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4 Reasons Why I Decided Not to Participate in NaNoWriMo This Year

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I found out about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) at the end of October 2012, so I began plotting a story. For the next three consecutive years, I wrote a story a year. I never got any higher than 30,000 words, though. This year, I decided to take the month of November to focus on my life outside of writing a novel for the following reasons.

1. It Took Its Toll on my Sanity

The first time I tried to write a novel, I was in my junior year of high school and being an author was the only thing I had dreamed of, so hearing about this month-long writing fest drove me wild. I began writing so much that I got to the point that whenI Skyped with my boyfriend, the only thing he would hear was the sound of me typing vigorously for hours on end. I would eat, drink and breathe this novel to the point that I wasn't doing well in my classes. It literally took a toll on my life. I can't have that obsession in my life again.

2. I Forgot About Basic Personal Hygiene

Writing my stories got me to the point that that was the only thing that I was thinking about. I would become so obsessed with going home to write my story that my health faded. I'd get so wrapped up that I would forget about basic necessities such as showers, eating and drinking. That was too much for me.

3. I Stressed Myself Into Sickness

When I wasn't writing, I was thinking about writing. On the days that I didn't write, I would stress until I could. I got so stressed about trying to write those 50,000 words that I would get sick. The more days that I missed, the more I would stress to the point that my boyfriend threatened to take my computer away because of how much stress I was causing myself.

4. It Was an Unattainable Goal for Me

To get in 50,000 words in a month, I'd have to write around 1,700 words a day, which is hard to be honest. Even when I was unemployed and out of school, the idea of writing that many words a day may have been nice, but the reality of writing that many words a day is that it's impractical for me. I have ADHD and trying to write a lot is intimidating. (While writing this article, I've gone to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter since I started, so that tells you how long it takes me to write something short. Imagine how long it would take for something as long as a novel.)

Writing a novel in a month can be fun for anyone that enjoys writing and can keep up a good rhythm while writing. I, however, have to continually think of ideas to include and backstories for even minor characters. While I realize that not everyone has the same problems as I do, I also realize that some of these reasons may be relatable for some people (especially No. 4). I hope that my explanation for not participating this year helps someone else.

If you choose to write a novel, don't try to build it in a month. Your story will always be waiting for you. It's okay to take your time.
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