Across the world for the month of November, writers take part in NaNoWriMo, attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Me included. However, for me, this first weekend of November is a tough time of year. It marks the sixth anniversary of the day I came within an hour of death and had to stay in the hospital for five days. That was on top of all the other illness stuff I was managing at the time. To be honest, I get a little wonky just after Halloween. Having this challenge start while I get all weird in my head is perfect for me. It gives me a better focus.
It blows my mind that I’m taking this on for the second year in a row. I’m happy to report I won last year with a word count of 50,589 words in twenty-eight days. I took two days off, one to get tattooed (thank you Theresa!) and one to place my orders on Black Friday. Since I make calendars, ornaments, and illustrate my own Christmas cards, I need a day to get organized and my orders in while the sales are good, and there’s plenty of time for free shipping.
Last year participating in NaNoWriMo, I learned a few things. One is that I type faster than I thought. That was a huge help. If I dedicated one and a half to two hours a day, with a few longer days on the weekend, I was able to stay on top of my goal. Some days I didn’t have a full hour and a half, so I snuck in what I could and made up time another day. The more days I wrote, the easier it was for me to keep up. I took a trip to Montreal with my husband, which I’ll be doing again for Veterans Day Weekend, and I brought my laptop. We set a time limit on my writing so I could balance time with him and my goal. Having support helps. Even Thanksgiving morning before I headed to my brother’s house, I got up early and wrote while my husband slept.
When I did this last year, it was the third month of my new job, and I don’t think I took the best care of myself. After my body went through so many years of illnesses and damage, I have leftover health issues that need to be managed. This year I’m working on that. I’m building in daily walks after work before I sit down to write. I need fresh air, sunshine, and a chance to move my body. Also, I’m keeping up with my morning swims. Moving helps my brain and I think better in water. More than anything else, even if it keeps me from making the goal, I must make myself a priority. However, I’m competitive by nature, and I want both. Me being taken care of, and I want to win.
If this is your first year taking on NaNoWriMo or if it’s your twentieth, good luck to you. I love seeing everything people are doing to help themselves out. I’m not much of a pre-planner. I capture ideas, then I jump in feet first and sort it out later. I probably should be better at the planning side. I admire the people who have created beautiful plotlines and color-coordinated charts. My favorite tool is Noisily. I set a timer with a white sound and block out the world for a while. The longest I can sit is an hour and a half at a stretch. Then I take a break and start again. Some people use typing tools with no internet connection, and some have special snacks. Some go to groups and do words sprints. I say try it all and keep your fingers moving. That’s the point of it. Not the 50,000 words, but the doing of it. Isn’t that kind of the point of most things anyway?