NaNo Week 2 Is Done… Anyone Else Behind?

Last year, I was fairly certain that I wouldn’t reach my NaNoWriMo goals. I was not at all surprised when November came to an end and I had only written 21,871 words of a rather under developed Cyberpunk story that left me feeling like I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going. But it was understandable given how busy and stressful that month was for me. I got married in November of 2020, we were in the middle of a lockdown, I was still figuring out exactly what to do with myself after losing my job in the spring. It was a time of chaos and change, and I was in desperate need of therapy and a mental break.

This year, however, I was confident that I would achieve my writing goals. There’s nothing too extreme going on for me this month, I have clear career goals, I’ve (mostly) adapted to pandemic life. But I suppose that’s part of the problem. I may have a clear idea of where I’m going, and a notebook filled with plans, but I am working to achieve my professional goals during a pandemic. I am working long hours, six days a week, as a self-employed person who went through a major career change as a result of COVID. I work a lot because I enjoy the work, but I also put in those long hours because I’m making less money than I did this time two years ago. I work hard to pay the bills because, let’s face it, life is unreasonably expensive.

There have been some days where I’m only able to get out a hundred words, sometimes less than that. And other days where I’ve miraculously churned out over 1,000 or 2,000. But I’m still nowhere near where I should be according to my NaNo stats. But that’s okay. I don’t plan on giving up anytime soon, and I’ll just keep doing my best each day to write however much I can.

I’ve learned the hard way (more than once) that it’s not a good idea to push yourself harder than you need to. Unfortunately, I seem to have ignored what I’ve learned because I keep pushing myself too far. I get too excited about what I’m doing, or I get too stressed about not making progress, and I do too much. As a result, last week I ended up with some horrific IBS flareups and even had to treat Sunday as a sick day because my body just couldn’t take it anymore.

A friend and fellow indie author recommended that on those kinds of days, just commit to writing 10 words. That way, you can still log something for your NaNo streak, but you’re not pushing yourself too far or committing to something you don’t have the energy to follow through with. This is one piece of advice I should absolutely remind myself to follow.

Delays and setbacks aside, I’m still really pleased with what I’ve been writing for NaNoWriMo so far. And even if I don’t end up hitting the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month, this is one story I would love to keep working on. And hopefully, in time, it will be good enough to publish and send out into the world.

Happy writing!

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