NaNoWriMo 2020 Wrap Up

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I tried, but writing 50,000 words in November just wasn’t meant to be this year. This whole year has been strange and upsetting. It made for a unique set of challenges for everyone when it came to tackling 50,000 words in a month.

At the start of the month I felt pretty confident. I reached my goal during Camp NaNoWriMo back in July for the first time ever. I’d won NaNoWriMo multiple times in the past. It shouldn’t be that different this year. Even with the pandemic. Even with the election…

I was so wrong.

The first cracks in my writing foundation showed up before November even started. Towards the end of October my best friend’s brother attempted to take his life and ended up in a vegetative state. I’ve known him for 24 years, almost as long as I’ve been best friends with his sister. I was shaken by the news, but I ended up feeling angry, upset and hurt on my best friend’s behalf for the first few weeks without really processing it for myself.

Obviously, I was kidding myself by thinking I was okay at the start of November.

I wrote. Everything seemed to be going about as well as usual. I always fall behind in the first two weeks of the month. I’m a procrastinator so needing to catch up in the final days is just the way I work. I thought I was doing great with my writing all things considered.

Then on November 22nd my grandpa died. He was 92, but I wasn’t ready. I fell apart. If I’m honest, I’m still in pieces. Since then I’ve been lucky if I have an hour or two a day when I feel okay enough to get off autopilot. Instead of increasing my writing output, I struggled to function well enough to write at all.

My best friend’s brother passed away on the 27th. I stopped functioning altogether again.

I always debate how much of my personal life to share online and through this blog in particular. When it comes to writing struggles it can be really hard to be real and honest about why writing is difficult without exposing the lowest points in my personal life on the internet.

Most of the time I hesitate to share because I feel like someone will interpret it as looking for excuses to avoid writing. I worry someone will tell me what I’ve experienced isn’t that bad or they’ve written through worse. I trust my friends and even my internet acquaintances to be more compassionate than that, but this blog is public and the internet has plenty of strangers ready to kick someone when they’re down.

I shouldn’t worry about that. Ever. We shouldn’t constantly put off writing until circumstances are ideal because ideal circumstances don’t exist. Most writing happens under “good enough” circumstances, but things have been nowhere near “good enough” for me lately.

Writing can be cathartic, but it’s also okay not to be okay enough to write it out. I’m not okay enough right now. I keep trying because that’s just the type of person I am. If I want something and it doesn’t come easily, I throw a couple tons of stubbornness at it until I either figure out how to make it work or things get better on their own.

If you’re not okay enough to write, you don’t have to be like me. Not everyone finds it easier to sleep at night after running into a metaphorical brick wall a few times. However, if you think you might be in a mental place where writing could help, please give it a try. It doesn’t have to be good or even make sense, as long as you feel better once you wrote it.

A lot of times when I fail one of these writing events I like to reflect and share what I learned from the experience. This time I don’t think I learned much at all about myself as a writer. My failure during NaNo didn’t result from poor time management, lack of plot, or undeveloped characters. Sometimes life just sucks and we need to set our work, our hobbies, our passions aside for a while.

I’m not okay but eventually I will be okay again.

NaNoWriMo 21 Day Writing Streak

Here we are 21 days into NaNoWriMo and I’ve written every single day!

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It’s been a while since I went this many days without a break from writing. I thought I’d be feeling burned out by now, but I’m actually feeling great.

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My badges on the NaNoWriMo website are up to date. Whatever early-month hiccups there were seemed to have straightened themselves out at least on this part of the site.

I’m so glad. It’s a huge boost to my morale to have my effort reflected on the front page of the site.

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you? Have you found the badges on the website encouraging?

 

14 Day NaNoWriMo Writing Streak

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I updated my word count earlier today and that means I’ve officially written for 2 weeks straight! It’s far from the first time I’ve accomplished this, but doing it during NaNoWriMo is a big deal.

Missing a day during NaNoWriMo really messes up my momentum. Some people make it work. I can make it work if I have no other choice. However, years of experience has taught me that consistency makes the challenge so much easier.

I’m still behind word count-wise, but I’m closing the gap bit by bit. My word counts are growing and becoming more and NaNoWriMo-like. At this rate I’ll be in great shape for my usual end of the month final push.

The best news this year is that I’m still in love with my story. It’s not uncommon to get sick of a story after the first week or so. We’re two weeks in and I think I’m more excited about writing this story than I was at the start of the month.

How’s NaNo going for you? Have you kept up your writing streak?

My 3 Day Writing Streak Badge

I was feeling a little demotivated when I discovered the NaNoWriMo site is glitching and not giving everyone their writing streak badges. I managed to earn my 2 day streak badge but the site did not give me a 3 day streak badge yesterday.

Fortunately, the wonderful people at NaNoWriMo have downloadable writing streak badges we can use and display for ourselves.

I won’t be discouraged. If I can’t get the badge on the website right now, I’ll display my badge right here.

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Let’s hope the badges are working again by the time I reach my 7 day writing streak. If not, I guess I’ll be back here to share another milestone.

If you’re looking for badges to celebrate your NaNoWriMo writing streak, you can download them here. Thanks so much to the lovely people doing their best to provide motivation and inspiration to struggling WriMos.

Last Minute NaNoWriMo Prep

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Happy NaNoEve!

