I know it is now 2019, so I suppose you already know the answer to whether I NaNo’ed or not? If you haven’t figured it out, I did not. During my first NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2017, I made a great noise about doing it with weekly updates but in 2018, the plan was to just get down and do it.
Which I didn’t.
I hated it and loved it equally when I did it. But ultimately, doing it in 2017 was the right thing to do. It made sense and it made me feel great about my writing. The actual story I created was trash (but can be improved on at a later date). It gave me confidence to try new things with the blog over 2018 and the confidence to start a few new projects going into 2019.
BUT the reason to not participate in NaNo 2018 was purely for my own wellbeing. I was not in a good place from about September to early December. I thought I could do it, I really wanted to but when push came to shove, it would have shoved me right over the edge.
That attitude is definitely something I want to take into 2019. Not a quitting attitude because first of all, I did not quit because I didn’t start. But being aware of my thoughts and feelings is something I need to be mindful of. Listening to when I am not good and not brushing it aside. It’s a life skill that will come in mighty handy.
That was a huge lesson for me. I chose not to do something I really wanted to do because it would have been bad for my general wellbeing, my stress levels, for my mental health.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m gutted I didn’t do it. I had a couple of story ideas I wanted to work on. But I had to do what was best for me.
NaNo 2018 taught me that sometimes you need to not write. NaNo is fun, but it’s a lot of pressure too. Fifty thousand words in one month around working full-time, raising 3 kids, spending quality time with my husband and writing on another blog. It’s a lot, even if I only had half of those things to do.
2019 is going to be a very different year for me. On the other blog, I’ve written about what 2019 needs to be for me in general. On this blog, it means more writing, it means completing NaNo 2019, it means writing when it makes me happy and not allowing it to stress me out.
Your mental health is more important than your goals. I know there are a lot of quotes about sleeping when your dead, your hustle should be 24/7, don’t stop, never give up. But sometimes you need to admit when things are going sideways.
If you need to take a break it, take it. No, your dreams won’t wait forever, you might die tomorrow. But imagine getting everything you ever wanted and not being well enough to enjoy it. To have not enjoyed the process. To not be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Maybe it shows that you overcame if you were feeling crap and did it anyway but that’s not good enough for me.
Writing is hard at the best of times.
So if I’d done NaNo, I’d be feeling a tainted accomplishment. The bittersweet aftertaste of victory, because I would have won (NaNo-speak for completing the challenge) but it wouldn’t have been good. It wouldn’t have been worth it for me.
I look forward to smashing it this year. I look forward to a happier and healthier 2019. I look forward to more writing, peaceful, happy, contented writing.
Happy New Year!
xx woeful writes xx