I love NaNoWriMo. Just seriously love it. I love that for one month of the year I can publically boast or complain about my word count and have it be relevant to the outside world (if only in regards to how while my home region is doing stats wise). I love how easy it is to find people to do word wars with online. I love going to write-ins and meeting other strangers who may have nothing in common with me except that we have both decided to challenge ourselves to write 50k in a month.
I even, usually, love the ‘more more more’ greedy attitude of NaNo, the push to reach not just your daily word count but beyond (for example, yesterday, Nov. 5th, is when the main NaNo site pushes everyone to double their word count so far). But this year it’s been a bit tricky. NaNo hit and I was knocked down. Up until the very last moment I was ready: I had planned out a daily routine, worked on what I was going to write and written an outline (pretty easy, since I am basically using NaNo as a method to re-write a previous draft of a novel). I was pumped!
But I woke up November 1st just feeling like shit. I didn’t want to write. I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I had one of the worst colds I’ve had in years. I blame the night before: on Halloween I went on a ghost walk conducted by one of my co-workers and she took us to damp graveyards, dank cellars, foggy London streets and alleyways. It was a lot of fun, but I also blame it for giving me this killer cold. I still managed to hit my word count on Tuesday. Wednesday I didn’t write a damn thing. On Thursday I roused myself out of feeling sorry for my sniffly self and went to a Write-In. The Write-In reminded me of the main reason I love NaNo: it turns what is usual a solitary activity into something a little more communal. I also managed to hit my word count for the day and then some. During one of the breaks in writing I spoke to another NaNoer and complained about my cold. She nodded sagely.
“Ah yes, the NaNo flu.”
I hadn’t heard this term before, but I liked it. It makes sense: November is the time of year when people get the cough, the flu, the cold. People have gotten sick before during the month of November and they will again. It’s just something that happens. It’s nothing that you can’t recover from, both physically and in terms of word count.
Thinking about it that way made me feel a little bit better about my faltering NaNo start. I am still behind- 6321 words when I should be at 10k- but I usually write more than my word count when I make myself go to Write-Ins, so there is hope for me yet. Also, yesterday was the first day since Tuesday where I didn’t debate with myself about whether I should call in sick and actually felt somewhat okay. Whoot! Though, honestly, I think if the devil showed up right now and offered me an unblocked nose in exchange for 1000 words…even knowing how hard I worked to get them down on the page I just might…Okay, that’s a premise for a story for another time.