Hello everyone! It’s a brand new month! All of the stores say it’s Christmas time, but the first week of November means two things to me: Thanksgiving is coming, and it’s time for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo was started in July of 1999 by Chris Baty as a personal challenge between him and his friends. Over the past 20 years, it’s become a huge phenomenon; in 2017, there were 402,142 participants according to wikiwrimo.org. They have Camp NaNoWriMo in July to make up for moving the main event to November, as well as a Young Writers Program that focuses on showing the love of writing to kids all around the country (and quite possibly the world!). A ton of books have been published thanks to NaNo, notably “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen. It’s easily the most well known NaNo novel to be published in the contest’s history.
I started participating in the tradition when I was in college the first time, after realizing there was no way I’d pass any of my classes (sorry, Parents!). I also was going through my first big breakup, and was trying to figure out what to do with all the sudden free time I had. A few of my classmates were doing it, and I figured it was something to keep me preoccupied after finishing up assignments done in vain. That was the first time I had written anything longer than three chapters, as well as the first documentation of my Superhuman story. At the time, I had named it “value”, and it was my pride and joy after the emotional rollercoaster that was my 18th year.
I’ve participated three other times after that year (I’ve finished twice). It’s a gratifying experience, and one that I suggest people looking for a new way to write check out, especially if you’re seriously considering publishing a manuscript one day.
Unfortunately, I’m not going to be participating for the second time in a row. You may ask, “Why, Mary? Why don’t you want to do NaNoWriMo again?”
Short version: It’s hard!
Actual answer: I thought I would have time this year to write a novel, but I do not.
Last year, I was finishing up wedding details and trying my best to stay calm all November leading up to the big day. I had zero time to even consider writing anything longer than a quick email. This year, things are much calmer, but I am still planning something big. The Golubich Honeymoon starts the same day as our one year anniversary, so ya girl is trying to finish up planning the trip to Seattle!
In theory, I have time to write. Obviously, I write for all of you lovely people that read this blog. I write for myself every once in a while, when the inspiration hits. Other than that, I’m working and trying to keep my head clear from negativity (since it’s officially getting darker, my normal depression has become seasonal depression! What a time to be alive!).
Trying to juggle planning the honeymoon, planning gifts (both anniversary and Christmas related), giving my all at work, finding inspiration to write, finding time for everyone, and keeping my mood light is harder than I make it seem! Life gets in the way of a lot that I’d like to do, including writing 50,000 words in 30 days.
Last year, I beat myself up for not being able to write like I wanted to. Now that I look back, I have to laugh. Why did it matter so much to me? Before this blog, I had never really shown anyone my writing before. There were only a few people I shared with, and almost all of them didn’t really care, or lied about the quality to make me feel better (which would’ve been okay if I hadn’t caught them in the lie, but that’s another story). Why did putting NaNoWriMo off last year affect me so negatively?
I think it has to do with not finishing the year prior. The story I was writing in 2017 was, well, not very good. I had no inspiration to write it at all. That killed all the drive I had to finish by the 30th, and although I knew I wasn’t going to finish, it still hurt on December 1st knowing that I had failed my own personal goal. I had told myself “You got this next year!” But 2018 came and I was too overwhelmed with wedding planning to think of anything else. I told myself again, “Next year!”
Here we are in 2019, and once again I am putting NaNoWriMo on the backburner for next year. This time, I don’t feel too bad about it. I value my time more now than ever before, and I know it’s okay to not do something if it means making more time for more important things. My marriage, my job, and my mental health are way more important than any novel contest could ever be. Maybe next year, I’ll document the process of my NaNo journey, but this year, I’m saying no thanks and focusing on making life happier and easier in the long term for me and everyone around me!
If you guys are doing NaNoWriMo, go for it! Reach the goal! It truly is a gratifying experience to finish a novel, no matter how awful it may be. After all, it’s only a first draft! If you’re interested in learning about the whole process, I suggest going to their website to learn more about it. I donate to the organization every year because it’s a great resource for people to meet others who are interested in learning the ways of writing. Since it’s a non-profit, I like to support what NaNoWriMo has to offer professional and amateur writers alike with a little donation. If you’re interested in supporting the organization, there are plenty of links to do so on their website!
In the meantime, that’s all I have for this Monday! Follow me on Twitter for updates and daily goofs and gaffs (once I am unbanned from my account…I got a new phone and Twitter suddenly became Fort Knox! Which is fine, cause my tweets are gold ;P). I’ll see y’all next week!