As we near the end of NaNoWriMo, the writing community seems to be polarizing. That’s not to say the divide is intentional or discriminatory. It isn’t.
But it’s there.
Writers who are on track to meet that lofty 50k goal are growing more and more excited by the day, and understandably so. That’s a lot of words to write in a single month.
Other writers who have fallen behind are starting to get down on themselves, though.
And since I hate to see that, I want to have a little chat with you and offer up five tips for avoiding the NaNo Blues.
If you’ve “only” written 15,000 words on your story so far this month, that’s still 15,000 words. That’s still progress. You’re still writing and doing things and pushing forward.
50,000 words in a month is monstrous for anyone who isn’t a full time author. Hell, it’s a lofty goal, even for full time authors.
And we all know how few and far between full time authors really are.
So cut yourself some slack. Be kind to yourself. Life is fucking chaos, especially lately.
If you’re working full time plus raising kids plus taking care of animals plus you’re sick plus your house needs repairs plus all the absolute nonsense that has been thrown at us this year…
Not hitting 50k in one month is 100% understandable.
I’ll openly admit, there’s no way in hell I would have managed it if I’d decided to try Nano this year. No fucking way.
I made progress. I released a book and I wrote and I edited. But no way in hell did I write 50,000 words this month. There’s too much shit going on in my personal life, and I’m working on too many projects.
And that’s okay.
I’m human. You’re human. Our plans don’t always work out, and our lives throw curveballs.
So please, be kind to yourself. If November ends and you find yourself with 27,561 words in your story, celebrate.
That’s a fuck ton of words.
But I know it’s natural to feel disappointed if a goal isn’t reached. So, if you’ve hit critical mass and you know you can’t catch up to meet the 50k goal, here are some tips to keep the NaNo Blues at bay.
1. Don’t give up. I know this whole thing might be discouraging, but keep writing. Your story is still worthwhile.
2. Do some daydreaming, specifically within the world you’re writing to remind yourself why you love this story. It may even inspire a new subplot.
3. Take a bit of time to relax. Do something non-writing related that you enjoy, even if only for half an hour. It may just be the refresher your overworked mind needs to push forward.
4. Give yourself permission not to hit that goal. It might sound silly, but accepting that you’re human and that sometimes life gets in the way of our goals is a very liberating thing.
Paradoxically, it could actually lead to greater productivity because all the time and mental energy that goes into beating yourself up is suddenly free for making progress.
5. Make a new goal. Use this experience with NaNo to inform your goal setting process.
That nifty little word tracker on the NaNo site can be a very useful tool for analyzing how many words you average per day or per week, thus allowing you to set an informed target word count for your next goal rather than some arbitrary number set forth for you by someone who knows nothing about your life.
Now, I have to add a disclaimer.
To the people who spent hours and hours, day in and day out, scrolling through tumblr or tiktok, or sharing memes on Facebook, or playing games on their phone, or binge-watching three different shows instead of writing and now want pity because you fell behind…
This blog is not for you.
You need someone to light a fire under your ass to get you moving, not someone to make you feel better. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. That’s it.
I have a different blog for you:
Just ignore the progress report opening/ending. The books mentioned in that blog have already been released. (Soul Bearer came out 10/22/2019 and The Gem of Meruna cam out 12/31/2019)
Keep reading. Keep writing.