My NaNoWriMo Was a Mess

But I Wrote Anyway, So Who Cares?

Holly Lyn Walrath
Write Weird
Published in
5 min readDec 18, 2019


Image Courtesy Amaury Salas

Do you ever think as humans we’re just afraid to get our hands dirty? That we’ve engineered our lives to be as perfect, pristine, and efficient as possible? And that maybe, if we aren’t perfect, then we’re failures?

I’m trying to abolish this idea from my creative life. The idea of perfection.

Because the reality is, imperfection is what makes art beautiful. The famous painting of the Mona Lisa, for example, has been called a “flawed masterpiece.” We all love to analyze the work of our favorite writers, finding the flaws in the bigger picture. Imperfections let us into the artwork.

Here is a list of things that slowed down my writing this month in NaNoWriMo. You also might call them “things that happen in life.”

  • My dogs ate cat meds that a delivery person threw over our fence and I had to call the APSCA toxicology hotline. (They were fine.)
  • One of my dogs injured herself the next week while playing in the yard and had to have stitches. (She is fine.)
  • I had a dentist's appointment and found out I have to have gum surgery. (I am fine too, surprisingly enough.)
  • Our washing machine broke. (It was not fine, but we got a new one.)
  • I had to go to Austin for a poetry reading. (Very few people showed up, as sometimes happens.)
  • My Mom came to stay with me for Thanksgiving. (This was fine also, but added a bit of stress because I had to clean my house to prep.)
  • I got a cold on November 30th. (I am fine again.)

As November rolled on, I started thinking the universe was out to get me. I was exhausted every day. I only got to write every few days because of all the life stuff happening, but I managed to catch up on those days by writing extra. There were several days where I gave myself permission to relax and take care of myself instead of writing or take care of my family/pets/house because these things needed to be fixed. Somehow, the writing got done. Somehow, the life stuff got done too.



Holly Lyn Walrath
Write Weird

I'm a writer, editor, publisher, and poet. I write about writing. Find me online at or on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath!