NaNoWriMo, How Does It Go?

This latest go at NaNoWriMo has been both a resounding success and a crashing failure. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing marathon writing sessions on Saturdays, but doing little to no writing any other day. I’ve fallen far behind in my word count, and there’s really no way I’m going to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month.

But that’s OK by me, because the main reason I wanted to do this was to get myself back into the habit of creating for fun, creating just for me. I wanted to reconnect with impulses and passions I had when I was a kid. Here’s the thing: I’m only just coming to terms with the fact that I’ve lived my adult life with anxiety and depression. Most of the time, I can keep it under control. Most people seem to think of me as a pretty happy, enthusiastic guy. I am, but I’ve also got a lot of anxiety that I find ways to work around, and I’ve been subject to some pretty bad bouts of depression (usually accompanied by intense social phobias and/or hypochondria). For the past year or so, it’s been pretty bad. I’ve been feeling more and more disconnected from those things that make me want to dance with joy. I’ve been waking up dreading each day, slogging through life as if it were a dense, dismal swamp. I decided to do NaNoWriMo as a form of self-therapy, to indulge my basest inner-child desires. What I wrote was for no one but me, and even when I haven’t been writing, I’ve been thinking about my story, woolgathering, brainstorming. I’ve been keeping my story, and all of its associations, in my head. And it’s worked. I’ve been feeling lighter, more at ease, more excited about the days to come. The times when I feel like running and laughing and dancing with joy are the majority, not the minority.

So, I’m publically owning up to the fact that I’m not going to finish my NaNoWriMo story. Not this month, at least, but probably not ever. I am thinking I’ll keep at it, though, writing when I need that particular tonic. I’ll tell you what, it’s a huge relief to write openly about failing and feel good about it. And it’s a huge relief to feel this childlike joy and enthusiasm again.


Must Be the Season of the 50,000-Word Novel

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, and I’m doing it again. The first time I did it was on my own in February, 2005. I had something to prove to myself: that I could actually start and finish writing a story longer than 10 pages. I did it and am still proud of the result. I did NaNoWriMo again the next year in the official month of November. But this time, I got bored and frustrated enough with the story I was writing to quit halfway through.

This time, I don’t feel like I have anything to prove to myself. I’m doing NaNoWriMo purely for the enjoyment of writing a story and continuing with that story for a full month. I’m not even thinking of this as a first draft. I’m not planning on showing this story to anyone. I just want to be in that mode of creative play, like when I was a kid, unselfconscious and dreaming out loud.

So, don’t expect a whole lot of blogging this month. I’m hoping to be too engrossed in telling a story to myself. See you all later!