So if you are doing NaNoWriMo, the 15th of November doesn’t just mean “shitting hell we’re getting very close to Christmas”, it marks the half way writing point of the month. If you’re not familiar with NaNo, the full name is National Novel Writing Month; basically the idea is that you write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It sounds very scary when you say it like that. When you break it down, it is an average of 1,667 words per day. This sounds a lot more manageable, and my approach has been to really stay on top of this number, doing extra where I can, and catching up when I’ve not reached the target, but always trying to make sure I’ve written something every day.
I used to write a lot. If I didn’t have my head in a book, I had a pen in my hand, and this continued well into my teens; I would write stories, poems and songs. I had the very (very) old family computer moved up into my bedroom when my parents upgraded, and I would be typing for hours at a time, often fanfiction (yes I was part of that age group and YES I was on the Harry Potter WB forum, but I’m NOT revealing my old user name. That secret will die with me) and sometimes my own creations, but always driven by teenage passion. This ebbed away both by nature and by critical boyfriends and girlfriends, who didn’t understand my love of writing. My now husband understands why it is so special to me, and is being incredibly supportive of NaNo, whilst reminding me not to put too much pressure on myself.
Finding the balance of enough and not too much pressure is what I’m maybe finding the most testing; the words come very naturally at times, but when they’re not, they still need to come, so some element of pressure is needed. However with everything else I have going on, putting too much pressure on myself is a bad plan, as OtherHalf is very quick to remind me. My body doesn’t respond well to stress and nor does my brain, so breaking myself won’t help at all. That said, I do seem to be able to keep up the pace generally. The least I’ve written in one day is 500 words. The most I’ve written is… 5,556.
Most days I have stayed on top of the 1,667 target, or at least managed to average it out of the space of a few days/. I am genuinely so proud of myself, and whilst this might sound a tad dramatic with so many people doing it around the world, this is a massive achievement with all my health conditions, and with the midst of trauma therapy thrown in as well.
It is so soothing to be writing again. It is such a good feeling. I genuinely think I am going to miss this when it finishes, and I might have to come up with my own system to keep some kind of record of my writing, and my word count, so that I still feel like I am able to engage with such a thing! It is just such a wonderful thing, I can’t believe I haven’t done it before. And yet, thinking logically, I probably haven’t been in a place mentally where I would have been able to commit the energy to what is needed.
My physical health isn’t great right now; I am in an incredible amount of pain and I am so tired I am sleeping most of the days away, so having my writing to fall back on is like a crutch. The kind of crutch that demands something from you admittedly, but the demands it makes are such pleasant ones, where is the harm?
Today I passed the half way point of 25,000 words. Twenty Five Thousand Words. I feel like that deserves capital letters. It’s such a huge number, I can’t believe I’ve managed it. Part of me was worried I would crumble just a few days in, and whilst there would be no shame in it (you can’t be successful at everything every time, there’s a lesson I learned the hard way) I would have been massively disappointed. Reaching the half way point means I can finish it, and I feel certain I am capable of doing so, because after all, there is less left to type to finish than I’ve already written.