How I Learned to Stop Worrying About NaNoWriMo and Embrace My Bombing Wordcount

Okay, I was going for Doctor Strangelove meets NaNoWriMo there. For a while now I’ve been feeling like NaNoWriMo ate my soul. Other people on Twitter and forums seem to adore NaNoWriMo and seem to be able to just spit out words and meet their word count goals effortlessly.  I am not one of those people.

Someone was telling me about the curse of the second book.  I can’t claim to have this curse since Threads of Fate is still resting on my hard drive in an amniotic state. I can empathize with this pressure, however, that I want to create something that’s “the same thing, but different” with what I am crafting this time.

I’ve had to admit to myself that a) I physically have not been able to sit in front of the computer as much as I would like this month, and b)  that  it doesn’t matter because I’ll finish my second novel in my own time.

The “at this rate you’ll finish your novel on x date” ticker in NaNoWriMo is stressful for me.  It causes undue stress, and I’ve decided that I’m combining both documents.  Document A for the original story and Document B, what I was using to keep track of what I had accomplished during NaNoWriMo, so now I’m no longer able to differentiate what was written in November.  I know it was approximately 20k words.

How did I get to this point? Step one: I had an epiphany that first drafts all suck and that it’s okay if this one does.  I went through five major revisions of Threads of Fate and guess what… it’s still not perfect and it never will be.  Perfection is impossible.
Step two:  My critique partner encouraged me to make my creative mind happy.  He told me what works for him (multiple WIPs, video games). For me, it’s reading and watching quality TV.  I know that sounds lazy, but I’m very particular about the TV that I watch — Westworld, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time, etc.  My husband and I discussed Westworld tonight and that made my creative mind very happy. Sounds simple enough, but I hadn’t been doing this.   I’d just been pushing the creative well without allowing it to replenish or even considering what made mine replenish.

4 Replies to “How I Learned to Stop Worrying About NaNoWriMo and Embrace My Bombing Wordcount”

  1. I find NaNo quite stressful too! I haven’t had nearly enough time to write, and when I do get chance I’m often tired, exhausted and very unmotivated. That said, because NaNo has been hanging above me it has made me write more than I normally would… It means I think about writing more often than I used to. I think different things work for different people, and it’s about finding the best thing for you as an individual. Not to mention the realisation that all first drafts suck is a big one! It came to me as well, and that was a huge deal for me.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I agree that finding what works for you as an individual is the most important thing. That’s what I love about the Camp NaNoWriMo events the most — I can tailor them to fit my style.

      1. That’s perfect then 🙂 I think there’s so much pressure to “be” a certain way or “do” a certain thing that we just forget to be ourselves and do what works for us! NaNo is great for discovering that 🙂

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