For the 16th November in a row, I’m taking on NaNoWriMo*, and for the first time in ages, I’m not sure I can do it.
October wasn’t productive, for good reasons. On top of health and energy issues, two members of my household came down with COVID**, which stressed me out so much that there were days where I didn’t write at all. We’re still under quarantine, and my health is still bad, so it’s possible that I won’t be able to write for NaNoWriMo either.
As a result, I seriously considered skipping NaNoWriMo this year, but just the thought of it made me intensely sad, the same sort of sad I felt when I was considering selling my piano. Participating in NaNoWriMo has become a tradition for me, part of my identity. I’m someone who writes a new book every November.
This weekend, a friend on Facebook said he was not going to do his usual yard decorations for Halloween because he was too busy caring for his wife after her recent surgery. I wasn’t surprised; he puts up an amusement park’s worth of decorations, many he’s made himself. But I was very happy when he confessed yesterday that he was sprucing up some tombstones and putting out more than just the pumpkins after all.
He reminded me that we don’t have to make the soul-destroying sacrifice of giving up on our traditions completely. We can show up and do what we can do. Doing just a little can still give us joy .
So I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo again, setting my personal goal at 10,000 words instead of 50, 000. I have not a clue what I will be writing and realize it will be a challenging month, but I also know there will be some fun. I don’t need to make my word count goal to enjoy this.
*November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.
**Both my family members are much better and did not need hospitalization, thank goodness. So far the rest of us haven’t caught it. We’ll get tested tomorrow. Fingers crossed!