The Truth About NaNo

Current NaNo Word Count: 18,825 words

State of Mind as a GIF: Leaning into the 2020 chaos

Alexis from Schitt’s Creek saying “It’s called an immersive experience!”

Well hasn’t this November been SOMETHING already, huh? 🙃 I should have expected nothing less from a NaNo taking place in this crazed year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Twenty, and YET there’s part of me that still can’t believe its only been November for 15 days instead of 3 years.

Given what a chaos year this pandemic, social unrest, and the third act of a sham presidency has put us through, it felt only right that my NaNo efforts lean into the chaos and just give it what it wants. So for my project this year, I am being a rebel and don’t really have a project. If you were to check my profile on their site, I described my project as “Assorted Writings” which I guess works, but here is just some of what those writings have included so far in the past two weeks…

  • The beginnings of a new, contemporary, queer YA romance
  • A fresh start on my YA space fantasy from last NaNo
  • Random journal entries about life in the time of covid
  • A number of unrelated poetry inspired by random prompts
  • Some creative non-fiction one offs about my childhood
  • A Destiel fan fiction, because, sure, why the hell not?

So yeah, a *smidge* all over the place. But I tell you what… amidst everything terrible that has happened this year? Approaching NaNo like this has been FUN. I wake up each day with no plans and no guarantees, just the urge to sit down at my laptop and knock out SOMETHING. Just going with this creative flow and following the muses wherever they decide to string me along to has been really freeing, especially after so many long months rewriting STILL THE STARS as a verse novel. (Which I am just now realizing I never properly blogged about because *gestures at the crumbling planet* 😭) Oh, and publishing my second poetry book of course.

I am just finding that even while I am dealing with so many other distressing things, NaNoWriMo is doing what it has always done—give me something hopeful to focus on.

Of course I miss the write ins. I miss hanging out with fellow wrimos over Panera mac & cheese or grabbing Saxbys on a writing sprint break or throwing excess Halloween candy across the tables at each other for encouragement. But seeing their faces on Zoom, while melancholy in one respect because we can’t physically all be together, has also been a beautiful reminder of what NaNo is at its core—a beautiful, supportive community.

NaNo has never been about writing in a specific place, or even about hitting 50,000 words. It is about finding inspiration in any way you can. It is about determination and discipline, even when odds are stacked against you. Its a reminder that no matter what life tries to throw at us, we must hold onto and fight for our stories. We must tell them, in whatever way makes sense for us. We must not give up on them, even when the world tries forcing us to.

I hope more than anything that this time next year, I’ll be back in those spaces with folks. Maybe working on a new novel, or maybe trying this whole “caution to the wind, I write what I want” journey again. Who knows? What I do know, is that no matter what, NaNo has always been there for me, and in years like this, I could not be more grateful for it. Here’s to whatever stories come of it.

Featured Photo by Rana Sawalha on Unsplash

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