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It’s My Birthday and I’ll Write If I Want To

Well, I’m not actually writing. I’ve just had that title planned for several weeks and I’ll be damned if I’m thinking of something else! (For reference, it’s a parady of the song title “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”. I haven’t heard the song in years but it’s been stuck in my head for some bizarre reason – as I’m not having a party and I don’t want to cry…)

Yes! It’s my birthday! *streamers appear and coat the blog* (If I actually could do that, I would. That’d be fun for a day!) I am somewhere in my mid to late twenties… although if you have me on Twitter, you’ll know how old I am as I announced it at 00:00 last night. I had sort of countdown going on whilst I ate a Asda Smart Price pot noodle. I’m such a badass. (Asda is a UK supermarket chain owned by Walmart. For anyone not from the UK. Their smart price pot noodle are 35p. I felt wrong but it tasted nice!)

My birthday this year is a big thing. Not in terms of age or celebration or in terms of what I receive or anything. But just in terms of where I am in my life and who I’m surrounded by.

When I turned 25 (okay, so I’m 26 now – confessing just makes the blog writing easier), I was unemployed, living in the 7′ by 7′ box room at my parents house. I had no money and the other half of my then relationship was living 200 miles away. I was unhappy with the way my life was. I’d come back from an awesome summer in the States and felt like I’d just hit a brick wall. There weren’t any jobs going in the north of England and I struggled with being unemployed again.

But now, a year later, I’m in a full time job in London, working for a company I very much like and surrounded by friends I adore. I have my own place (well, my own room in a flatshare, but it’s a good flat in a nice area). Money isn’t a worry anymore and I am in such a better place with regards to everything. I’m genuinely happy with my life. It’s a wonderful feeling.

So much can happen within one year.

And for those wondering why I’m not writing… well… I haven’t really got a valid excuse. I hit 53K on Friday and sort of just… stopped. I ended up being busy but then even on my train ride back to London, I decided to read R.L. Stine’s new book instead of writing my own. (It’s looking to be a great book, Goosebumps fans! It’s his first book for adults so I’m excited to be reading it!) Previous birthday’s have been celebrated by hitting 50K on my birthday. (In 2009 I celebrated on my own in a cold, drafty house in Watford, by hitting 50K and singing happy birthday to myself. I had a mini cake and candles and everything. It was a sad image when I think about it.) But as I’ve already passed 50K (woohoo!), I can do what I like tonight! Post-work drinks are on the menu. (Don’t worry, nothing like this story will be happening! It’s Tuesday… joking! Never again.)

Wrimos – if you’re still going, for the love of the gods keep going! The end of the month is always frantic and stressed and suddenly busy but then you get that awesome adrenaline rush as you barrel towards 50,000 words and it all becomes somewhat worth it. No matter what, just keep writing!

Enjoy your Tuesdays, folks!

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Gracefully Stepping Down

On Thursday night I made what was an incredibly hard decision to make.

I decided to stop striving for 100,000 words this November.

You may have noticed the complete lack of blog posts the last week and a half. If you’re used to seeing me on the forums, you may have noticed my complete absence from those. My time management this November has tanked. Completely and utterly. My word count stuttered, including days where I didn’t write at all. I kept telling myself that there was time, I could catch up, that writing 6,000 words a day every day around a full time job and a social life was perfectly do-able and normal.

I was wrong.

It’s a week to go until the end of November and as of Thursday night, I was 21,000 words behind my personal goal. If I didn’t write yesterday, that would jump up to almost 24,000. The sheer size of that number scared me to the point that I couldn’t write. I felt too pressured to even get the words down. I started avoiding writing. I told myself I had the time off work and I deserved the rest. At 11:30pm on Thursday, I knew I was defeated by my own ambition. I’d written 144 words that day and was more concerned with checking Twitter than trying to get more words down. When I looked at the time I knew I would use to write over the next few days (train journey, write-ins, etc) and worked out what I could expect word count wise to write during those times, I wouldn’t even hit 70,000.

The only way for me to do it would be to throw myself into my novel and push myself until I was out of energy and even then still keep going. And I could reach 100,000 that way. I’d drain myself completely, but I could do it.

But this weekend I’m home visiting my friends and my family ahead of my birthday next Tuesday. I’m here to relax, take a couple of days off work in the process, catch up with my people here in Manchester and generally enjoy myself. I can’t do that if I’m freaking out over my 100,000 word goal. So, I decided in order to celebrate my upcoming birthday, in order to spend quality time with my family and friends, I had to gracefully step down from my target, rather than go down flaming on November 30th when my brain melts.

However! At 8pm on Wednesday evening, I did pass 50,000 words. For the 10th year in a row. And I am epically happy about that. No matter how many NaNos you do, passing that golden number always gives you a rush of adrenaline and a feeling of sheer job and accomplishment.

And even without reaching my insane target, I’ve still had an amazing 10th year of NaNoWriMo. I’ve joined a whole new region, continued to ML, reached 50K with a full time job and without taking time off to hit that mark, and made some great new friends. There are definitely worse ways to spend your 10th year of NaNoWriMo! And as I finish writing this post which will go live in the morning, I’m sat in my old region of Manchester, surrounded by old friends and new faces, discussing dressing one of the current MLs as Rudolph so he can pull someone around an ice-rink in a sleigh.

It’s been a brilliant year overall.

But d’y’know what?

I may try for 100,000 again next year.

Because ultimately, the madness that NaNoWriMo creates inside you never really goes away.

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