Last night I made a decision: I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo. In a few days’ time, thousands of writers around the world will begin their stories, but I won’t be among them. I wish I could be. I really do. This was meant to be my year, after all – the year I resumed NaNoing after a break from it my freshman year in college, after which I would return refreshed, stronger than ever, and ready to kick some serious writing ass. The year I wrote my best novel yet.
Well, that didn’t happen. And I’m doing my best to be OK with it.
I have been incredibly busy this year. I’m taking seventeen hours of classes this semester and I spend many more studying, doing homework, and working on projects. As if I’m not already anxious enough, all that work has made me even more stressed. I’ve barely had any free time, and when I have had it I’ve been too tired to plan out my novel. So I don’t have any character notes or plot outlines or anything.
From the very beginning of this planning stage, I knew I would need extensive notes if I were to pull this thing off. It turns out that I don’t have them, and I’m trying not to beat myself up about that.
I was so, so excited to do NaNo this year. I looked forward to special write-ins held by the Iowa Writers’ House, as well as events organized by the Iowa City NaNoWriMo group.
But I’m just too busy. And just too stressed.
To put it simply, my mental health has really taken a nosedive lately, and the last thing I needed was another commitment.
I will probably recycle this year’s idea for NaNo in 2017, if I even do it that year. I’m starting to think that NaNoWriMo and college are two things that should not be mixed, at least in my case.
I’ve been thinking about self care a lot lately and am trying to make it one of the central focuses in my life. I’m trying to view myself less harshly. I’m trying to take better care of myself, which includes consistently getting enough sleep.
And, to be honest, I think choosing not to do NaNo is a form of self care as well. I knew that if I tried to write a novel in a month I would become overwhelmed.
Challenges are good. Challenges are healthy. But doing NaNo this year wouldn’t be a challenge: It would go so much further than that and become overwhelming.
So instead of writing a novel next month, I will take care of myself instead. This involves such things as getting enough sleep, relaxing with books, focusing on my schoolwork and grades, and most of all feeling glad about not having to fret over my wordcount.
I wish the best of luck to any and all NaNoWriMo participants this year! Get out there and kick butt. Get out there and write the novel that I wish I could write this year, but am too busy and stressed to actually create. And I’ll live vicariously (novelishly?) through you.