The NaNoWriMo Blues

united-kingdomWell, here we are again. It’s December, which means that NaNoWriMo 2018 has drawn to a close. As many of you will already know, I was participating in a somewhat modified version – Polyglot NaNoWriMo, in which a participant writes 200 words in a language that isn’t their mother tongue every day, every day in November. By the end of the month, you should have a short story of 6000 words. It seems like a manageable target, and yet… here I am.

Skärmavbild 2018-12-03 kl. 18.44.19

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in myself. I was doing so well, I had missed out on one day due to a somewhat drunken escapade but had written enough on the other days to still be ahead with my word count. Then came day 16 – the 16th of November, conveniently enough. Now, some of you will be aware that this was a very special Friday indeed, in that it was the release day of a game I’d been very excited about for about a year and a half. So… I’m sad to say, that took over my entire weekend. I’d booked time off from work and everything. And then Tuesday rolled around… and I just couldn’t get back the momentum that I’d lost. And then the guilt set in.

I went to a Catholic secondary school (high school for those of you who are more familiar with the American system), so I know a little something about guilt. But in a way, this was worse than worrying about eternal damnation for daring to be alive while homosexual. I have no control over that, and my atheism makes it seem like less of a threat these days. This was worse because I know that if I hadn’t gotten so easily distracted, if I hadn’t allowed myself that time off, I could easily have done it. It was achievable. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I hadn’t even found it particularly difficult – it was my original plan to write in German, but closer to the time I chickened out and started brainstorming in Swedish; which is much easier for me as it’s essentially my job and I speak and write it all the time. I think towards the end of the month I was just getting more disappointed with myself, and it was getting harder and harder to go back to it – I was falling deeper into the hole and I couldn’t bear to drag myself back out. Especially because I was beginning to feel that my story lacked direction and that I was just writing for the sake of it – which is ridiculous, really, as that’s kind of the point of NaNoWriMo.

I suppose I should look on the bright side – I managed half of the challenge, so I’ve got just over 3000 words – which is more than I had on the 31st of October. So I guess you have to be grateful for the little victories.

I had such grand plans – I was going to edit my story and serialise it on here, and even do some illustrations… but that seems a long way off now. Maybe it’ll happen in the new year, if I ever manage to pull my finger out and write some actual plot.

In a way, I feel like I’ve let you all down, which is probably the hardest part of this to deal with. But I hope you all know that I had the best of intentions, and I’m going to try my hardest next year. I’m going to leave this project for a while and go back to my conlang, and hopefully come up with a guide to the very basics for early next year. Watch this space.

On a positive note, I’ve been writing on this blog for three years now – 2018 has been the best year yet for Den Språkliga Skatan in terms of views and interacting with you guys. Here’s to making 2019 even better! As always, thank you all so much for reading, it really means a lot to me that you’re joining me on this journey. I’ll see you all in the new year.

– J.


7 thoughts on “The NaNoWriMo Blues

  1. 3000 words though?! That’s amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever written a piece that long in either of my *native* languages, so well done. I was inspired by your polyglot NaNoWriMo, and although I didn’t take part this year, I’m thinking about maybe next year… It’s got to be one of these years before the new Elder Scrolls gets released, because I will be abandoning all responsibilities when that comes out. So don’t feel bad x

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    1. Aww, kiitos paljon. That’s really sweet of you to say. I was disappointed in myself initially but I’m trying to think positively about that. Maybe I’ll just tackle the same story idea next year and try and get to 9,000…


      1. Sounds good. My word goal will definitely be very humble indeed. I think I might have a crack at Welsh, in which case I’d be over the moon if I got 20 words of original content per day…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Why do you think I started studying it on Duolingo 😀 Blog post on it coming soon, I hope. It’s such a wonderful language. I’ll be lucky if I can string any words together by November next year !!

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  3. Hej, hej! Thank you so much for sharing your NaNoWriMo experience. I can absolutely relate to your description of this down spiral, once you loose your momentum, but I also have to say that 3065 words is a m a z i n g !! In my book that is a great success that you can absolutely brag about and be proud of! 🙂 (But I also know that this is always easier said than done, especially when you know deep down that you could have done better.)
    The day I read your tweet about the polyglot version of the NaNoWriMo I was so so intrigued to just throw away all the plans I had for the month and join in and I was always super excited to read about your updates – writing long texts in Spanish and Japanese that are not just translations from German or English is somehow such a huge barricade in my head, so honestly, I take my imaginary head off to you! And I will definitely join in next year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words, it means a lot. And as for joining in next year, I honestly hope you do! It is a big mental block but once you actually get started and it all starts to flow, you’ll surprise yourself! Beside all that, it would be nice to have a little support group so we can egg each other on. Who knows, maybe we can club together and publish a short story anthology. 😉 There I go, shooting for the moon again…


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