The biggest roadblock in my quest to write more was unexpected: reading.
While pursuing my bachelor’s degree, I lost interest in reading (probably because I read so much for school already). Post-graduation, it took some time to return to my childhood/teenage years hobby of non-stop reading. I finally returned to it this year, and began my longtime dream of becoming a book blogger. I planned ahead for this by reading for and queuing up almost all of my November posts before starting NaNoWriMo. I didn’t anticipate reading during November, but as it turns out, after reading so much for a few months I no longer have the willpower to resist checking out (or buying) and reading books that sound interesting to me. I’m suddenly in need of instant gratification when it comes to reading.
Going to work and having a social life made me realize I wouldn’t reach the goal of 50,000 words, and reading kept me from writing at all. I didn’t intentionally “quit” NaNoWriMo, it wasn’t a feeling of defeat that stopped me…I just forgot. And wanted to work on other things. My incompletion of the goal is the result of distracting myself more than anything. So as November ends, I end my time with NaNoWriMo with the following words of wisdom:
- NaNoWriMo can’t happen without accounting for distractions. How many hours do you work? Spend time with friends and family? Read? Knit? Exercise? Whatever fills up your time might get in the way of writing, so you either need to plan far in advance to not do those things (what I tried to do), or realistically expect that you need to schedule your writing around those activities (what I should have done).
- Like any goal for attempting something new, it’s better to take small steps. Nobody runs a marathon without practicing beforehand. Pre-NaNo writing exercises would have helped. I write almost daily, for either work or my personal blog, but writing fiction is a startling change to my usual writing style.
- Pre-NaNo story prepwork is beneficial. My first day of NaNoWriMo was spent outlining, rather than writing. I wish I outlined beforehand.
- My final lesson learned is not necessarily true of others, but it is definitely accurate to myself. Though I’m not necessarily a concise writer, my writing does come out stronger when restricted to smaller word limits. I can easily write a review, blog post, short story…but a whole novel? Next time I plan to write like this, whether it be for NaNoWriMo or otherwise, I might try a bunch of short stories instead.