Oh boy. Nothing makes me squirm more than having to go back on my word. When I say I’ll do something, I’ll do it. I keep commitments, even when those commitments are a commitment to myself and no one else cares whether I keep them or not.
But last night, Thursday night (the 7th of November for anyone wanting to revel in how quickly it took me to give up) I found myself getting so worked up over NaNoWriMo. It’s a commitment to spend the month of November starting and finishing a whole novel, all 50,000 words of it. I’d been excited about it all year, or at least since the trauma of last November wore off and I’ve spoken about it over on my Instagram a whole bunch of times.
Last night, I really thought about it and I decided that it was too much. It’s at a terrible time of year, while you’re trying to think about Christmas gifts and organise get-togethers and still keep all your hours of your paid work up.
Predictably last night, I found myself scrolling on Facebook and a mere 5 minutes after I decided I wanted to give up writing my book this year, someone in a NaNo group I’m a member of posted why she’s not giving up. I think it was supposed to be inspirational but it just made me get all weepy. “You can always find 5 minutes in the day to write,” she said.
5 minutes is not really enough time to write, not for me anyway. Not to get anything of substance down. I’m also trying to get in my bible reading time (never as short as 5 minutes either), get those 30 minutes of exercise, get 8 hours of sleep, work at my job, cook meals and watch all the TV that you’re supposed to watch to keep up with every single pop culture reference. And I live alone! I have more time than most to myself but I was OVERwhelmed.
The sheer volume of words is not usually a problem for me. I write everyday at work, I’m no stranger to getting those word counts up. This year, I found it difficult to hit anywhere near the targets each day. I started strong and then it was all downhill from there. And if you know anything about NaNoWriMo, you can let yourself get about 2 days behind before things start to get out of hand. You need to spend more time catching up, time that no one has.
The feeling of finishing NaNoWriMo is incredible. It’s relief and accomplishment combined and it’s great. Usually the thought of that feeling can keep me going through the month but this year it was not enough. The stress by far outweighed anything else.
I’m disappointed in myself, that much is true. It’s the first year I’ve declared a novel and not won. It’s frustrating and I hate that I can’t keep going on it. But I already feel lighter with the prospect of Christmas and real time to spend on my own without feeling guilty that I’m not writing.