Why Doing NaNoWriMo Was a Terrible Idea

It’s simple, really: I shouldn’t have done NaNoWriMo this (last, now!) year. Why, you ask? Well, let’s start with the fact that this is my first post in over two months, and go from there…

The top 5 reasons why doing NaNoWriMo was a terrible idea:

5. It gave me permission not to blog. As it turns out, writing yourself a blank check to not write on your blog for a month is not just a bad idea, it’s an idea so bad that if it were a song, it’d have to be sung by Rebecca Black.

Yes, THAT bad.

The whole “I’m writing a novel this month so I obviously have no time to do any other sort of writing” excuse is powerful because it’s pretty accurate, really. My Nano would suck hours out of my every day, days that were, to begin with, unbelievably full.

Yet, when you’ve given yourself permission not to blog for a month because you’re going to be too busy because of a specific reason, it creates a rationalization pattern that enables you to keep on creating specific reasons that your busyness means you don’t have to blog which, when compounded with the hecticness of the holidays and a genuinely increasing workload, means it’s always okay not to blog. And when that happens…

4. It killed my momentum. I’m not going to lie: my momentum was dying a little before November hit, what with the departure of summer, the increase in jobs and other responsibilities (read: grad school applications), and the end of the wave created by being Freshly Pressed back in August. Still, I had the motivation of always having posted at least a couple of times a month, and I had the fresh memory of having posted every single day from August 1, 2011-July 12, 2012, so even doing it only a couple times a month made me feel slightly guilty.

You can tell this is more important than blogging because I’m using an old-timey fountain pen.

Give yourself a month off scot-free, though, and you kill whatever guilt and motivation you had built up that way. This is especially true when…

3. You feel like you’ve accomplished something extraordinary every time you actually post. I did actually post in November. Once. On the elections. Using a recycled-and-repurposed post from back in 2008. So, yes, a post that used only the minimum requirement of creativity or thought–and which you might recognize as the post that’s been hanging about the top of my blog for two months now.

Look familiar? Sickeningly so, perhaps?

Why? Well, because my expectations had been lowered so far by my blank check of not writing (see above) that posting anything, at all, made me feel oh-so-accomplished, like I’d done something extraordinary and unusual and deserved a medal or something. I didn’t. It was just a quickie post, worth no more than a minute of your time, and certainly a sorry excuse for representing the entire month of November. Which is really a shame, considering that, Nanowrimo aside…

2. I am actually a nonfiction writer, not a fiction one. I’ve covered this before. Nonfiction is where my heart lies; it’s whence the words flow; it’s how I best express myself. So why did I think it was a good idea to stop that so I could explore a different genre? What on earth made me think that I’d be more motivated to work on my second-best genre by encouraging myself to stop working on my best one? Really, it was inevitable that…

1. I didn’t even finish the stupid thing. Yep, you read that right. I made it precisely 7,195 words into my novel–the official recommendation for 4 1/2 days of writing–before I crashed and burned into the fiery inferno of work and grad school applications, always intending but never actually managing to go back in and salvage my suffering word count.

So yes, this is my official, shame-filled confession: I failed at Nanowrimo, AND managed to let it drag me into a two-month writing lull. Beyond that, it forced me into something I swore I’d never do: a formal internet apology.

So, I’m sorry, Internet. Sorry that I failed at Nanowrimo, sorry that I failed at blogging–but, mostly, sorry that you now all have “Friday” stuck in your heads.

Warning: this image could cause self-inflicted eardrum-gouging. View at your own risk.

Applications and Publications

These past few years, the four seasons of my life seem to have been Winter, Spring, Summer, and Applications. And, surprise, it’s Applications season! That, combined with the fact that I recently moved to a house that, as yet, has no WiFi, is why I haven’t been posting much lately. I spend long hours each day plugged into my computer at a coffee shop, but those hours are typically split between sifting through my overfull inbox, revising application essays, and freaking out about the fact that I have to take (and pay for!) the GRE in the next few months in order for my application efforts to actually be worth anything. I do have a post in progress, and will try to get it up in the next few days, but until then, I thought I owed those of you who care an explanation.

The second reason for this quickie post is much more exciting: I’ve been published! One of my university’s magazines asked me back in January to write a piece on my experience as a Fulbright scholar, and that work is finally through production and ready for general readership. If you want to check it out, just click here! Or if, for some reason, that link isn’t working, go to SPU.edu and click the tab for “etc”–it’s the cover story.

Yay!

So that’s my exciting little life tidbit for you all. Hope you enjoy!

(Note: the editors wrote the titles and worked with me to chop down quite a bit of the story, so if it seems choppy in parts, that’s why. Perhaps I’ll publish the unedited version in a post someday…)