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November 2011 – end of month review

Posted by on Wednesday 30 November 2011 in goals | 3 comments

I’ve surprised myself by how focused I’ve been this month. I’ll talk about it more below but this is what my 105,000 NaNoWriMo words looks like:

(It’s slightly bigger in “real life” ;) )

Goals in 2011 progress

I’ve been so focused on NaNoWriMo this month that I’ve done little else. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that some stuff just isn’t going to happen in 2011. Nevermind.

November mini-goals

I completed three of my mini-goals – the Declutter November challenge (I’ll post more on that tomorrow, when I’ve got rid of my final things!), the batch cooking (mostly a really nice lamb stew) and NaNoWriMo. I’ve loved doing NaNoWriMo – it’s taken up a lot of my time but I hit the 50,000 word mark on Day 11, which both surprised and delighted me. As it’s set before I was born, I’ve had to do a lot more research for this story than I have for anything else and that has been a lot of fun too – I have read about such a wide variety of things and come across some amazing resources online. My one regret is that the story still isn’t finished (which was the whole point of doing it for me) but I’ve got enough weight of it behind me now that I really do want to finish it, so I’ll continue through December. I’m still not sure whether it’s going to be worth editing and polishing but I’m glad I’ve written it anyway. It’s also helped me smash through my extended writer’s block and I’ve actually written a short theatre piece, and planned another two, during the month as well.

The problem has been that I’ve enjoyed NaNoWriMo far too much and not made time for anything else. The bacon hasn’t been made, the crochet tops still only half-finished, and not all my winter to-do to-did – but I think it’s been worth it over all. I’ll do them in December :)

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

I came into November having bought 11 things in 2011 and while I’ve randomly seen a few “oooh!” things this month, I’ve been very clearly telling myself “if you buy that skirt you’ll probably never wear etc, that’ll be the last thing you can buy in 2011” — and that’s been a surprisingly good motivator for keeping my purse in my pocket. I’ve bought no new clothes* so I’m still on 11 in 2011!

* I did buy some exempt socks as my sock drawer has seen a good number of comrades fall over the last few months – in the summer I don’t mind holey socks (and generally don’t wear socks that much anyway), but in the winter, I get annoyed when I can see more feet than cloth. I did go out of my way to find better quality socks than just replacing them with cheap ones – who knows how they’ll last but they certainly feel better quality (thicker, better stretch) at this point.

Growing & Chickens

The garden is asleep for winter – well, it should be, I’ve seen a disturbing amount of new growth out there — buds on trees, spring bulbs starting to peek through… There are a few leeks still to pick but everything else is finished for the year now. The chickens helped me clean up the last of the green things earlier in the month – and we discovered that if they eat a lot of achocha, it taints their eggs. Unfortunately we discovered that the day after I’d dragged the whole massive wall of achocha down to their run – Lily-dog got the next day’s eggs so we didn’t accidentally make them into a cake. She didn’t mind one bit :)

Two of the chickens – Ginger and Ms Mauve – have had partial moults but seem to be on the home straight with that now. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t start laying again until the new year though (or after that if it gets cold). Because of them being out of action, the short days slowing things down generally and our team getting that bit older (the ISAs are nearly two now), we’ve only been getting two or three eggs a day this month — 73 in total (or 2.43 eggs on average a day). Not the end of the world, still enough for us but we can’t give as many away as normal.

As always happens at this time of year, my mind is turning to next year – I need to decide on what fruit tree (choices: plum, damson or cherry) to add to the garden, which boring shrubs to replace with more soft fruit bushes (probably raspberries), and whether to get more staggered season strawberries or whether I should go for a glut for jams… Decisions, decisions!


Another reason I’ve loved NaNoWriMo – it really helped curve my spending after an expensive October. I was too focused on my writing to spend time browsing online shops or getting tempted on eBay. No expensive new books or craft supplies! At £128.01, it was by far my lowest month of spending all year – hurrah!

My biggest spending was on transport (taking the little stray dog to the vets and I missed the last bus home after class two weeks in a sodding row – meaning expensive taxis, boo) – £52.80/41% – and eating out (£34.70/27%). We’ve had a couple of lots of take-out and eaten out at restaurants a couple of times too. I’m annoyed about the taxis but I don’t mind so much about the food as it’s all be good food, not just junk. The other things I spent money on were socks, some things for work, and the vet’s bill for the small lost doggy.

All in all, it’s felt like a productive month – but I think December needs to include more bacon & crochet, and if I can stick to spending just as little as this month, I’ll be very happy.

How was your November? I hope yours was as good as mine!

(Oh, and Alexis, Martine & anyone else who NaNoWriMo-ed – congrats on winning too :) )


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. JO

    With regards to socks, I try to go to Tesco just after Christmas. They usually have their special Christmas packs at half price or better and the quality is pretty good (I’m still wearing regularly some I bought 5+ years ago and no holes yet). I usually hope to get a few pairs as stocking fillers for the next Christmas too :)

  2. Su

    Well, I achieved most of my November goals. The only one I haven’t done is finishing the scarf for daughter’s boyfriend, and I don’t think I am going to manage to finish it before Xmas now (explanation to follow).
    We adopted a rescue dog, Betty, who is such a personality. I had resigned myself to no four legged presence at home, but didn’t like it. Both daughter & I didn’t feel we could have another cat, since Saffy’s death is a mystery, but both hated not having a furry friend around. She worked out how we could do it & now we have Betty (a rather odd combination of Boston Terrier & Jack Russell, we think).
    I ended up having to have surgery! I ended up with a piece of glass embedded in my hand, in case anybody’s thinking of trying this, a word from the (not so) wise DON’T! So I now have a rather large dressing on my hand, hence why I don’t think the scarf will get finished.
    I also reached a decision in November,explanation of which may be long winded so apologies in advance. I am contracted for 800 hours per year, to cover for periods of absence. I also receive an additional payment, for shift working, but no matter how many hours I do, that is only on the 800 hours, so effectively the more hours I do, the less money I earn per hour. Also, the work is sporadic, meaning that some months I only take home my very basic pay. Since I can live on that and I really appreciate being at home, tinkering, I have decided from now on only to do my minimum hours and I am very happy with that decision. In fact, more then happy, it feels like a win/win situation.
    So, surgery excepted, a good month.

  3. louisa

    Jo: I’ll keep that in mind – thanks :)

    Su: doggy! I bet with that combination she’s a furry ball of fun :) Good news about the work situation too – tinkering rocks! And thanks for the glass-in-hand-not-good warning, I had thought about doing that to celebrate New Year but now I might just have a nice meal or something instead ;)

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