For those four people on the internet, who are unaware, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo in common parlance. During this month, in theory I will be writing 50,000 words of unpublishable novel. I say unpublishable because my goals for NaNoWriMo this year are not to write something publishable, but to write *something*. Really, anything, that I can say I’m somewhat happy with. I haven’t been writing enough in the past two years.
There are many reasons for the lack of writing, but mostly they come down to two things: Aphasia and Depression. I’ve been on medicine for the past two years to help control my hip pain. One of the side effects of this particular drug is aphasia – I have trouble pulling the right word out within sentences (brains are weird, people). My pain is mostly gone, but it’s taken a lot of my words with it. It’s time to get them back. The depression is mostly related to the first part. My depression is entirely manageable through behavior modification, but I have to work hard to keep on top of it. If I don’t create (or do something else that intellectually engages me like school, reading, travel), I start getting less and less motivated to do, well, anything. Eventually that goes into a full-on depressive spell and it becomes an auto-catalytic cycle, much like Charles wrote about last week. Making myself work on costuming this year has started to pull me out of that, but to really get myself back on solid ground, I need to get back to doing the other thing I love: writing. I really love to write. Yes, writing is hard, it’s frustrating, it’s painful, but I love doing it.
Of course, because of that frustration, that difficulty, I end up doing all sorts of things to avoid writing. Particularly when I hit a rough patch. Or when I went in with a half-baked plot idea, as is the current case. I’ll get past it, but in the meantime, I thought my fellow creatives at Mad Art Lab would enjoy seeing some of the ways I’ve justified not writing this week:
Things I Did While I Should Have Been Noveling:
- Dyed half my hair purple and teal on a whim.
- Wrote up three Mad Art Lab posts about old projects. (forthcoming! I plan to be procrastinating on NaNoWriMo during week 2 by collecting the pictures I need.)
- Created a Facebook cosplay page for myself. (I also started writing a post about why I finally gave in and made one.)
- Started working on a visor for a genderbend Phoenix Five Cyclops so that I would have stuff to post on said page.
- Considered what it would take to build a vacuum table for prop molding.
- Made cinnamon and passionfruit syrups for my home bar.
- Went looking for a new Mai Tai recipe.
- Got distracted from recipes by reading all about Tiki culture and its cultural appropriation issues.
- Finally started working in earnest on teaching myself Python.
- Read about pythons. (No, really. My brain actually works like Wikipedia disambiguation pages. “If you want to read about python the programming language, click here. If you want to read about really cool snakes, click here.)
- Organized all of my sweaters.
- Briefly considered taking up knitting again.
- Realized that WeLoveFine already makes the Captain Marvel sweater I would want to knit.
- Pulled out all of my camera gear to make portraits of my cats. And I do mean all of it.
- Reorganized my camera equipment while trying to fit it back into the cabinet.
- Researched the 2016 convention season to find more conventions that might want a science communicator.
- Made a list of panel ideas for said conventions and wrote up brief descriptions of each one.
- Wrote this post.
So, have I been successful at NaNoWriMo so far? That depends on how you look at it. I’m 5,630 words in, which is not even close to where I’m supposed to be. But I have written each day, which is something I couldn’t say for any other month in 2015, 2014 and most of 2013. More importantly, I’ve had to justify to myself that the things I’m doing instead of working on a book about wizarding world academic politics are more worthwhile. So while I haven’t been writing my Not So Great American Novel, I have been writing. And I’ve been writing things I’m proud of. Some things that I’ll even be sharing with you all in the upcoming weeks.
Some of the time, I haven’t been writing. But in that time, I’ve been accomplishing other creating things that I wanted to do, which is also worthwhile.
Sometimes, I’ve just been wasting time. But that time wasting is necessary to mental health as well.
Now I just need to catch up on the novel word count. I wonder if I could have my main character write panel pitches….
How are your November creative pursuits going? Are you also banging your heads against the NaNoWriMo wall? Are you making new costumes for next year’s convention season? Or are you taking some time to take deep breaths before the holiday season sets in? Tell me all about it! And if you have good Mai Tai recipes, tell me about those too. I never got around to finding one.