Is it just me or has this week been passing by at a snail’s pace?
For our friends in the Northern Hemisphere, the impending results of the US election have been stirring up a lot of tension and unrest. Of course, these turbulent emotions aren’t just felt by Americans but people all around the globe.
A few Wrimos I spoke to have been too anxious to write. Others have been using the opportunity to NaNo as a getaway – a temporary reprieve, of sorts – from the nerves.
For me, this week had a particularly challenging start. Earlier during Preptober, I drew a resolution to avoid late-night writing sessions. And I have been sticking to my decision, as best I can, but this has led to both Day 4 and Day 6 being writing-free.
Regarding word count, I have nothing to worry about. I’ve written almost 11,100 words so far, putting me above the word count required for this stage.
When I do sit down to write, I tend to burn ahead of the daily word count requirement of 1667 words, so I am certainly ‘safe’. Thankfully, all the time I spent outlining and planning ahead during Preptober worked in my favor. Even on the days when I’m feeling completely uninspired, I have something to help guide me write my scenes – a roadmap, if you will.
But this may not be the case for all writers, or for you!
Writing during a time when you’re stressed due to the political climate, work or even personal affairs is tough.
On Day 3, I couldn’t bring myself to write as much as I wanted to and ended my day with just 1000 words, all of which, I ended up scrapping the next day.
Does that make it any less valuable? Any less ‘worthy’ for NaNo? Certainly not!
Not just this week, this entire year has been a roller-coaster ride for everyone. Cut yourself some slack if you’re not able to write as much certain days, or aren’t pleased with your results. I’ve been stressing this throughout Preptober and NaNo so far, but your creative health is fuelled by keeping your mental and physical health top-form.
I had this one neat little trick I used in a previous NaNo when life had given me a doozy and writing was a particular challenge.
Some days, if I couldn’t find the drive to write my story, I channeled the block from my emotional energy into, what I like to call, creative journaling.
I would write myself into the story and the world I created. My characters became my go-to guidance counselors. They would listen as I vented about my anxieties. Sometimes, we’d go on adventures completely irrelevant to the plot and yet, an exercise that would help me get to know them better while simultaneously getting a load off my chest.
I have at least 10,000 words written from one NaNo with scenes completely revolving around character building and self-therapy.
Did I use these in my the final manuscript? No. But did it help me get back on my feet and write the story later in a stress-free and liberating manner? Did it help me further, not just my novel, but my creative health over all? Yes, it very much did.
You might wonder: “can I count these creative journaling exercises as part of my word count?” I say yes.
There are certainly no ‘hard’ rules as to what qualifies as part of your word count or not in NaNo. But I think if you’re writing anything that’s helping you build the vision you have for your novel, it should be included! Especially at times like these when life seems crazy.
So if you, like me, are having a rough first week of NaNo and you’re beating yourself up about it: don’t. If you lost your writing streak because you needed time to regain your footing, that’s a commendable decision. Because you’re putting your creative health first and not succumbing to unnecessary pressure to deliver words.
As much as NaNo is about the word count, it should never translate to pressure.
Write, have fun and make the most of every day of this month, even the ones you choose to spend on yourself.
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