No NaNoWriMo This Year, But I Think I Wrote More This Year Than Any Other

I’ve been avoiding the topic for a while now because I don’t really want to think about it that much, but I decided not to do National Novel Writing Month this year. Which means it is the first time in ten years that I haven’t even attempted it. It will be the second time in that period that I didn’t succeed. The last time I didn’t complete NaNoWriMo was back in 2016 while the election and its results were happening on top of job hunting and dealing with an increasingly difficult roommate situation. I realized after only a couple days that I couldn’t handle writing on top of everything else that was going on, so I stopped. This year, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do it a few days before the month started and resigned myself to skipping it.

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Looking To The Future

I took a weekend off. It was nice to get a chance to rest. Or at least sort of rest since it is me and I still did laundry, Dungeons and Dragons prep, and worked on story ideas in my head. I also spent time cleaning and doing home improvement/winterization projects. I experimented with insulating my windows with plastic, the first time I’ve had to do so since I have been lucky to have good windows and well-insulated apartments in the past, and learned a lot about the struggles inherent in this sort of shit. They look terrible and half of them need to be fixed or entirely replaced, but it’ll be easier going forward since I have some experience now.

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Post Holiday Reflections

Thanksgiving is over. It was fun to visit two of my siblings, horribly stressful to drive into the Chicagoland area since I haven’t drive anywhere more crowded than the central Wisconsin suburbs in about two years, and a delight to have two Thanksgivings in a row with mostly the same group of people so we can all say we’re building new traditions away from bad family situations. I’ve also finished most of my writing projects I’d assigned myself over my week of vacation, caught up on most of the media I missed, and managed to not fall further behind on anything else. Now, resting can begin.

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Halfway Through National Novel Writing Month

As of writing this, I have passed the halfway mark of National Novel Writing Month. I am about twenty-one hundred words ahead, a lead that was growing steadily until a recent spate of just-enough-to-hit-average days due to stress and the reason I’m back in the depths of my depression wave rather than still riding the peak. Still, I’m far enough ahead to take a day off if I want one and feeling pretty good about my overall progress.

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On Top Of The Waves

What a week. Started off kinda crappy with some on-going trouble falling asleep, which tends to cast a pall over everything else since, you know, being tired constantly sucks. But Monday started off strong with a Spotify Discover Weekly playlist that was nearly perfect. There were a few terrible misses, but it’s probably the best Discover Weekly I’ve had since before the summer. Just a bunch of absolute bops with a pile of songs to add to my upbeat and cheerful playlists, and it starts with a great sequence of eight songs before the first song I had to remove.

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Reasonable NaNoWriMo Goals

Whenever I do something that I know will be difficult or particularly taxing, like take my current level of stress and work and dial it all up a notch by deciding to participate in a month-long writing event, I like to set two separate goals for myself at the outset. Goal one is my realistic goal. It is something I know I can meet with a reasonable amount of effort no matter what happens. My second goal is more aspirational, something I think I can do but that might take more than just effort to make it happen. For instance, in NaNoWriMo 2021, my primary goal is to write in a book project every day. My secondary goals is to write 50,000 words in that book project over the course of a month.

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I Really Love Data, Especially My Own Writing Data

Day 1 of NaNoWriMo is in the bag (this should be going up on day 4 even though it was written on day 2). I got my words written, I managed to avoid exhausting myself, and then I got a decent night’s sleep. I am fully prepared to attempt repeating this. As always, we’ll have to see how it goes, but all this blog writing has helped with my focus and discipline, as has my withdrawal from most social media sites. I am set up for success, though I still need to put in the work.

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This Tired Refrain

Not gonna lie, I was really hoping to start the month on better footing. I’m writing this on November first and pushing a bunch of other posts around so it can go up closer to the day I’m writing it, just so this doesn’t go up a week later and wind up completely detached from the reality in which I wrote it. Dunno how much I’ll be doing this, since I do want to keep things a bit more journal-y while working my way through Nation Novel Writing Month, but I expect I’ll also be tired, slightly overworked, and incredibly bad at editing anything as I write it. So we’ll see. I like to avoid posting error-filled blog entries if I can avoid it.

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Happy National Novel Writing Month!

