Being Realistic About Tackling NaNoWriMo

I have spent the better part of six days in sick girl limbo. Not sick like…flu sick. Just sick with sinuses, lethargia, headaches, and a lack of coffee because my latte-making SO didn’t live with me for a few of those days. With the house to myself for a while, you’d think I’d get a lot done. But you don’t want to do much when a nail’s driving through your eyeball for two straight days, or when you just want to sleep.

I have chronic sinus issues, and the headaches are getting more difficult to deal with. Used to be, I could take two ibuprofen and knock it out. Now it takes about a day and a half and ~8 ibuprofen to kill the headache, and sometimes it’ll still come back the next day. As anyone who’s had a sinus headache knows, it’s not just about the pain. It makes you dizzy, nauseus, loopy. Like you can’t focus on anything and that you just want to sleep.

So, while I went home early on Friday and had a mostly empty weekend, I still barely sewed at all. And because I’m so behind on my cosplay and so swallowed by it, I definitely haven’t looked at my writing!

What does this have to do with the title – planning for NaNoWriMo? Because I know myself. I know my health issues. I know that at least 3-4 days a month are devoted to me clutching my skull and whimpering about how miserable I feel. And I know that on those days, I won’t be writing.

I also know that Thanksgiving is in November. And AtomaCon, which will eat three straight days from November 14-16. Another Saturday will probably be devoted to PlanitCon in Myrtle Beach. These are also days that I won’t be writing. I just know that I won’t. I’ve done this a couple of years now and I know that AtomaCon is WAY too busy to even look at my laptop, and sickly days are really hard to fight through.

I aim to write about 70,000 words (or a finished book – whatever comes first) this month. And I won’t be doing it in thirty days. I’ll probably be doing it in about 21 days, if I’m realistic about my busy schedule and my health.

So that means on the days I do write, I need to write more. I need to strive for about 3300 words a day instead of 2300 if I’m going to really finish in November.

Do you have your own personal minimum word count? Are there days you know that you won’t write in November, or are you determined to write EVERY day? Or are you just winging it, and what happens happens?

16 thoughts on “Being Realistic About Tackling NaNoWriMo

  1. I don’t understand why NaNo takes place in November. I don’t participate in it, but if I wanted to, I probably couldn’t. November is always such a busy time for me. The fall is when most medical and public health conferences occur (convention centers must be cheaper then?). Plus, it’s Thanksgiving that week, and if one travels somewhere, like I’ll be doing, that’s another 5-7 days gone. Not to mention early Christmas prep (not like I ever do that though; must get on that sooner…)

    I try to write at least one scene and/or 1000 words a day. Usually I go over that, but it at least gives me a goal, and if I’m really not feeling it, when I reach that goal I can quit for the day.

    • November really is the worst month. The only month that would be more hectic is December. Why can’t NaNo be in January or something, when we’re all stuck inside anyway? Even September and April are pretty chill. November is crazy.

      I don’t personally travel for Thanksgiving so I tend to forget that other people do. You’re so right though. That makes it even harder.

      Convention space is a lot cheaper in the fall, btw. That’s why we put on AtomaCon in November! Cheap space and no competing events.

      If you write every day anyway, you’re already on the right track! Personally I have like, fifteen activities always vying for my attention, so writing doesn’t always come first. Especially when I’m in an editing wasteland!

      • I write everyday when I’m working on my WIP. But I’m a one-thing-at-a-time kind of gal, so when I’m editing one project, I tend not to work on the other. I just finished my editor’s suggestions for my 2nd book. Once I send off some queries, I’ll get back to my current WIP.

        Thanks for the info on the conferences. Makes sense to book them at that time then. I agree–January would be a much better month.

  2. Chronic sinus issues … I feel ya! I rarely have problems, but ‘ve been battling a headache and nausea for a few days now, so I don’t envy you one bit.

    Wow! I’m in awe of the goal you’ve set for yourself. Personally I always aim for 1000 words a night, realistically it usually averages around 600. But then I have days that I go in binge mode and will get 4000 plus for several days straight. I try not to put too much pressure on word count, but that’s not always easy to do.

    I’ve never take part in NaNoWriMo – but I know several people that are doing it this year. I’m eager to see how it turns out for them.

