For the month of November you may have noticed I’ve only been posting once a week. This is because I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, people use the website (nanowrimo.org) to challenge themselves to write 50000 words in 30 days. If you reach the goal, you “win” NaNo.
This is my first year participating in the event. I actually really like the site as a motivator. They do things like send you pep talks written by famous published authors, or tips about writing, ideas for if you get stuck. The website also has forums for you to brainstorm with other participants, or pick up random writing prompts for you to insert into your story. As someone who struggles to find motivation to write, I have to admit the site was really helpful.
Unfortunately, I have already stopped participating in NaNo for this year. I can’t be disappointed, for I reached 16000 words. That’s 16000 more than I had before. Plus while I was writing this story a lot of really awesome ideas occurred to me, so I’m really looking forward to continuing writing.
But why did I stop writing right now? Well, while I think 50000 words in a month is a LOT. I really wish I could take the month of November off of work to write, but that’s not really feasible, and while I think 50000 words while working full-time is doable, it’s also really hard. The word count works out to something like 1600 words per day, but I found after working a full day, coming home after work to sit down and concentrate on writing was really really exhausting! Anyone who says writing isn’t a real job should try it for themselves – it’s hard work, and uses a lot of brain power!
Plus I discovered I really miss reading. Before NaNo, I read all the time and didn’t write anything, and was unhappy. Since NaNo started, I write all the time, but that left very little space (or energy) for reading – and I was unhappy. While I loved the drive that NaNo gave me, I didn’t like that I had to cut out all of my other hobbies to try to get it done. I definitely want to try to find a nice balance between reading and writing from now on.
So while I unfortunately didn’t “win” NaNo this year by burning out a little early, I still think it’s a neat experience. It’s nice to have something that pushes me to write and be accountable, even if it’s just by word count, because it actually worked. I’ve written more in the last 20 days than I have in the last 20 weeks, and that makes me feel pretty good. I may continue to participate in NaNo “camps” where you can set your own word count goal, so that I still have that motivation. But I think for today I’m going to go read. :)