Who had the bright idea to make November National Novel Writing Month? I mean, four months out of the year have 30 days. So. Why November?
No, this post will not explore the origins of NaNo. I just need to gripe.
And, you know, reassure you that I’m still here. (Still figuring out how all this works with a highly mobile, busy-busy baby.)
But seriously! A month typified (in the US) by significant travel and family obligations and theatre. At least around here, everyone seems to think November is a great show month, and ours is a theatre family and theatre home.
The idea of writing while traveling is great…unless you’re the one who always drives. I passengered a grand total of once this month–despite many hours on the road–and discovered that yes, writing in the car makes me (mildly) motion sick. Literally my only baby breaks have been the occasional shower and when she sleeps, which is a thing she seemingly needs less and less these days.
And I could bitch about the time and brain space that logistics and planning and Thanksgiving meal prep all consume, but I knew all that going into NaNo.
See, I never truly expected to hit the 50,000 word count goal. I knew better.
November last year, I just wanted to see how much I could write and simply how to write while tackling life with a newborn. Last year, I counted every word I wrote: not just story, but emails, social media and blog posts, even IM chats went in.
So I wrote 20,000 words last year in November.
This year, I’ve only counted story words, the baby spends less time asleep and all her waking time in motion (and requiring my attention and interaction), and I’ve been busier out-and-about than I cared to try with a newborn. Yet I will still be within 3,000 words of last year’s count.
Sometime during the course of writing this post, I’ve realized I have kicked some serious ass this November. Frustrations aside, what I’ve managed to accomplish is pretty damn impressive. Pardon me while this smugness carries me through the end of NaNo and the crushing disappointment of having written only a quarter of this novel instead of the half I daydreamed about.
Part of my frustration lies in imagining how much more I might have accomplished in a different month. Problematic, but that’s how I’m wired. Part comes from watching other’s word counts soar and envying their freedom to devote an unbroken hour or three to writing most every day. The rest comes from setting a goal I knew was unlikely (half a novel) with no concrete measure for my fundamental goal (relearning my process and limits with a toddler).
So my point still stands: November is a terrible month to attempt something like NaNo. (But I think I can keep this pace going and have a finished draft sometime in January!)
Here ends the gripe. Now back to writing.