It’s Halloween so there are plenty of tricks and treats to keep us distracted during the final countdown to the start of NaNoWriMo. However, it’s not a bad idea to spend a little time on last minute preparations to make the start of NaNoWriMo slightly less stressful.

This afternoon I’m making a huge pot of Japanese style curry. It’ll get my boyfriend and I through at least the beginning of the month. If I’m lucky, I might manage to make enough to add to my arsenal of frozen leftovers for later in the month as well. I have a feeling leftovers and take out are going to rule the month of November.

Later tonight I’ll probably use up some of my excited energy tidying up the apartment. It’s going to be far from sparkling, but with a little bit of extra effort I might be able to get away with letting some things slide for the first few days of the month. Those extra moments of writing really add up when I still have excess energy.

I’m also taking time today to read over what I have written of my draft so far. It’s a different kind of start to NaNoWriMo than usual, but it’s also kind of fun. I haven’t worked on this project in month so I’m going back to it with fresh eyes. Maybe I should be concerned about wanting to change what I’ve already written?

What sort of last minute preparations are you making for NaNoWriMo today?


Are we NaNoWriMo buddies yet? If not, add me!

Want to read my NaNoWriMo project scene-by-scene and get early access to my writing all year? Join my Patreon!

I finally picked a NaNoWriMo project

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I’ve been going back and forth on my options for NaNoWriMo this year for months. This month I finally settled on a single project.

I’m going to be continuing the 3rd draft of The Dreams next month. If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’re probably used to hearing this by now. This is my go-to project for most NaNo events. I’ve been making progress bit-by-bit with the draft and NaNoWriMo is a great excuse/source of motivation to focus on it again.

I feel like I need to be producing new content and a rewrite or new draft doesn’t really count as new in my mind. What do you think? Is a complete rewrite worthy of being considered new?

Now that I’ve settled on working on this 3rd draft, it should be obvious I’m rebelling again. Labeling myself a rebel used to bother me. I worried I was going against the spirit of NaNo. These days I know better.

There’s nothing wrong with doing something different for NaNoWriMo. I do think it is worthwhile to start a brand new project and reach 50k at least once during NaNo, but that doesn’t have to happen every year.

This will be my 14th year participating. I’m sure there are people that have started with a brand new draft every years 14 years in a row, but that’s not for me. I’d love to start from zero on November 1 again, but I’m writing all year and the stars need to align for that to happen. I’ve done a traditional NaNoWriMo and won. I’ve rebelled and won. At this point, I just want to write 50k every November with the energy and support of the community to motivate me.

Have you picked a project for NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear about it!

Looking for a NaNo buddy? Add me!

NaNoWriMo Buddies

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I’m trying my best to get acclimated to the new NaNoWriMo site. The worst of the glitches seem to have cleared up now. It’s still a strange new site, but the pages are actually loading now so I feel free to explore.

One thing that really hit me hard during the transition was the loss of my buddy list. There were buddies on that list I met during my first NaNoWriMo back in 2006.

I can get back the buddies that are still active but I’m pretty sure some of the older accounts are lost to me. Instead of looking back at what I’ve lost, I’m going to try to look forward.

It’s time to get some new NaNoWriMo buddies. Here’s a link to my profile. Please feel free to add me.

Some September Thoughts on NaNoWriMo 2019

How is it already September? I swear we were about to start July CampNaNoWriMo a minute ago. Time really does fly when you’re trying to juggle more projects than you really should.

I’m already late to start my planning for NaNoWriMo. Usually, I at least know what I’ll be doing by August. Some years I even decided on my project during the previous year’s event. This year I’m just not sure what I want to do.

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There is something I want to do before November. I need to finish writing Inbetween by then. This story has gone on for long enough and it’s taken me years to write. I’m at the point where I’m ready to wrap it up and tuck it into a drawer for a while. Once I have some distance, I’m sure my fond feelings for it will come back, but right now thinking about it just leaves me exhausted.

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When one project is wrapping up, I usually have another waiting to jump up and take its place. This time I have two projects waiting in the wings.

My rewrite of The Dreams has been on the back burner the past few months while I try to drag Inbetween to the finish line. Draft 3 of The Dreams will be the next story posted here after Inbetween, but I will be taking a hiatus from posting serial chapters here until I have the full draft written. This is mostly an attempt to get back a bit of my sanity since I’ve caught up to my writing too many times with Inbetween and I don’t need to perpetuate that kind of stress in the future.

I’ve been itching to get started on my next new serial as well. It’s about witches and as the seasons change I find myself more and more eager to write something magical, spooky and more than a little bit witchy. I have a lot of planning I want to do for this serial before I can start writing. The characters and setting need to be thoroughly planned out and understood before I can begin writing since I will be using tarot to help form the plot. I need to understand the nuances of my characters and their environment to properly interpret the cards.

Both of these projects are easily contenders for NaNoWriMo this year. Doing both sounds ideal, but I know how I work. I’d get nowhere fast with both of them if I tried. I need to pick one and stick with it until the end of the month.

But which one is the right fit for NaNoWriMo?

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I’m not ready to decide yet. Maybe I’ll know next week. Maybe I’ll decide once I write the final chapter of Inbetween. I might even do something I’ve never done before and let me mood decide at 11:59 pm on October 31.

Whatever happens, I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts as NaNoWriMo approaches so stay tuned!