This was, I shit you not, the best NaNo I’ve been able to participate in so far. National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is when a bunch of us crazy kids from around the world go mad and attempt to type up a novel of 50,000 words in November. It’s 1667 words per day, every day, for the whole of November. Some of us crazier kids attempt to do more words. I’ve seen WriMos shoot for 75k, 100k, and even 300k…
This is Part II, you can read Part I here.
The Social Side of NaNo
I kid you not, this past November has been the most I have socialised since before I was struck with ME/CFS in 2005. Of course it’s not easy to socialise when you’re housebound and bedridden, so lack of it is expected, but jeez… talk about going hard and fast with it. One moment I’m socialising here and there, then BAM! Two-three times a week! With people who were strangers to begin with.
This is amazing for my social phobia. I don’t think people could tell I am socially phobic. I’ve been so socially phobic, in the past, it caused agoraphobia. I ended up getting a bunny in the first place because I couldn’t deal with the loneliness and the people I would need to socialise with to overcome said loneliness.
I met some really friendly, interesting, funny, creative, wonderful people throughout November, and in October. This whole experience has made me feel better about being a writer. The stereotype of a writer, alchocholic nut jobs, is so far from the truth. The people I met are introverted and quirky, but I didn’t meet any nut job alcos (unless they were hiding it incredibly well). All of them were friendly, could have a conversation, could have a good laugh, could have some fun, and have such a wonderful passion for writing and creating stories.
I broke out of character for this NaNo on purpose. Usually I wouldn’t add writing buddies without asking, or sometimes I wouldn’t even bother. I have this issue with putting people on the spot and then questioning why they say yes. My favourite question is – “Are they saying yes because they don’t want to be rude?” I’d rather people just reject me instead of pretending. I’m not scared of rejection as much as I am of people beating the shit out of me (reject me all you want, just don’t beat me up) and who wants the awkwardness of having to deal with someone later on when you never really wanted to? It’s not healthy or good for anyone!
I did the same with Facebook, which I also have the oddity of asking about first. I waited till I had actually met them in public, or spoken a bit online, before adding them. When they introduced themselves I remembered their name with the express intent of adding them to FB and keeping in touch so I could get to know them. I have added more people in the last month than I have in ages.
The series of events I went to were two write-ins at Parramatta, which I helped to organise, a drinks night, the kick off party, a city write-in, the pre-NaNo coffee crawl, and then the Parramatta peeps wound it all up with a dinner. We spent time after the write-ins, going for dinner, and walked around Parramatta.
The funny thing is though… I believe I was more lively in the beginning. I was more willing to socialise even though I was shit scared before any of the events (not leading up to them though) and far more outspoken. I think I adopted another personality, or embraced my inner extrovert, I dunno. Then, as the month wore on, I started to become less confident. I don’t know why. I began to question things and grew even more anxious before events, telling my partner I didn’t want to go.
I went of course and now we have a writing group, which is going to be awesome. Unfortunately my social phobia and low self-esteem are beginning to crop up with the writing group. I’ve been questioning and doubting myself more and more. I’m always worried if I’m being overbearing, if I’m taking over, if I’m treading on toes, if I’m being too quiet, if I should bother suggesting anything, if I should share anything, or if I should just shut my trap and show up to the meetings without suggesting or doing anything.
Then of course my paranoia kicks in when the anxiety and doubt get going. I start thinking people are only being nice to me because it’s rude to do otherwise, people don’t like me, sometimes they must secretly hate me, and they just wish I’d shut the fuck up. The worst is when I reach the crazy thoughts of people are going to remove me from the FB group…. Until I realise what’s happening and say, “For fuck sake, why did I smoke dope in my teens?” At which point I try to stop obsessing and go back to coping by cleaning out the cupboards…
Yep, I haven’t written anything since I reached my goal of 50,000 and have instead been trying to organise space and cupboards. My usual fallback for stress and anxiety. My novel may still be a mess, but the kitchen is looking pretty good.
Besides the obvious anxiety, social phobia, and OCD issues cropping up again (last night I realised this may be due to my ‘clot day’ anniversary approaching), November was a great month, and I’m really excited about continuing on with a bunch of fun writers and getting to know all these marvellous people.
Oh, and finishing my story of course. That’s, um, that’s there too.
I want to give a shout-out to Eleanor and The Elm Tree, her shop. She allowed us to crash the space more than once a week for the entire month and I really appreciate it. It was a great space to congregate and I’m already missing going there.
Eleanor is a fantastic artist and her store features Australian artists by selling their wares. She’s in partnership with Katie, who organises the children’s classes held at the store. Please check the store out, you might find something awesome.