November Is for Writing

I’m in a peculiar place this year. I’m back in college after years away, and between classes and study that’s 30-40 hours a week. I also am actively  looking for a job–in my area that most likely means seasonal retail, with erratic scheduling and ridiculous managerial expectations–finances require it. So there’s another 25-30 hours a week. Add in important stuff like needlework, cooking, laundry, supporting a cat with severe anxiety issues, and sleeping and there’s not a lot of time left over for NaNoWrimo. As you may have noticed, there hasn’t been enough time left over even to blog lately.

But I get obsessive, and November is for writing.

In the past, with fewer demands on my time and energy, I’ve failed to meet a 50K word count. I have no reason to believe that this year will be easier. Most of the people I’ve talked to have told me that I shouldn’t participate this year because of the demands on my time. Normally I’d look at the amount of free time I’ll have and say “There’s no point in trying…I can’t possibly win.”

I’m planning on participating anyway, to see how much I can accomplish.

For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a national writing event, in which participants attempt to write a fifty thousand word (or more) novel in the month of November. One of the key factors in achieving this word count is to simply write, without editing. In NaNoSpeak, it’s called turning off your inner editor.

In addition to turning off my inner editor, I’m turning off my inner competitor. I still plan on writing daily, and that magic 1667¹ will be my goal, but I’ve given myself permission to write less. For the first time it will be less important that I write a certain number of words a day, and more important that I write something each day that moves the story forward.

It still won’t be easy; I’m going to get stressed because of my coursework. I’m going to get stressed because of my job, or continuing lack of one. I’m going to get discouraged because I’m not producing enough words to “win.” But not writing will be worse.

Since August, I’ve been focused on school, and rightly so. Any spare time I’ve had, I’ve used for quick needlework projects. And since August there’s been a story brewing. Saying it’s in the back of my mind would be misreprensenting it; it’s right there in the middle of things. School is an hour commute each way; when I’m driving, I’m thinking about this story. When I’m not sleeping–happens a lot, chronic insomnia–this story is what’s playing in my head. For the most part I’ve managed to keep the writing compulsion at bay by promising to write later. Consciously, I meant December, between semesters. Subconsciously…well, November is for writing.

Follow me as I try to balance school, work (hopefully), and writing from now until the end of November.

¹A word count of 1667 daily for thirty days yields 50,010 words.

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