NaNo Rethink.

And the days march on ever closer to November and a great number of things that will occur in this particular November, you may not be totally surprised (assuming you’ve been paying attention) that I am waffling a bit on the extent of my participation with NaNoWriMo.

I think it was a single night of really poor sleep that woke me up to the reality of the situation. If it takes me roughly two hours a day of writing to meet the goals of around 2000 words/day, then I can’t afford to miss a day like I did with my “training” leading up to November 1st. By missing a day, I then have to write for roughly four hours the next day. Between any number of real-world responsibilities I have (and a few quirks), it isn’t inconceivable that I’ll be playing catch-up for most the month and likely not rising to the challenge. Here are some of the factors that may interrupt my process of writing a minimum of 1667 words a day:

  • November is going to have one of the more contentious elections in the history of the United States, with political leaders long ago trying to call into question the results of the processes necessary to make voting safe for the voters in a pandemic year. Though there has been very little reason to believe fraud will be committed, nonetheless, those in power want to call into question any results borne out of absentee voting, especially if those results are not in their favor. As much as I prefer to avoid politics stay out of this blog, there is genuine hand-wringing on my part about how some of the public will handle results if they are not in favor of their preferred candidate. With the rise in violence associated with politics this past year, I am fearful for my family’s safety and the first few weeks of November will have me on edge, at least until emotions settle down. This may be the primary distraction this year preventing me from being focused on writing and I’m sure the word count will be down as a result.
  • November is also the month in which I have twin girls celebrating their birthday. I need to break away from writing at least long enough to help them celebrate.
  • The pandemic is on a third wave by all accounts, and I think it will be exacerbated by the first bullet point along with folks trying to gather in family “crowds” for the next bullet point.
  • Thanksgiving. The holiday that I don’t have any fond memories of growing up. I was the black sheep from my preteen years onward and Thanksgiving combined with Christmas was the season in which I was bludgeoned to hell with snide comments about the way I dressed, the music I listened to, my assumed sexuality, my perceived “weirdness”. Near the end of my teen years, I was basically incapacitated with depression and stomach aches from Halloween until New Years, dreading the required family get-togethers and emotional abuse. I’ve never developed a like for the holiday season, even after the larger family faded with the death of my grandparents. My mother, on the other hand, wants to ignore the pandemic and try to recreate those days, so there is a good chance I will be fighting guilt trips for the better part of the month either because I won’t do Thanksgiving, or because I won’t have a large celebration for the twins’ birthday, of both.

I’m sure there are other distractions, but those are the big ones. Birthdays, political stress, resisting super-spreader events or a bullet to the head for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (only a slight exaggeration)…

Instead, I think I’ll set a weekly goal of not writing a novel (which is yet another stressor), but of a number of short pieces. I haven’t decided on a number yet, but I think it might be reasonable to say I’ll write four or five flash-fiction length or short story pieces a week in lieu of 50k words a month. It keeps with the spirit of focused writing for a single month and I’ll continue to track my word counts as if I were writing a novel (just not adhering to the concept of a cohesive single piece.

I’m just being realistic in the face of so many uncertainties. The sad fact that I have to worry about such things due to the potential activities of other people speaks volumes.

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