No One Loses NaNoWriMo

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.

Lessons Learned

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,
Angela

A Final Thought on the Close of November

 

One final quote for November:

“Each day provides its own gifts.”
Marcus Aurelius

As with gratitude, I often forget to look for the good things in each day. I have come to believe in the ordinary moments of life becoming the most important. Therein lies the gifts.

I hope you can see the gifts in your own life.

Angela

P.S. NaNoWriMo ended successfully. I was able to validate a couple of days ago. Thank you for your thoughts and support.

A Return to Writing Includes Searching For Balance

Searching for Balance

I’ve returned to writing and the hectic pace I’ve had in the past. I have something “writerly” planned for nearly every weekend in October. November marks NaNoWriMo so that month is full and also begins the holiday season. In the meantime, I am deep in the middle of a marketing class.

Whew!

I’m tired already.

And, therein lies the search for balance.

It would be easy for me to look at my plans for the next several months and let my anxiety overwhelm me. It’s happened before, hence the unexpected hiatus from writing.

Unfortunately, keeping myself from being overwhelmed is often on my mind as I strive for balance in my life.

Tips for Balance

Here are some thoughts that have kept me going in the past and I hope are still helpful during this especially busy time.

1. Do the next thing. This one takes a bit of explanation. When I’m feeling overwhelmed I tend to look at the big picture rather than the small bites of life. That is where doing the next thing comes in. If the next thing that needs to happen in your life is to make the bed or do the dishes or make lunch, do that. Life happens in small moments and getting something done, even for that moment, will have a positive impact on your peace of mind.

2. Stick to your ritual. Every writer I know has a ritual that has evolved over time. My tends to follow the same things each day. I make coffee, light a candle, and write morning pages. Those three pages each morning are my warm up. Once those are complete I write. During normal times (i.e. not NaNoWriMo) my goal is 500 words and in November that bumps up to 2000 words each day. If you have other rituals, stick to those.

3. Keep your downtime. For me, downtime is crucial as too much to do and lots of chaos creates an unbalanced me. I have a building where I can escape but even there, if things are too noisy, I will struggle. Even if the chaos is positive, like having my grand babies over, it still creates stress in me and I need to deal with it.

A Final Thought

One last thing that I need to remember – Be Gentle With Myself! There is always tomorrow.

I am sure there are more ways to find balance during the busy times but having too many things to think about, again, even if they are positive, creates a struggle.