What does “not really doing NaNoWriMo” mean? Basically, it means I’m not pressuring myself to write 50k words this month, or to write everyday, but if I am writing, I’ll use NaNo to track my word count and such.
I posted in October about how I wasn’t sure if I would do it this year or not, and I’ve been thinking a lot about it for months. What I’ve realized is that my creative well was completely dry.
This is going to get rambly, I can already feel it…
For 2-3 years, I think I was putting out more creative ~stuff~ than I was absorbing, and now the creative part of my mind feels like a sponge that’s been left in the sun in a dry climate for like a decade.
I think I made the mistake of thinking “creating” only applied to writing fiction, and so I wasn’t taking into consideration blogging, bullet journaling, and other kind of artistic things (doodling, painting, crafting, etc.) I was doing on a regular basis. Maybe that works for some people, but I feel like all my creative energy is stored in the same place, and I only have so much.
So, what happened this year (and last year) was that I was pouring out tons of energy all over the place, while also pressuring myself to create more, more, MORE!
Basically, I spread myself way too thin, burned out, and eventually started to feel resentment towards these things I’ve always loved. It wasn’t a good time, and I was pretty miserable. That’s also one reason why my blogging went from kind of consistent to non-existent last year.
I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo for about 10 years (I know my profile only has me at like 7 years, but I think I deleted stuff or made a new account like 5 years ago, so I’m missing at least 2-3 years now). My kid knows now that November is NaNoWriMo time, and it’s kind of cute and funny because I keep getting yelled at to go and write 😛 But, I haven’t been writing. I’m not even sure I will write at all this month, because I still feel like my creative well is pretty damn dry.
My “Ah-ha!” moment was sometime last month, when I read Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (which I really need to review, ugh). I came out of that feeling inspired in so many ways I hadn’t felt in ages, and that’s when I realized just how depleted my creative resources had been.
It’s like when you’re dehydrated and you don’t realize just how much you needed water until you go to take a sip and feel like you could drink an entire ocean after the first drops touch your tongue.
I’ve known in a small way all year that my creative well needed some filling, but I did not realize just how bad the situation was until last month. I’ve spent most of this year reading and watching more than I have in years, and I think even my mental health has been better. My only real creative outlet has been bullet journaling, which I love because I can go hard or I can do something minimalistic, and still feel good about it either way. Most months, I think I do a combo, depending on how I feel at the time when I’m setting up a spread.
Wow this is getting so long winded, sorry
Basically, my point is that I didn’t realize how much I needed to be absorbing creative content. I had been putting off watching movies, shows, and YouTube videos, or even listening to as much music (or podcasts, which I’ve only gotten into in the last year or so) because I “had to” write (fiction, blog posts, or both) or whatever instead. I read a bit less (in 2017 I read about 100 books, in 2018 I read about 85, and this year I’ve already read about 110), for the same reasons. I have to choose what to prioritize when I have time to do something “unnecessary” like blog, read, write, watch things, paint, crochet or knit, etc., and this year I’ve prioritized absorbing rather than creating.
I feel like my blogging hasn’t suffered as much as it did last year, but it’s still not where I’d like it to be. My goal for next year will probably be to more evenly divide my time between creating and taking in creative content, but for the remainder of this year, my priority is still absorbing it.
(I also realized around day 25 of Blogtober that maybe posting every day for a month was not the brightest idea, since I knew by then how depleted my creative well was, but I finished it anyway 😛 )
Does that mean I’m not writing for NaNoWriMo at all? Not necessarily. I do know that I can not pressure myself to complete a novel in a month this year. I could probably still do it accidentally, but I’m not striving for that like I have for the last decade or so.
Maybe that goes against the spirit of NaNoWriMo, but I don’t think it does. I think the core point of NaNo is to just sit down and write, knowing it won’t be perfect, but with the goal of getting the bones of the story down while having community support.
I’m definitely not hitting 50k words this month without a miracle, but I am finally starting to feel like I might be able to start writing again, so that’s something.