It’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month, or #NaNoWriMo. The annual staple of every writer’s calendar, where you write a first draft in a month, by setting a target daily word count and tracking your progress on the website. It’s also full of peer run events to help support each other on the month long writing sprint.
Usually #NaNoWriMo is a fruitful time for me. In past years I have successfully started and completed first drafts. Or written a new project to the 3/4 stage, and finished it in the following months. On more than one occasion I used it to revisit a partially penned project that’s been stuffed in a draw but has been yelling in my brain for attention.
#NaNoWriMo is a great tool for focusing my mind and sharpening my discipline – USUALLY.
However this year for me it has been much more of a #NaNoNoGO!
Firstly November snuck upon me. Despite having spent the day before celebrating Halloween and knowing it’s always followed my All Saints Day also known as November the first, the official start of #NaNoWriMo, I forgot! With both my teens being still home on half-term, and using every inch of available space to revise and do course work, I neglected to get prepared or write anything.
Day 2 - I told myself was the day. I would use #NaNoWriMo to help me concentrate on finishing my current edit on my WIP. So with the offspring back at school. And all my stuff ready, and crucially my head in the right place; I embarked on my #NaNoWriMo journey. Life had other plans. A big disaster concerning my eldest school and her UCAS Application arose and demanded my immediate undivided attention. This took ALL DAY and drained me of energy.
Day3 – brought drama with regards to the house renovations.
Day 4 - was a delight with the lovely lingering effects of Covid19 – making my POTS worse and bringing on a dose of cotton-wool brain. PLUS a drama with my business that I had to rectify.
By Day 5 I was despondent and felt like a failure. I so I didn’t log on to the NaNoWriMo peer support group on Facebook that I belong to, due to embracement – stupid I know - as they are all so lovely and empathetic. So instead I decided I needed to do something to get out of my funk. Walking – my usual remedy – is out THANKS AGAIN COVID. So I took myself off out of the house of many distractions to be creative in a café, where I drew and doodled.
This helped BUT is wasn’t words. I got 0 words written. 0 words edited. I still felt like a failure. But this I realised was me NOT looking at the wider picture.
The wider picture looks like this…
I am living with my family in a building site, which brings daily challenges, - no heating. Limited hot water – if any. Dust. Mess. Noise. Then there’s the drama of actually building.
Both teens are gearing up to do there exams next summer, GCSE and A-Levels, so are stressed and revising. Plus my eldest is in the midst of UCAS Applications and entrance exams. So I am working extra hard to support them especially considering the chaos the house is in.
My partners work has gone bonkers and he has to travel more now that life is returning to a pre-pandemic status quo.
I’m suffering from the ever generous lingering gifts of COVID, which has made my existing health struggles worse and added new ones.
I had forgotten that I am in fact NOT A SUPERHERO. It took the weekend to get myself out of the rut and for me to say, it’s ok to start again, and actually start #NaNoWriMo a week late.
#NaNoWriMo is there to help not add stress. So I started my #NaNoWriMo today. So far I’ve edited two chapters and penned this post. Fingers crossed the rest of November will be this positive and productive!
So, for everyone who is participating in #NaNoWriMo, please remember…
BE KIND TO YOURSELF!