Moral Victories

We approach the end of November and my colleagues are hitting their goals. Every day, it seems a new person in our region wins Nanowrimo. I am very proud of them, but also sad for myself.

It isn’t that I am doing terribly. When I set out on my Nanowrimo tour of duty, this year, I told myself I wanted to write at least 25,000 words. I hit that goal today. However, it will make me a little sad if I am unable to hit 50,000 and get that winner’s bar.

Writing, and life, are about little goals, and little accomplishments. While most of us aren’t getting any immediate financial gain out of Nanowrimo, although some write with their sights set on publication, there is a lot of satisfaction in saying that you did it. You prevailed against all the other distractions and managed to meet a goal.

It’s not just any goal. You can’t write 50,000 words in one day, or even one week. It requires a constant commitment sustained over a period of time. That is what life is really about.

This year, and maybe the next, as well, I know it will be hard to make 50,000 words. There are too many books to read and too many academic papers to write. If I counted all of the academic writing I have done this month, I would easily be beyond 50,000.

That is part of the price of my master’s degree, to delay my writing career in some way in hopes that the next couple of years will take my writing to an entirely new level. The Nanowrimo after-party will be bittersweet this year. All of the winners will be proud, and I will be proud of them. I will think to the future, to next month and the finishing of my novel, and to all the subsequent Novembers that are bound to be more fruitful.

Sluggish from leftover turkey, and eyes red from staring at a computer monitor too long, I will be thankful for the experience of Nanowrimo, and all that writing has given me.

On top of that, I think the novel is going well. My character has had some setbacks, and he has come back more pissed and sarcastic than ever, working around a corrupt system in order to find justice. I am interested to see how it goes for him, and if he gets the girl, who happens to be a nun.

Jack Campbell, Jr. is a dark fiction writer in Lawrence, KS. His writing has appeared in various venues including Twenty 3 Magazine, Danse Macabre, and Insomnia Press. He writes about reading, writing, and life on his blog at

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