Thoughts On (Not) Doing NaNoWriMo In 2015


And if it’s December, then NaNoWriMo is over. In past years, I’ve felt a sharp distinction between November and December – as soon as the former ends, I am less busy and more relaxed.

I haven’t noticed that so far today, and I’m not going to – because I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year. Honestly, that was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.

Not participating in NaNoWriMo in 2015 freed up so much of my time that would have otherwise been spent frantically writing. I really, really, really appreciated that time last month, for so many reasons.

In November I had four essays, a group presentation, and two drafts of a short story due. Additionally, my second Superheroes Unleashed paper was due today, so I wrote that in November too. (IT WAS ABOUT BATWOMAN BECAUSE SHE IS THE ACTUAL BEST.)

Oh, and the second of three Media History tests took place in November as well. That was a thing that happened.

All four essays were due in the same week. Let me repeat that so it sinks in: ALL. FOUR. ESSAYS. WERE. DUE. IN. THE. SAME. WEEK. One on Tuesday, two on Wednesday, and one on Friday. It was basically hell. I would not have made it through that week if I’d been doing NaNo at the same time.

Not writing a novel – or a set of short stories, which I’ve done multiple times in the past – also gave me time to keep up on this blog. I actually managed to schedule a TON of posts. This post is one of very few unscheduled November/December posts, and I even made a vague outline of posts to write for January, February, and March, which has NEVER happened before!

AND I HAD TIME TO READ. Admittedly, I only read eleven books, which wasn’t as many as I would have liked to read, but it was more than I’d read in previous months… I think I only read three books in September?!

(…OK, I checked Goodreads to see what I read last month, and nine of the eleven books were comic books or graphic novels. Even the two prose books weren’t particularly taxing to read – one was a collection of short stories, and the other was Fairest, which is a novella.)

AND I SLEPT! I spent most of Thanksgiving break asleep, to be honest. (I also spent a lot of time petting my cat because I missed him.) I’m not used to having an actual break for Thanksgiving – I mean, I’ve always had Thanksgiving break, but for the past four years I’ve also had self-imposed writing goals/deadlines due to NaNoWriMo, so I wasn’t used to having a break from writing. (I scheduled all my posts for that week except for the Doctor Who reviews!)

I’m sooooooooooooooooo glad I chose not to do NaNoWriMo this year. That decision was hard to make, but I soon felt confident about it. I think it was good for my mental health, too – NANOWRIMO IS STRESSFUL, PEOPLES. This month, I didn’t have to come home after class and write several hundred words. Sometimes I was too tired to even read or use the computer, so I didn’t make myself do that. I loved being able to come back to my dorm room after a day of classes and curl up in our big squishy chair and just relax.

November was a productive month in some ways and a lazy month in other ways. I turned in a lot of assignments last month, and I read stuff, and I wrote a bajillion kazillion blog posts.

It also felt like a lazy month because A) I didn’t do NaNoWriMo and B) I slept a lot. But that’s OK. I needed a break from NaNo.

I’m actually thinking about doing NaNoWriMo on alternate years from now on – well, maybe not in 2018, because that will be my senior year and I’ll be ridiculously busy, but otherwise I see no reason why this plan wouldn’t work. I really, really really want to do NaNoWriMo during one of my years here in college, and I mentioned in the post I linked to above that my sophomore year would be a GREAT time to do it because I wouldn’t be worrying about stuff like applying to grad school, finding a full-time job, et cetera.

Or maybe I won’t set any hard-and-fast rules for NaNoWriMo, not even ones that are more relaxed and allow me to do NaNo only every other year. Maybe I’ll go without NaNo for several years in a row, then do it for one year, then take another break. Or whatever.

I think the key is to let NaNoWriMo be something that I do only when I WANT to and not when I feel that I HAVE to, because that’s something I struggled with when I did NaNoWriMo in high school. I felt like I had to do it to, I don’t know, prove that I was a real writer. I kind of did it because all my friends were doing it, too. And I did it because I thought, “Well, I did it last year, so why not do it again?”

It became a bit compulsive, and not something I really thought about – I didn’t stop to consider whether doing NaNo was a good idea for me in any particular year. I mean, I loved all four years that I did NaNo, but NaNo in 2014 was particularly stressful because that was my senior year of high school and I already had so many other things to think about and do. I mostly enjoyed last year’s NaNoWriMo, but I also think I totally should’ve given more thought to whether or not NaNo would be too overwhelming for a high school senior.

I know I already wrote a Thanksgiving post, but there’s never a wrong time to be thankful – and I’m thankful that I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year. I enjoyed watching those of you who did do it work hard on your stories, and I’d like to congratulate you whether or not you officially won, but that was all I needed this year. Vicariously living through my writer friends, I guess? November was a pretty great month for me – I can’t say that it was an awesome month, because of the whole four-essays-in-a-week thing – and I’m glad I decided to take a break from NaNoWriMo this year.

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13 Responses to Thoughts On (Not) Doing NaNoWriMo In 2015

  1. Elm says:

    YAY! It’s awesome that you managed to catch up. Sometimes, you just need a break from something you’d ordinarily do.

  2. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    Yayyyy for sleeping. xD Sleeping is just really great and underrated sometimes I think *nods* And I’m glad skipping NaNo was good for your mental health. BRAINS ARE IMPORTANT TO KEEP HAPPY. I probably will do NaNo forever and ever, but oooone year I’d like to challenge myself to actually write for 30-days straight. Because I haven’t done that in 2 years. 0_0 the longest I’ve spent writing in the last two years is about 9 days in a row. >_> So it’d be a good stretch and a challenge to write for the entire month. We shall see. I am also a wimp when it comes to tough challenges. 😛

  3. Ugh, NaNoWriMo is SO STRESSFUL. It was like I finished school and suddenly I was still stressed – maybe it would have been a good idea for me to do the same as you and just skip a year. But now I have all this free time and it’s AWESOME.

    But yay you for making a decision – it definitely does feel like you have to do things sometimes just because you’ve always done it, which is so dumb.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I know, right? It’s not worth keeping a tradition if it really really really stresses me out, no matter how fun it is. Because then I start to resent doing whatever that particular activity is, even though I’m the only one who’s “making” me do it.

  4. Alexandrina Brant says:

    Yus, I agree with this. I stopped doing November NaNo when I started uni because I knew one would either get in the way of the other. I’ve not had any exams this year, but I have had a couple of assignments and essays – so much so that I’ve barely had time to edit, let alone write new things.
    You *only* read 11 books this Nov?? I read, uh, half a book. 😀

    • nevillegirl says:

      *nods* College is so busy already, even before you add NaNo into the mix!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Hmmm, somewhat? It’s been fairly quiet over here, although I did just spend, like… most of my afternoon cancelling book orders and reordering new books because the instructor of one of my courses can’t teach this semester, so they hired a new instructor and she promptly remade the reading list. And only told us about it today. :/ *bangs head on desk* We’re supposed to be notified of this sort of thing 4 weeks before the start of the semester. This is not fun.

      • Alexandrina Brant says:

        Oof, that’s annoying. Yo’d think they wold alert with at least a cople of weeks in advance…bt experience has taght me that it doesn’t actally work that way. Annoyingly enogh, this year they decided to change our feedback time to be 3 ways instead of 2. For a final year, that is frstrating!

        (By the way, my u key has jst become stck, so sorry for the typos… :P)

  5. Pingback: On Not Having Done NaNoWriMo | Books and Bark

  6. Pingback: Thoughts On “Carmilla” Season Zero | Musings From Neville's Navel

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