be found.

Hence the title: The Observant.

This standalone novel is structured as a progression of character introductions until we come to turning point where everything flows into the really juicy part of the story: why these characters? What do they have in common? Who are the Observant?

It’s only in the second part of the novel that you’ll get answers to all your questions.

I could say that this project follows the ups and downs of the climax structure… but I might add more in the future.

The Observant is a novel that I plan to finish the first draft for in 2021, while this year I want to focus on getting Per me, perle bianche completely written (the SciFi Robot Romance novel in Italian that I started writing almost 22 years ago) and the short story collection Lights on Metal and in the Sky.

Thanks for reading!

Did you take part in NaNoWriMo 2019?

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Booklover. Hobby artist. Author of the Rolamaton the Robocity webseries. Also author of short stories and novels for upcoming publication. Countryside demigirl who works as an artisan in her daily life. Currently in a happy relationship. Come say hi on Twitter @dospetti and Instagram @liabooklover


  • Nancy

    I always think it is amazing when people even participate in NaNoWriMo in general. Whether or not they finish, it’s still a success. It is good that you didn’t see yourself as a failure. You learn something new about yourself during the process and that’s all that matters. Getting the word count is always a bonus but doesn’t define your abilities. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Nancy ♥

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