|NaNoWriMo illustration, courtesy of this blog.|
Twice I've been an unofficial participant in NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place each November. I say unofficial for while I've done the work, I have not submitted it for word count verification, etc.
When I began, I understood the guidelines to be: between November 1 and 30, write a minimum of 50,000 words of a novel, only a novel but in any form or genre, and, as I recall the first year I looked up the rules, we were told not to edit, not even to backspace, but to fly forward with all possible speed. Both times I met and exceeded the word goal, though the first attempt could hardly be called a novel, more likely an exercise is writing really fast. The second was more novel-shaped and contained many parts that could be salvaged and reworked. I'm still not certain that I wish to write a novel. I know I have no wish to try and sell one.
This October, as notices of NaNoWriMo began to appear, I decided I needed to apply that focus to something currently more important, my neglected art. If I am successful, I'll report about finding my way back to a drawing practice, something I miss enormously. The days become full and I grow weary before I've done any of that work which is at least as much a part of me as writing. The fact that time seems to evaporate around me does not make anything easier. How can it be November of 2015 already?
I'm telling this because I believe I am capable of more than I do, by setting up some realistic daily requirements I can add a specific joy back into my life. I may need to give myself a schedule that limits Facebook to certain days a week. I know I'll miss the people and things I find there - my version of curating is also a source of happiness - but those stamps aren't going to draw themselves. We are asked to make choices. As I write this around noon on Sunday, I have behind me an hour of drawing, done before I even turned on the computer. That is how it will have to be. On Saturday I completed an eight-episode Halloween story, which I'd intended to be three episodes. I enjoyed the work and woke up on Sunday thinking of the characters and what might be next for them. I wonder the same for myself.