National Novel Writing Month approaches. Well, it technically starts today, but I wrote this a week before you’re reading it, so it both approaches AND is here. I had originally planned to do a bunch of preparation for this month, as part of trying to get my creative energy and focus back, but I’ve fallen a bit short of my goals. I AM writing a blog post almost every day, or at least averaging out to six posts in seven days, but I had hoped to start October by writing an extra five hundred words a day in a book project. Which I haven’t done even once.

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NaNoWriMo 2019 Day -335 (Saturday Morning Musing)

I did it. I broke one hundred thousand words in a single month (since I wrote this post last night). I ended this post with a total of one hundred thousand eight hundred thirty-five words for the month and I am immensely proud of myself. I even bought a bottle of champagne–excuse me, sparkling wine–to pop as soon as I finished this post and, while I’m too cheap to buy good champagne, it was nice to just have something to pop at the end of the day. It tasted alright, too, but I can’t really tell the difference between various wines and I don’t really care that much about it so I’m cool with that.

It was nice to actually manage this goal, given how my month went. So much happened…  Honestly, I’m pretty curious about how much I could accomplish in a month if I didn’t have to spend a lot of it learning to cope with my grandfather’s mortality and the constant stress of trying to lead my team at work into a new process I developed. If I actually had energy when I got home from work… The thought of just how much I could get done is staggering. I’ve done an average of three thousand three hundred thirty-three words a day and yet my actual median is about five thousand. If I could do that every day, I could do fifty percent more words in a month, and that’s at my current pace with my current levels of energy. If I keep up this writing thing, I might be able to get even more written during a focused hour than my current record of two thousand words. If I get a better handle on my mental health, especially my anxiety and depression, I’ll have more energy and get even more done in a day. There’s always room for improvement and I’m excited to see how I continue to improve.

While I’m sure plenty of people write more than I do, even if I do get up to one hundred fifty thousand words a month, I’m not looking to compare to them. Personal accomplishments count more to me, anyway. I’d rather beat my own record than compete with someone else for the high score, in both video games and my personal life. I love a challenge, I love having a rival, but I’m more about support and helping each other achieve new heights rather than trying to out-do each other or trying to be top frog in the well. As much fun as it might be to say I’m the best, that’s not really what motivates me. Striving to be the best is a journey with an end. Striving to be better is a journey that can take you from the day you start to the day you die. I’m all about the long-term, really, in everything thing I do. Finances, career, self-improvement, romantic/platonic relationships… Everything. I’m good at predicting outcomes and I rely on that skill to guide me. Trying to always be better than myself only ever leads me forward and upward.

As much fun as this was, though, I’m really looking forward to a thirty to fifty thousand word month. I need some rest and the winter holidays are going to be stressful enough without trying to spend every second writing. I mean, I’m not going to stop myself from writing when I want to, but I’m not going to force it again. I need a break to rest my mind. Since your brain is like a muscle, in that it gets stronger the more you use it, it is just as important to give it a chance to rest after pushing yourself to new heights. So I’m going to let my brain rest and recover these next few weeks and then we’ll see just how much stronger it’s gotten as a result of this month by trying some new personal challenge. Or, you know, just adding a reasonable amount of book writing in addition to my blog writing. It doesn’t need to be another month of one hundred thousand words. I’ll probably just aim for a thousand extra words a day of book writing. That seems reasonable but also ambitious enough to keep me moving forward. I’ll probably aim for a total over a month rather than a daily limit so I can deal with busy days that don’t leave me room for writing without feeling stressed out about missing a thousand words.

Honestly, as much as I really want to outline my plans for the next year, I think I need to rest before I do that. It’s not even nine and my brain is already so fuzzy that I have to go back and read through sentences I just wrote to figure out what I’m trying to say as I write them. I’m also looking forward to sleeping in. And an end to stress headaches…

As much as I want to keep going, I think I’m going to call it here. It’s time to rest and, while I plan to continue to update my blog every day, I think I might take an entire day off of writing for the first time in several months. Just… play some video games or something. It’ll be nice. Thanks for taking this journey with me and I hope something I posted was of use to you. I also hope you’re continuing to write. It’s a pretty great feeling to see your words on the page or screen, so I hope you get to enjoy that for a while longer.

Today is day -335 of #NaNoWriMo2019 and I’m excited about next year already! Really, though, this is a Saturday Morning Musing post and I wrote 999,999 words last month so I’m gonna rest now. I’m so tired.