NaNoWriMo Update – Week 1

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve had a hell of a week.

NaNo started this year on what I had previously considered a non-writing day. Wednesdays and Thursdays are the days that my kids spend at their dad’s, giving my partner and I some rare time alone. We try to spend that time on what we call “nerd dates” which really just translates to playing video games, table top games, or watching Star Trek in bed. In any case, that time is precious to me and is non-negotiable.

So, I did the math. If I wanted to take every Wednesday and Thursday off from writing, that meant there was only 21 writing days in November for me to achieve the 50k word goal. That translated to about 2500 a day. Steep, but, I thought, doable, especially if I snuck in writing during my work day on my non writing days, and did extra on the weekends.

I managed 1000 words on Thursday. Score! Ahead of the game! Friday I was determined to stay ahead and to get that 2500.

I did. But HOLY HELL was it exhausting. I spent four hours at my laptop in, what felt at the time, excruciating pain. Each sentence was a grind that made me want to throw up with how bad the words were. At 11 pm I finally closed the document, rolled over, and went to sleep.

It’s pretty much been lather, rinse, repeat since then. With poor mental health days, a sudden rash of cluster headaches, and the election, I didn’t have much energy for writing, nor did the process feel as joyous as I was hoping it would.

I am proud of myself for pushing myself and continuing to write every day, despite the struggles, and as of this writing, I’m only 400 words off the typical NaNo daily pace (aka 1667 words per day).

I’d heard that the second week of NaNoWriMo is when the most writers drop off as the elation of beginning has worn off and it has started to become a tiresome thing. But for me, I kind of feel like I’m experiencing the opposite effect.

It’s like… starting NaNo for me has been like starting to work out for the first time in a long time. When you first start the new routine, your body is sore for a while. It’s tiring, it’s painful, you’re out of practice and you’re asking why you’re even doing this to yourself. Is it really worth it?

But then, after the first couple of days the ache starts to subside. Or, maybe, the soreness even starts to feel good. The work out stops being something you dread and becomes just something you do. Eventually something you even look forward to.

I think we all tell ourselves that we must love writing, because otherwise why would we bother do something that is so taxing? But I think what is maybe more accurate is that we write because, for us, not writing just isn’t an option. It doesn’t always have to be an endeavor that we love. It can be something that we sometimes have to force ourselves to do. And that’s okay. It’s okay if you don’t love it all the time, or even most of the time. What matters is that you’re doing it at all.

So, yeah, I’m still tired. I’m still kinda looking at my penciled in writing time for this evening (after my partner goes to bed, nerd date is still on) and wondering how on earth am I supposed to eke out 1800 words. But, I’m dreading it less. I look forward to being able to really look forward to it.

Most importantly, I know that I can do it, even when there are tough days. And, really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

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