Things went really well for about the first week or so. Then the typical avalanche of over-sized orders and last-minute requests from clients reestablished itself. Before I knew it, I'd limped my way through several weekdays that were so busy and stressful, I had zero time to work on my book. And as anyone who's done NaNoWriMo before already knows, you can't skip your writing for the better part of a week and expect to catch up without killing yourself in the process. As much as I wanted to do this, it's not important enough to me to make myself sick over it, so I officially decided to throw in the towel last weekend and learn from the experience.
That said, do I have some free time that I can devote to creativity these days? Yes. Is that better than having no free time for such things? Absolutely. But do I have enough free time and energy to write 50,000 words' worth of fiction in a month for shits and giggles? Not even close. I keep forgetting that back when I used to knock NaNoWriMo out of the park every year, I was basically a homemaker with no outside responsibilities to speak of. Realistically speaking, I'd probably have to be in a position to quit copywriting altogether before I can pour that kind of energy into personal projects again. As much as I'd love not to have to be a copywriter anymore, I also realize that's something that won't happen for a while unless some magic publishing contract or winning lottery ticket unexpectedly falls into my lap sometime soon.
On the bright side though, I did come out of NaNoWriMo with at least a little bit to show for it. Since I elected to work on a collection instead of an actual novel, I actually finished an entire short story and wrote my way through the better part of another one before I threw in the towel and quit. I also wrote a couple of original poems as well. I'm still not sure about the potential value of the story I haven't finished yet, but the completed story and the poems are actually pretty decent. With some polishing and rewriting, I'd actually feel comfortable submitting any or all of them somewhere for consideration.
So I guess that's the way I'm choosing to see things. I'm not going to lie. I'm disappointed in myself for not being able to stick with things even though my reasons for not being able to do so were legitimate. I'm also a little resentful over the fact that I once again had to set aside writing I really wanted to do in favor of writing other people needed me to do for them. However, I still came out of even the attempt with some decent material I'll be able to do something with. No, I still don't have the ability to write a novel with my life the way it currently is... but I apparently do have the ability to write the occasional short story or poem. I can live with that for now.