Thursday, October 25, 2018

Life Update #1 // November is Coming

How? How is it almost NaNoWriMo already? Of course, NaNoWriMo is awesome, and I can’t wait. But how so soon? TELL ME. I’m still having trouble realizing it’s only a few days away. I’m not prepared.

*takes deep breath* I am calm.

It occurs to me that I never updated you on my last NaNoWriMo and how it went. I mean that not in an “it just occurred to me” way, but more of a “this occurs to me on a regular basis and I have already drafted multiple posts as a result and then failed to publish them” way. Since work on my current main project is reaching a period of semi-burnout, which I would like to keep as brief as possible, I figure it’s time to take a break and tend to my sorely-neglected blog. There are so many posts and updates I want to finish and share with you. My Out of Coffee, Out of Mind drafts folder is starting to feel like a diary of sad dead ends.

Before we discuss this coming NaNoWriMo, let’s deal with the previous one, since that’s what’s been bugging me the most. Last I spoke with you on the subject, I had plans to write a ton of words, albeit not as many as I have in NaNoWriMos past. In case you didn’t notice, I didn’t succeed. Or rather, I hit 50,000 words, so in all respects, I did win NaNoWriMo. *throws confetti* I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. I am not trying to be down on myself for the number of words I wrote. There is nothing wrong with 50K, and those who write only 50K are still winners in every respect. But for me, it was a sad achievement because I have done better in the past. I was used to overachieving, I enjoyed it, and I had looked forward to doing it again.

Last November was hard. It was sandwiched between difficult months. On one end, I was struggling with the leftover brain fog from my last bout with an eating disorder, and on the other hand, I was fighting another relapse. Almost as soon as November began, I realized that I was too close to a complete mental burnout to try anything more than the minimum needed to win. In comparison with what I have done before, it felt like I barely participated. When I saw all my fellow overachievers from years past going pedal to the metal, I’ll admit, I did cry a little. I had been part of something that meant a great deal to me, and I had lost that, even if it was only temporary. There was this huge gap between what I wanted to create and what I was able to create. The muse just wasn’t there; my vocabulary felt stunted, my attention span limited. It was like a bruise that I didn’t want to poke. So that month, taking care of myself meant taking a step back and only writing what I needed to keep up my winner’s streak.

That’s not to say I didn’t love what I was writing. Over the course of the month, I fleshed out several ideas, drafted a bunch of blog posts, wrote some poetry, and ultimately, did whatever I could to get the creative juices flowing. I didn’t finish a novel, or even come close. That would have been asking too much of my brain, especially given the story ideas I had chosen. My biggest triumph that month, aside from choosing to take care of myself, was drafting the beginnings of a story that, while emotionally difficult to write, felt more rewarding and more promising than anything I had worked on in a while. Funny thing is, it came to me while I was watching a video on poisonous mushrooms, and it came all at once, in a deafening rush. Even though I have yet to tack down the nitty gritty details, I have all the bones of the thing—I found its skeleton, hidden in the back of my mind, complete and tangible. Actually writing it was surprisingly difficult, given the existing framework, like moving sand with tweezers, but it was difficult in a “I am trying to paint what I am seeing and I am trying to paint it well” way, and less of a “I don’t know what to paint” way. I picked it up yesterday, fleshed out more ideas, got excited and bought a writing journal for it. Every time I touch it, I get an electrical shock.

As for what I’ll be doing this November, I’m not sure. Naturally, I know that I’ll try for at least 50,000 words. Over the course of the last month or so, I have developed a routine where I try to read for an hour each day at a coffee shop. During November, and the days leading up to it, I plan to turn that reading time into additional writing time. Since I’m working forty hours a week now, I don’t know if I will have as much time to overachieve as I have had in the past, and I don’t know if it would be healthy for me to try just yet. This has been a hard year. So I don’t know if I’m going to attempt more than 100,000 words.

With regards to what I’m going to write, I don’t know. I have several options. I might cheat this NaNoWriMo and edit an existing project instead of drafting a new one—I have several novels I’m trying to polish, and I’m not excited about setting them aside completely for a whole month, although it might be good for me to take a vacation from them. I could also pull out my trunked novel and, for nostalgia’s sake, give it a complete revamp. Last November’s promising story is still begging to be finished, so that’s a possibility. There’s another novel I really want to work on as well, one that’s begging for a complete fresh start, beginning with a new rough draft. Those are my options, I think. I have so many balls in the air already, I don’t want to add any more just yet.

But I doubt I will know for sure until November first.


  1. Glad to hear you're NaNo'ing this year! I'm looking forward to writing this year after not breaking 5k last year. Best of luck!

  2. There’s no shame in taking time to take care of yourself. I’ve had to do that lots of times. This year I’ve been juggling two jobs and a lot of discouragement and normally I draft a novel in maybe two or three months but it’s been almost six now and I haven’t even finished it. I’m being a NaNo rebel and working on it and my new draft this year. Best wishes! Don’t forget take care of yourself!

  3. Good job on taking care of you last year, and keeping your focus on the important thing: your healing and recovery. I hope this year's NaNo went well and I can't wait to get to reading your other posts about it. :)