The Wednesday Pen || Why I’m Not Doing NaNoWriMo This Year

Wednesday Pen banner, showing a feather quill with a scribble of ink

Normally, I write a very different post in November.

I also write it at the beginning of the month, and it goes a little something like “I’m already 5k into NaNoWriMo!” or “Help me, I’m somehow 10k behind my word goal and we just started”. But this Wednesday Pen installment isn’t about celebrating the number of words I’ve written this month.

Honestly, it’s kind of celebrating not writing at all.

So here we are, halfway through NaNoWriMo 2021, and for the first time in seven years, I’m not participating. Knowing that, what comes next?

My relationship to my writing is rocky right now.

Part of the reason I decided to let NaNo go this year is because I feel like I hate every word I put on the page. Nothing seems to come out the way I want it to, the way I need it to, and it’s disheartening. On a logical level, I know the only solution to this is to keep going. This is a normal part of skill progression, where you’re learning new techniques but don’t quite excel at them yet.

On an emotional level, though, it makes me want to scream into my pillow and then go have a milkshake so I can at least have something tasty to enjoy while I sulk. Why is it taking so long to get better? Why is every scene a hot mess?

Given all the other stressful things about 2021, I decided I didn’t need NaNo to make these feelings of inadequacy worse. It’s not fair to my brain, after all the other things I’ve put it through over the last couple years. Plus, a break is better than burnout. I know which one I prefer.


I’ve also got two baby bunnies to look after.

Far and away a more positive reason not to do NaNo, Cherry and Chicory are still a time-consuming reason not to do it. They’re almost twelve weeks old now, which means they’re just about fertile. Which also means I’ve had to separate them and be very carefully to only let one out of the pen for exercise at a time. Not only do I want to avoid the baby buns making more baby buns, but I don’t want them to hurt each other attempting to make said baby buns.

Thankfully, I only have to do this until the beginning of January, when they’ll be old enough for safe spaying and neutering. It just makes my life a little tricky in the meantime, and means I have to do everything twice. Clean two litterboxes, change bedding in two pens, clean two food bowls, refill two water bowls. And the big one? Hold two supervised exercise sessions, since they’re too young to be trusted to free-roam, and can’t even do supervised exercise time together yet.

I cannot wait until it’s safe to house them in a single enclosure again. It’s unbelievable how much time it’ll free up.


Just because I’m skipping NaNoWriMo doesn’t mean I’m skipping all writing, though.

All this means is that I’m not doing 50k in a month. My beloved NaNoWriMo streak is broken, but for good reasons. Healthy reasons, I might even dare to add. Plus, I can write at my pace. A few hundred words here or there whenever I like is far less stressful than a set amount each day (or risking falling behind schedule).

For now, I’ve mostly been working on little character bios to help myself out in the future, along with some planning for a D&D campaign I’m running. Forget weaving the whole tapestry this month! I’m taking it one thread at time, piecing them together when they’re ready and not before that.

I’m surprised about how good it feels. 💛

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