You will note that six of those badges say “participant.” Only one says “winner.”
There were years in which I almost made it. There were years that saw me abandoning a ten thousand word draft. There were years (2009 and 2010) when I didn’t have the courage to create an empty document. This year, I started once and abandoned my beginning (Camp NaNoWriMo).
I have dreamed of writing a novel since I was a teenager back in… well, you don’t need to know how long ago it was. I’m not an Emily Dickinson, with reams of fiction hidden from the world. No, for decades I didn’t even have the courage to scribble a bit of fiction in the back of a journal hidden in my underwear drawer.
Until 2005 and my discovery of NaNoWriMo the fiction stayed in my head, where it paced disconsolately, trapped. 2005 saw my fiction semi-released into a work-furlough program. But the gates of prison continued to clang shut upon it, until November 2012.
My fiction has finally been paroled.
Never give up.