I was going to spend this Saturday talking about 4thewords, but then, after seeing several tweets flying by talking about the opposite of NaNo, I decided to change course.
I want to talk about “failing” NaNoWriMo.
As I’ve said before, I’m the type of person who would be optimistic during the apocalypse, so yes – I’m a firm believer that having 200 more words, 20 more words, or even 2 more words than when you started is a good thing!
Why? Because we make up so many different writers – fast writers, turtle writers, I’ll-edit-later writers, and many more. NaNoWriMo, the goal of 50k, is supposed to help, not be a hindrance.
Sometimes though, we have to admit to ourselves that we need a time out. Or need a goal reduction.
It could be a small one. My word count today was way under par – about 750 words. When I found myself staring at the screen and getting to that word count after three hours – after flipping between my manuscript, fanfiction, story bible notes, and plot notes – I knew it was time to do something else. I went and watched The Addams Family.
It’s not a failure to take time out for yourself. If you need a mental break, a physical break from sitting in a chair all day, an emotional break to feel something else (when I was writing hurt/comfort I really needed comedies).
You are (hopefully) the best judge of you, and if you’re not sure, then maybe now’s the time to listen to your inner self and take notes.
- I realized I was wasting time staying out today because I didn’t want to go home. -> then I forced myself to go home.
- I realized I didn’t want to go because my apartment was messy -> I spent 90 minutes cleaning, doing dishes, laundry, and tidying.
- I realized three+ hours of writing very little meant I needed a break -> I watched a movie.
It’s taken me years to understand what I’m subconsciously thinking (even two years ago I wouldn’t have realized why I was wasting time lollygagging around and I would have
scolded yelled at myself). Today, I didn’t. I just told myself “I’m cleaning today so I can focus tomorrow.”
I already knew going in to clean that there was a high chance I wouldn’t be able to focus on writing. But… if I don’t clean, then I won’t be able to focus tomorrow either. And the day after. And the day after. And suddenly it’ll be December 1st.
This works with words and writing too:
- I’m writing 200 words today so I can write 200 words tomorrow.
- I’m writing 20k so I can continue to write tomorrow.
- I’m sleeping for eight hours today so I can feel fresh tomorrow.
- (And yes, this can be social media too – I’m not going to social media today so I can ignore the negative/distracted feelings I know that hit me over there).
So fellow writers – take some time. How are you feeling? Is there anything you can do to make yourself feel better? Sending you (but only if you want one) a virtual hug!