NaNo for you, but NoNo for me

Susan-Mermaid-avatarThat’s right.  I didn’t do NaNo this year.  The final days of last November brought on a sly, simmering uneasiness about my health.  It was a feeling I couldn’t quite shake, but knew I ignored it at my own peril.  Yes, nineteen years with the unpredictable and unforgiving disorder of MS have taught me to respect my intuition – if you’ve got the shakes, Susan, for God’s sake slow down.  And, if you know me, I’m an all-in or a who-cares kind of girl, and I felt it unwise to  subject myself to another month of NaNo stress.  Writing is meant to be fun.  Why spoil it with another trip to physical therapy?

Instead, I embarked on an entirely different type of insanity.  One where *I* was making the rules (sort of).  In fact, I have been on a writing hiatus this month in order to preserve my sanity (what little I have).  And do you know what?  It sucks.

I’m taking an online course to earn graduate credits and earn the next level of fifteen hours so I can also earn another raise at work.  That is, beyond the yearly seniority raise that’s built into our contract with the school.  If I can look smarter by earning additional graduate credit hours, I get more cash in my pay envelope:

*Right.* Like I said, mo’ money.

So, I’ve been taking this course on using primary sources at the Library of Congress.  I go around hunting up really cool pictures that I might be able to use in my teaching:

How did the Civil War turn out for these two?

And not paying enough attention, so I find this, which I sent to my son.  He lives in Binghamton, so it seemed like the right thing to do:

Panorama of Binghamton, NY – 1909

 And he liked it a lot, since he recognized the landmarks (the town hasn’t changed much in a hundred years, which is part of its charm.)

Then my local writing group, CTRWA, reminded its members to enter the chapter’s “fun” contest:  the Marga-RITAs.  Chapter-only, it celebrates the best and the worst in our writing.  Categories like “most creative and anatomically impossible sex scene” and “best run-on sentence” help exorcise the misery of our writing “errors”,  while we celebrate another year of writing good stuff (“best use of adorable child and/or cute animal” is my fave)(you are so going down this year, Kristan Higgins!)

Do you have any idea what it feels like to find your writing, hidden away while you slave over primary sources in pursuit of filthy lucre in your day job?  It really stings!  Little gems of prose are discovered, just waiting for the tacky margarita glass that is the prize (I have two).

What say you, Mermaid friends?  Did you ever have to go on a writing “diet” to achieve other… er…. achievements?   How did it feel?  And, knowing how it felt at the other end, how hard was it to get back into the writing swing of things?

Enquiring minds want to know!  SusanMermaid



About Susan Jeffery

I am loving the challenge (sometimes) of re-entering the contemporary romance market after a lifetime of raising two fantastic children (it never ends, btw). Just when I thought I was done with kids, I accepted a position as librarian to 900 boys in a Bronx private school. I'm a vintage published author, Harlequin American #206 Fair Game (1987). Winner of the Golden Heart, 1986. Currently exploring the possibility of indie publishing under my new pseudonym (see fresh name, above).

6 thoughts on “NaNo for you, but NoNo for me

  1. Hi Susan!! I’m so glad that you listened to your body–Please stay healthy!

    When we had our foster son, I stopped writing. I didn’t write for the six months he was here. Things were so “real” when he was here, unbelievably real, if that makes sense, that I couldn’t escape into my writing, and I had no emotions LEFT at the end of the day to put onto the page. When he ultimately needed to move to a new home, I fell into a depression that lasted for a couple years. I did write during that time, but it wasn’t the same at all, it wasn’t from the heart, because my heart was closed. But the good news is that all of that is behind me. I found myself again, and I can pour my heart out with the best of them!

    Good luck with your raise!!

  2. Fun post, Susan-Mermaid. I would write more, but I’m in NaNo hell!!!!! Ahhhh – 12,000 words to go. Wish me luck while my ulcer forms!

  3. Hi Susan! I applaud your non-NaNo’ing. If it just isn’t your thing, it just isn’t! My writing doesn’t flow very well at that pace either. So far I haven’t had to take a serious writing diet as you say. Not for very long at least. I used to take every summer off but now I’ve found that I like writing a short story even with the kiddo home. I hope your health and happiness are all blossoming this Thanksgiving, my friend. Love to you and yours.

  4. You all are so sweet to respond! I confess, I’ve been totally overwhelmed today with Thanksgiving stress, class stress, storm stress – all the stress nobody wants to have this time of year! I’m happy to report, though, that school is CLOSED until Monday!!! Be still my heart, I get to relax for the entire weekend.

  5. Hi Susan, loved your post. Your health and sanity is primary, good for you. I haven’t ever attempted the NaNo. I refuse to put myself under the gun. Life is too short, who want to do something that makes it shorter.Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  6. I did NaNo even after saying that I wasn’t going to this year. I didn’t comment on this post earlier because I was playing catch-up. I finally finished the book, although I’m skeptical of its worth. It’s definitely going to need some heavy revisions. Lol.
    Good for you to listen to your body instead of annoying NaNo people. Haha
    Do what works best for you, your health and your writing.
    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🙂

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