What Gives During NaNoWriMo? My Other Writing

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.  

Morning Pages 

I write Morning Pages in Moleskine Notebooks.

I’ve been writing Morning Pages most days since 2014. For years I’ve made it a priority to wake up early to write three pages, hand across the page, a la Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way

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. 

This is a page from my Morning Pages notebook on 11/26/20. I had hit the NaNoWriMo “wall”, with 10,000 words left to go, and not a clue what to write about.

Writing Letters

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.


Where I write, mostly. The picture I copied in my Morning Pages is behind my laptop.

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.  

Book  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.

Here are some of the books I’m reading or on my TBR list.

Social Media

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.


  1. Love your NaNoWriMo2020! Your writing is so clever. Good job. I also love the comic!

    P.s. I bet your son is truly pining for his letter! I still remember getting letters when I was in college! It really was such a highlight of my day!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s