Any long time reader of this blog knows I love NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know what that is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and happens every November.
Each year for the past 4 years, I have awaited November, more or less, eagerly. Until this year that is.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have stories to write. In fact I’d spent some time working with a story that I’m quite excited about still.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have companions to go on this journey with me. TC Wrimos is an active group and within driving distance. We tend to meet up throughout the year for this alone.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t write the requisite 50000 words, 1676 words daily. Quite the opposite, I’d proven over and over to myself that I can be a prolific writer.
Earlier this week, I announced that I was giving up on “winning” at NaNoWriMo and I am still amazed at the outpouring of support.
I felt shitty about giving up because I knew I could make it. If I tried hard and got less sleep than I was getting, I could reach that magical number.
One of my writer friends as she was supporting me said the following words: “No one loses NaNo.”
Now, these are words I’d said many times over the years and on one level, I truly believe that. This year, I’m working on believing them on a whole other level.
What was different this year?
What made the difference this year in my conceding my “win”? Well, sit back, the list is long:
1. I haven’t been writing daily. For so long, this habit was the foundation for my NaNo “wins” and I was quite proud about that. I love writing and to write every day keeps the creative juices flowing.
2. “Time is always against us.” Morpheus from the Matrix. This is one of my most remembered quotes from that movie. I’m not sure if it is truly a memorable quote or if it is so relevant in my own life. But this year, during this time of transition, time was something that wasn’t on my side.
3. I wasn’t excited about NaNo. This one is hard for me to admit but I wasn’t. I knew I wanted to write a particular story – after all I’d been trying to write this one for a few years but I wasn’t excited about all the effort that NaNo takes.
4. Energetically, I’ve been low for several months. The energy it takes to keep life going and be creative is low, oh so low, right now. I had the basics premise of my story but I struggled to keep the end in sight.
5. There was simply so much going on in my life that to add something as big as writing a novel in 30 days was crazy to begin with.
6. The mind may be willing but the body says no. Sometimes, our bodies know better than we do that we need to stop and rest. Mine protested and I wasn’t able to summon the energy to fight through. So I rested.
I could go on but I think you get the picture.
Life always throws lessons at us, whether we want them or not. I’ve learned a few things about my less than stellar “win” this November.
I’ve learned that letting go of outcome is important in all areas of my life. Now, I’m not fabulous at this – hence, the lesson. But it is something that keeps coming into my life.
I’ve learned that having fun and laughter are good for the soul. Spending time with people I am getting to know, and in some cases complete strangers, writing, laughing, learning, is the best medicine for a weary soul.
I’ve learned that I can still write, even when my life feels out of control. I may not enjoy it, but I can get the job done. Or in this case, write some words.
I guess that is what makes even this NaNo a “win”. The fact that I managed to get over 31,000 words is fabulous. I have this story to build on. I have a story that will fill my soul as I write it as I transition in my life.
That is the most amazing lesson of all: the story is in there, I just need to write it down. It doesn’t matter what else is happening, if I am meant to write a story, it doesn’t go anywhere.
So, I’ll take my 31,000 words and declare myself a winner. I stood up and gave it my best. I will take what I’ve written and build on it, my novel will get written. It will just be a bit slower.
But isn’t that the point? To get the story down, novel written?
After all, there is always Camp NaNoWriMo, which means I have two more chances before next November to proclaim a “win.”
I may be an overachiever.
Until next time,