This Year’s Failures; Next Year’s Successes

You are not always going to be able to do it all.


Hey! As you may or may not know, Project for Awesome 2016 is going on RIGHT NOW. Go vote for all these great NaNoWriMo videos so they can get some money to have a TOTALLY AWESOME year!

I had a plan.

After P4A last year, I was inspired to do something different – and, looking back, probably far too ambitious – to raise money for charity. I had this idea in my head that I would have time to write 12 novellas (20,000+ words) in 12 months, self-publish them and donate all the earnings from sales of those novellas to 12 different charities.

There were three things I did not realize when I announced that I would be doing this on January 1.

1 – I did not realize I would get a job. Or two. Or 10.

2 – I did not realize how difficult it was to convince people to purchase things, even for charity.

3 – I did not realize I would not be able to do it.

I had to put The Novella Concept on hold about halfway through the year, and am at this moment officially announcing that it is over, despite having failed to reach its many goals.

So, technically, I failed. But I’m not sad about it. I mean, I’m sad I couldn’t raise money for awesome causes. But I’m not sorry I stopped. I just couldn’t do it. It took me a little too long to realize that. But it’s okay.

I don’t feel as guilty about having to put the project on hold as I thought I would. I would have felt worse – and perhaps would not have stopped after all – if the project had been raising money as it was originally intended to do. But what I was doing wasn’t working, and I no longer had the extra time, as I had at the start, to shift my strategy in order to facilitate that kind of change.

Sometimes, even when you’re trying to do something good for all the right reasons, you have to make the decision to stop – whether forever or just for now. I wish I’d had more time. I wish I’d planned things out better. But there’s no going back.

Will I try something like this again someday? Most likely, though it likely won’t be anything like trying to write 20,000 words of fiction every month for twelve months straight. If something like that were ever to work again, I would need to have (1) fewer jobs and (2) a much larger audience. Both are extremely unlikely to happen anytime soon.

So for now, I’ll do what I’ve been doing instead – supporting charities in other ways, without destroying my sanity in the process. I want to work hard so that I have the time and money to donate to nonprofits I love. It’s one of my major life goals. I’m a long way away from being able to set aside a portion of my income to charity. Patience. Things happen, with hard work and consistency, in time.

Never let a failure cause you to believe you’re not doing a good job. Your have a lot of things to take care of – including yourself. If you’ve had a long, hard year, give yourself some time in the next few weeks to rest. 2017 is going to be great. Go into it feeling fresh, and hopeful, and determined to succeed. I believe you can do it. Believe you can do it, too.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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