People often say that NaNoWriMo, and writing in general, is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. I’m not enough of a runner (i.e. I’m literally not one at ALL) to make an educated comment on whether this is true or not, but I can say this with confidence: NaNo was HARD this year. Harder than the last several, if I’m being honest. Less like running and more like dragging my croaking carcass arm over arm toward the finish line.
Throughout the month, I really struggled with doubt, anxiety, brainfog, depression, and anger. I was ANGRY that I couldn’t get invested in the stories I was editing; I was angry that I wasn’t writing something NEW when a ton of my friends were; I was even angry at myself for being angry! After all, I chose the rebel’s path of editing, so why wasn’t I really enjoying it? I kept thinking I was having breakthroughs that would magically cure my resentment and heartache, but nope. I still had more digging to do.
Y’all, whether you’re doing NaNo or not, whether you’re drafting or editing, let’s just be honest: writing. Is. Hard. Creating whole worlds from inside your own head? Complex. Time-demanding. Next-to-impossible. I know the urge can often be to just give up, which is why in late 2017 through summer of 2018 my battle cry became “perseverance”. I even named my newsletter “Paved in Perseverance” when I launched it! Why? Because I honestly believe the ONLY way you get from writer to published author is by your perseverance. It’s not a matter of talent, because even the most talented writer in the whole world faces roadblocks and potholes and hurdles he or she may be overwhelmed by, and must choose whether to give up or persevere through it.
Success is not defined by how well you start off, but by whether you persevere when things are at their worst.
Perseverance once again became my battle cry when I was loathing every step down the editing road for Week 4. I was working on the second book in my duology which has undergone many, many rewrites in the last six years. It was hard, even after my Week 3 breakthrough, because there were technical story aspects I still doubted. But here I am, on the other side.
And with that, here’s my last roundup for NaNoWriMo 2018!
Finished Revenant King – all 170k of it!
Sent Dream Reaper to my critique partner
Started editing the sequel trilogy
Words Edited: 170,278/170,278
Goal Wordcount: NA
Scenes added: 0
Scenes deleted: 0
I MADE IT. Despite my doubts, despite wanting to give up on this series and writing in general for a while, despite a very sick husband and a ton of work and a trip out of town coming up, I. MADE. IT.
When I made it, the lightswitch flipped. I started editing the newer, cleaner sequel trilogy to this duology and man. THAT was why I persevered, I realized. Because as much polishing as this duology needs, its sequel is absolutely AWESOME. It’s exactly the story I wanted it to be and I’m honestly just enjoying editing it, no strings attached.
I am also – GASP – plotting a new book. ❤ It feels more real to me than my failed NaNo series, and I intend to start drafting soon.
Once again, I dealt with a lot of turmoil and anger as it pertains to writing. This is just the honest truth I’ve been living in, people. Ever since the summer, I’ve felt like I’m sloooowly chipping away at this block that went much deeper than writer’s block. It was like my soul, my spirit, was enchained. I finally realized a large part of it was the feeling like I’d tapped a dry well on potential stories to tell. Like I’d never have another original thought, and could I be okay if everything I’ve already drafted is all I’ll ever have? There was a lot of fear and anger wrapped up in that question and it made me miserable for days on end.
Stop placing so much pressure on myself to perform. Write for the fun of it – not for the finish line.
Prioritize self-care along with writing. What I put on the page isn’t important if I literally beat myself up every single step to get there.
START ENJOYING THE CRAFT AGAIN!
Anybody have post-NaNo goals to share? Leave them in the comments section below!!