NaNoWriMo, Jamuary, and a 5K!

So, I don’t do the New Year’s resolutions thing; I never have. Instead, I try to step back every year around my birthday in late summer and take stock of the previous year, and look ahead to what’s going on. This year I made a conscious decision to try to set reasonable monthly goals for myself and see how I did at the end of each month. I’ve been using a modified bullet journal for goal-setting and tracking for the previous year, doing a bit more up-front planning and thinking and reflecting at the beginning of each month. September and October were largely intangible gains, for a variety of reasons — I started with a new group at Google and there was lots to ramp up on, focusing on diet and nutrition, and a few other things like finishing up a writing workshop with Gotham Writers Workshop. In November, I attempted NaNoWriMo again. My first attempt, a few years ago, ended with about 4K words written; I hit a wall and just couldn’t press on very early. This year, I resolved it would be different in several ways — I’d schedule time for writing, I’d go into it with an actual outline instead of a few key scenes, and I’d write through the tough spots. By 25-November, I’d put down 51,000 words and had finished a rough draft of a novella I’d been thinking about for five years. I’ve written that much in a spurt before, but never while working full time. It was brutal some days, but it reinforced the value of just showing up, planting your butt in the chair, and investing the time it takes to reach a goal. It also taught me the value of close tracking and celebrating small wins — every 500 words was the boost that got me to write another 250 or 500. Fresh from my NaNoWriMo success, I picked a 5K to train for. I’d been stepping up activity anyway, so I picked a trail run nearby in early February, found a couch-to-5K training program, and signed up for it. I’ve been running two or three times a week since then, and have discovered that I don’t hate exercise nearly as much as I thought I did now that I seem to be doing it right, and again, it’s the small wins that are self-reinforcing. Seeing the little training runs stack up in Garmin Connect is really encouraging. And I’m just plain feeling better the days I run. I am still heavier than I ought to be, and slower than I ought to be, but I feel better than I’ve felt in years. For January, I’m partaking in #jamuary to explore the music I like to create, trying to record a little musical sketch every day of the month. This will be difficult, as there’s already a week I’ll be traveling, but I plan on bringing either a Pocket Operator or my OP-Z for those days. Other days may be either electronic or (gasp!) the piano. With these, I am working to embrace the fact that I am the rawest of amateurs at all of these pastimes: music, fiction writing, and fitness. But I love the first two, and may have found that I enjoy the third far more than I thought.

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