NaNoWriMo Lessons Learned – report one

I’m beginning to think the National Novel Writing Month should be retitled to the National Why I’m Not Writing My Novel Month. If you want to find out why the words are not showing up on the page, this is the exercise that will bring all that to light. In my case, it’s mostly because my idea about what I do with my time and what I think I do are some distance apart. Like, in different towns.


Keep in mind that I’m not talking about scheduling inconveniences like landslides, volcanoes, or abduction by space aliens, although as the month carries on, those might seem like attractive options. Let’s face it, if a crisis is big enough, writing falls off the radar and rightly so. What I’m encountering is the part where writers are nibbled to death by ducks—in other words, small things that gum up the works. 🙁

That’s not to say anything super-unusual happened, but my attention has been drawn to the fact that I undertake many “writing-like” but not actual writing activities. A night out at a lecture to gather ideas. A night out with my critique group. A night out talking about writing instead of doing it. And then there are the weekly classes at my gym. All worthy endeavours, but not bum-in-the-chair writing time.

Now, one might argue such things are vital to a balanced life. Yes, they are. However, NaNoWriMo is not about a balanced anything. It is imbalance in favour of writing 50,000 words in 30 days and these, lovely, social moments are exactly why the word counter isn’t climbing the way it should. Ironically, I always considered myself something of a hermit. Apparently I’m not as antisocial as I thought!


The lesson? If you’re going to bite off a heroic chunk o’ wordage, there will be sacrifices. Perhaps modern communication devices should be the first to go. Then, perhaps all social acquaintance. If that doesn’t work, a stint in a cloisters might be in order–at least for the month of November.

Have you ever made an unexpected discovery about the way you spend your time?

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