The Night I (almost) Quit #Nanowrimo

This has not been a good week.

Nanowrimo started Monday. I wrote 2696 words. My novel sucked but whatever: I still managed 2696 words.

Tuesday I wrote 5204 words. And hated every minute of it.

Wednesday I took the night off because I had a particularly long and busy day at work and I was super tired. I watched tv, caught up on Twitter, read some soon-due library books. I enjoyed my evening.

Thursday I stayed late at work so I wouldn't have to write my novel.

Seriously. I stayed late at work. That is not a good sign.

I really have not enjoyed Nanowrimo this year. I wrote and won in 2006 and 2007. I loved it. I looked forward to getting home from work so I could write my novel. I enjoyed my characters, the story was going places, and both times the story took over and wrote itself (a fantastic phenomenon, truly inspiring as well, I heard that could happen but never believed it until it happened to me). It was fun.

This year has been shockingly different.


Some reasons I can think of...

1. Both times I wrote the other novels I was rather unhappy. Writing was therapy. Now I am happy. Writing is no longer therapy.

2. I always wanted to write a novel. And I did. Twice. Now I have moved on. I have other hobbies which have taken over my life - namely curling and twitter.

3. It's easier to 'write what you know'. And I did. My third novel was going to be related slightly to the other two. And I thought of the idea in 2008, soon after I got home from the living out the London Years, so I was going to write loosely based on that experience (again). And that's just it, I already did that the first two times (sort of) so it got boring. And the London Years were three years ago. That was a long time ago. I am a completely different person. I rarely think about the London Years anymore (if I do it is still with regret, but that's not likely to change ever). And that's just it. I don't want to relive the regret so I hated my story. But I felt like I had to write-out my idea, get it out of my head.

4. This November is extremely busy for me. There's lot's going on, and I really don't have time to write 50,000 words. It became rushed, something I had to do, not something I wanted to do. This started to bring on feelings of guilt (like instead of enjoying watching Top Model I should be writing my novel type of guilt). I don't need to live a life full of guilt.

5. I just finished grad school where I wrote tons and tons or papers. Nanowrimo started to feel like homework. I don't need homework in my life anymore.

6. It got boring and tedious. The idea was to write a series of emails while someone was travelling, this way I could write out an email header each time (from, to, date, subject, addresses) and that would take up some of my word count. It's about quantity not quality anyways. But it got to be so annoying and tedious. I hated it!!!

So I was unhappy, and decided to quit.

Signs you know it's time to quit doing Nanowrimo:

  • you hate your story, writing your story, and everything related to Nanowrimo, thus you hate your life.
  • you start to feel unhappy and miserable, and since you know what kind of life that leads too, you get scared about always being unhappy and miserable forevermore.
  • you feel guilty doing anything but writing your novel.
  • you don't look forward to fun things because you should be writing your novel instead.
  • you stay late at work so you don't have to write your novel.
  • you stay up late reading crappy comic books so you don't have to write your novel.
  • you make stupid excuses like "the crack in my macbook cover is giving me a bruise on my wrist" so you don't have to write your novel.
  • you sign up for an online dating site so you don't have to write your novel.
  • you enjoy doing anything and everything else that does not relate to writing your novel, like laundry, vacuuming and signing up for online dating sites.

I'm not a quitter though. Quitting implies failure and I'm not a failure.

I talked to some friends. Most didn't care, they said they'd still love me if I quit because really Nanowrimo is kinda stupid and doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of life. Plus they pointed out I already did it twice. Game over, move on. One friend suggested I keep my 5204 words, but stop that novel and start another novel. I liked this idea. I was going to sort it out, but then decided to sign up for an online dating site instead (seriously, that's what this novel has done to me).

I took that as a sign that I should quit. So I did.

Then I talked to my coworker, who is also Nanoing. She was visibly disappointed. And I don't want to disappoint her. Plus I kinda said I'd organize a write in at my university for local Nanos. Once again, I became a disappointing failure.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I'm not going to go into details about it, but I am quitting my other crappy novel. I'm reworking other things, self plagiarizing a little (not cheating, I swear!) and am going to keep going.

I'm about to crack 10,000 words. And I'm actually enjoying it. Perhaps you could say I re-found my Nanomojo.

I prepared to not win. It is unlikely I will make the 50,000 words. But I am going to enjoy writing. And I am going to do all the fun things I had planned in November and not feel guilty about them.

And I am not going to quit. I am not a quitter. Regardless of whether I win or not, I am not a failure either.

And that makes me happy.