    • If I wrote every day, it would probably average that way too. For me, I’ll write hard core for a few months, then taper off and dabble in other activities (like costuming). Then the bug will bite again, often in the form of NaNo, and I’ll get back to it. I’m in that lull now but hoping my batteries will be recharged before November!

  3. I’m anticipating similar isseues. Sinus problems right now, and I’ll be traveling to see my family in November. Fitting in a daily word count is going to be very, very tough.

    • I feel ya, dude. I’m lucky in that I don’t have to travel, but I’ll still have to attend Thanksgiving for my boyfriend’s family and perhaps my own (my family doesn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. I mean, they just go to Outback or something. It can change every year though.) And oy, the sinuses. It’s better than catching a seasonal flu or something – that would really throw a wrench in the NaNo plans! – but it still can knock you out for a day or more.

  4. I am doing NaNo for the first time and, like you, there will be days I can’t write. I do have to wonder why an American based organization chose a month with a major holiday in it for this? Thanksgiving will steal writing time. Plus I’ll go out of town for a weekend where writing seems unlikely. I do wish NaNo fell in a dead month like February but I plan to give 50k my best shot.

    • I really don’t know why it’s November. I can push out 2000 words/hr when I’m really focused, so 50K isn’t too bad for me. I can catch up on the weekends, or just set aside one hour a night to write. But when I’m getting up into 70 or 75k to actually finish a book? That’s tough. 3300 words a day is HARD because I’ll burn out after the first 2000 or so. And it wouldn’t be that way if we were doing this in a dead month. February only has 28/29 days, so perhaps that’s not the best option, but it’s not like there’s anything better to do in February! It would still probably be easier!

      • Hmm I didn’t think about February being shorter but that’s true. January or April also might not be bad. I guess there’s always Camp NaNo in April and June/July (I forget which).

  5. I can’t say I’ve ever had a sinus headache, but my mum and a friend get them quite often. They’ve both had to have surgery to try and clear up their sinuses. As I hear it, it’s like living underwater for days at a time whilst being in a lot of pain. Sympathy goes your way!

    I’m not taking part in NaNo mostly because I don’t want to set aside the novel I’m writing now to start a whole new project. Good luck with your very busy month.

    • Living underwater is a great description. That’s pretty spot on, and it’s hard to describe otherwise. I think location has a lot to do with my problems. If I moved up North, I’d probably be fine, but the South is harsh on everyone’s sinuses. The weather is constantly in flux and the pollen….egads. A few in my family have had the surgery but most say it hasn’t helped. At least if I got it, they might be able to pretty up my nose in the process, lol.

      I had that thought too, tbh. I feel a bit guilty putting aside my WIP for a month to work on something else. I considered writing the sequel for NaNo just so I could stay in the same fictional world. But I thought it would be nice to rattle off something quick and different. So when I finish Paradisa and start querying, I’ll have a different novel to finish/edit while I wait *shrug* I’m not planning on touching Wake after November – not until Paradisa is done. I’m gonna push out the first draft and then just let it sit until I have time for it.

  6. For NaNo is a deeply personal challenge. A year ago I was (finally) diagnosed with ADD. I always knew there was something off, but I didn’t until then know what it was. I’ve been on medication for a year and now is the time for me. So this year, it’s personal that I am able to finish my novel.

    I hope you buck the odds and have very little to no sinus trouble and remember that I’m pulling for you, despite how busy we both are!

    • It’s always good to discover a deeper meaning to ‘why am I the way that I am?’ It can really help you regulate your life and get focused. Whether it’s helping a long-time health issue, or just nailing down your personality, self-discovery is a huge step in the right direction.

      So I’m pulling for you too! I really hope you can meet your personal challenge and finish that novel :) I knew last year that ‘the time is finally right’ and I haven’t stopped since. You really just know.

  7. I just want to make that minumum (1667/) at least for the day. I know that if I do more it’ll be awesome but with my hectic life I get so exhausted that I’ll probably end up writing nonsense just to make my word count.

    I hear you about sinus headaches. Though my woes are migraines. They’ve been fading lately, thank goodness.

    Good luck with writing!

  8. Pingback: Happy Turkey Day! | Write on the World

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