When I decided to do NaNoWriMo, I didn’t think about how writing 50,000 words in a month would shift my other life priorities.
Fortunately, I’m in a stage of life where I have a lot of flexibility with my time. I didn’t have to give up sleep, or walks, or volunteer work. I didn’t give up family time (because we are empty nesters.) I didn’t give up traveling (because, COVID).
What suffered during NaNoWriMo? My other writing.
During NaNoWriMo2020, I wrote Morning Pages on exactly four out of thirty days. Only once did I manage to make it the full three pages–and only then because I drew a picture.
My birthday was early in the month, and I received some very lovely gifts from thoughtful friends and family. I have not written a single thank you note.
I’m also behind in writing a weekly letter to my son who is at university in London.
It’s doubtful anyone is pining for these pieces of mail. Still, it is one of the ways NaNoWriMo disrupted my normal activity.
In November, all my effort was focused on hand-writing 50,000 words. I didn’t take the time to type, edit, and post those words on my blog.
Blogging is my hobby, so there was no consequence for this lack of production.
You people who can write a book while keeping a day job? My hat is off to you.
I’m in a small group doing Lynda Barry’s Making Comics workbook. We meet on Zoom every other week to do drawing exercises. In between sessions, we’re supposed to do a daily diary–comics style.
I’m not doing my comics diary every day like I was before NaNoWriMo. But I found that when I was stuck, Barry’s comic exercises can make me open to my writing muse.
Making NaNoWriMo a priority meant shifting my other writing practices. To a lesser degree, it also impacted my reading.
It felt like I wasn’t reading as much during NaNoWriMo. But when I look at my reading log, it was no less than normal.
Maybe it felt that way because I was reading six books at a time and not finishing any of them.
Around Thanksgiving, when I hit the NaNoWriMo wall, my reading picked up. I finished three books in the last week of November. Anything to avoid writing.
I gave up Twitter for a while before the election but got back on in the middle of the month.
On one hand, I have to monitor my doomscrolling. It sucks time from my day and energy from my soul.
On the other hand, I get a lot of inspiration and ideas from Twitter.
I’ll let you know if I find the perfect formula for getting only the sweet stuff from social media and leaving the bitter pieces aside.