End of Hiatus and What I Learned from NaNo

Yes, it’s been a while. I made some questionable decisions re: the amount of work I can actually do at one time, and therefore this has been an interesting few months.

But I’m done now, thesis is in, and it’s time for me to get back into rambling at whoever on here still bothers to check this.

So the other decision I made was that I was going to do NaNoWriMo straight out of the gates, three days after handing in my thesis, and starting the day that my seasonal work ended. I tend to write a lot anyway – when I’m writing a first draft, I write nearly NaNo levels anyway (about 1500 words a day minimum). This is the first time I’ve done NaNo, and I had a couple of reasons for doing it. First, I knew I’d need something to keep me doing something during November, when I could very easily have just sat down in my room and done just about nothing for a month, and secondly, I wanted to see if I could actually write a whole novel in a month – around 100,000 words, not just the 50,000.
Turns out that, when you’re trying to hunt for another job, and also you move house? No. No, you cannot write 100,000 words in a month. You can, however, write the 50,000, and I’m OK with that.

See, at first, I was thinking I could write 3,000 words a day, because I frequently write 2,500 – it’d be a stretch, particularly to do it every day, but NaNo is about the challenge, right?
I learned that I can sit down and write 3,000 words a day, but the problem is, the way I do it takes too long. I really love to sit and write with something going in the background – anime or a web series, usually – but that would mean the 3,000 words took me five hours and I’d usually finish at 2am or later, and I’d be unhappy that I had to finish because I needed to go to sleep and all that kind of thing. It also meant I never got time afterwards to do some reading or play games, and one of the things I was looking forward to most about having free time again was just being able to sit down and read, finally get around to playing Bastion, and all of those sorts of things.

And then for the last week, I have had no Internet connection (moving into a new place will do that), or at least, not the large one I had back at the old place, and suddenly I was just listening to music while writing like I used to.
I was getting the words done a lot faster, and then I decided to check the clock at the beginning of a thousand words, and then after.
It took me, on average, half an hour to write 1,000 words. But distracted, 5 hours to write 3,000.

So, thank you, NaNo, for reminding me that anime is awesome, but slows me down a lot more than I’d thought. I mean, I’m not stupid; I knew I wouldn’t get the same amount of work done in the same amount of time when you add subtitles into the mix. But I was kind of thinking that because I stop to consider how a scene goes a fair bit, I stop to make notes on my ‘crap, where to now?’ roadmap, all that sort of thing, that it wouldn’t be slowing me down too much.

Thank you, NaNo, for also reminding me that no matter how little I think I have to do, the reality is always different. Being swamped with work and university for months really makes you forget all the little things, like that form you had to send in, or how shopping takes time when you’re not just ordering takeaway, or that you were planning on cleaning out your wardrobe and maybe you should get on that before you move house.
Or how tedious and time-consuming job searching is.
Or how long it actually takes to prepare a Pathfinder gaming session when you’re GM.

So I didn’t get my reading time, and I didn’t get my video games time, but I got my 1,000 words and a place to stay after my lease was up, and I have moved in and lost that form (and I really should phone someone about that). And now it’s December, I’ll tidy away the last of the stuff I was putting off (and get work because gosh I would really prefer to have money), and maybe start on that reading like I wanted to.

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