My #AcWriMo Attempt: Success or Failure?

#AcWriMo has been and gone. For those unfamiliar with the idea, many of us set outrageous writing goals for the month of November. We kept others up to date with our progress via twitter and via a google spreadsheet courtesy of Studious Jenn. So what did I want to do? Well, I wanted to write 3 papers. From start to finish I wanted to analyse data and write up the results for 3 papers in 1 month. Although I didn’t specify whether I wanted to submit them or not (I thought this would be a tall order given the reliance of contributors to also enter into the #AcWriMo spirit), I wanted to have them as close to submission as possible.

So how did I do?

Well, for sure I’ve got two of those papers chalked off. They’re going through the final stages of review by my collaborators as we speak and then they’ll be submitted. Then things get a bit more complicated. You see half way through #AcWriMo I was asked to provide a contribution for another paper which I did and and sent back to my collaborators, which leaves the final paper I wanted to write somewhat… unfinished. Now it’s not preliminary by any stages but It’s certainly not close to submission. So I completed two thirds of my #AcWriMo goal. I suppose it’s a bit more if you count the contribution to the other paper and the fact that the final paper is partially written. What is for sure though, I didn’t achieve 100% of my goal.

So, am I a success or a failure

Well technically I am a failure. I set quite a clear goal and I failed to reach it. Case closed right? Well I don’t know… you see, if you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know I don’t like classifying failure in this way. It’s not that I’m the eternal optimist, turning every frown upside down and all that. However I think to class my work as a total failure would be an injustice to all the effort I put in. However, it would be more of an injustice to the results I got from the whole process. The fact is, at the start of the month I had no papers. At the end I have two of my own, one of which I’m a contributor to and a third well on the way. Can this really be classed as failing?

What do you think?

For me, I succeeded. I succeeded in a large proportion of the goal that I set out to do. However that doesn’t mean that I didn’t fail along the way and that I shouldn’t acknowledge it. I should look at the failure and try and understand why it happend. Part of the reason I failed is that my goal was very ambitious which is a good thing. This probably means I achieved more than if I’d set a less ambitious target. However maybe it would have been possible to complete all three papers on time. Maybe I could have been more organised and more streamlined. Maybe I could have put more effort in. The important thing is that I understand the failings enough to try and inform the next challenge I set myself to make sure I achieve even more.

So how did you do in the #AcWriMo? Would you consider my efforts succeses, failures or both? Please let me know in the comments.

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