There are only ten days left in November, and I’m only 10k into this year’s NaNoWriMo novel. Unless I manage to write 5k every day for the next ten days, I will fail to win NaNoWriMo 2017.

I have never, in my life, failed to win NaNoWriMo. Never.

N E V E R.

I won’t lie, the prospect of not getting to download another winner’s certificate is pretty depressing. I love those certificates. I guess I could just lie and copy-paste my midterm essays into the word count box, but there’s no glory in cheating your way into the winner’s circle.

Plus, my novel this year is The Final Days. I’ve been developing this story for three years. I was so freakin’ excited to actually start writing it…and then I putzed out 10k in.

With December looming on the horizon and act one of the novel only half-done, it’s tempting to tell myself that I’ve failed miserably and must now renounce my life as a writer in favor of moving to remote Montana to count snowflakes in total isolation. The locals in the nearest town—which will be at least thirty miles away—will wonder about me. “Where is she from?” they’ll ask. “Who was she before she moved to remote Montana to count snowflakes in total isolation?” They’ll never know. They can never know my shameful secret: that I failed to write 50k in November 2017.

(what no I’m not dramatic)

So, yeah, I could do that.

Or…I could look at all the ways that I’ve won at writing this November.

Let’s face facts: I’m in grad school, I’m waist-deep in processing CP comments on Lady of Daemons (my main novel), I’m putting together my plan for world domination platform growth in 2018, I’m working part-time, I’m volunteering with my department, and I’m figuring out the best way to land a job in the UK post-graduation so that I can stay in the country for a few more years.

I have a lot on my plate.

And I still got 10k written on The Final Days. I thought I wouldn’t even finish plotting  that story until January 2018, and now I find myself not only three months ahead of schedule, but 10,000 words in. And I did it while dealing with grad school midterms, feedback on Lady of Daemons, planning platform growth, working, volunteering, and taking the first steps to ensure my future in the UK.

Clearly, I need to rethink my definition of “winning.”

I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t care about officially winning NaNoWriMo 2017. I’m going to break what would have been a four-year winner’s streak. I won’t get a new certificate. I’m pretty bummed.

But I’m not so bummed that I can’t appreciate the fact that I pulled my sh*t together just long enough to make a dent in a project that I love with all my big, squishy heart.

I won at NaNoWriMo this year. And I bet you did, too.

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you? Are you going to earn that certificate? Do you still like your story or has spending so much time with it filled you with bitterness? How do you switch off your inner editor during NaNoWriMo?