It’s almost here, the end of NaNoWriMo is within sight at a week away. The ability to officially count your 50K+ is now available; collective breaths are on the verge of being released after a month’s flurry of work…
Unlike last year, I am not certain of a NaNoWriMo Official 50K victory by November 30th. In fact, as you can see…
…I am still working on hitting the 1500 word mark…
To state the obvious, progress has been slow. For a while (to be read as still trying not to), I beat myself up about not keeping to my goals and finishing another book this year. As is typical for me, I began going all over of the things I hadn’t managed to do this year as it comes to a screeching close; berating myself as only I know how, for all the ways in which I was behind….
Then I reminded myself of a few things….yes, even I need to be reminded of the fact that I live with chronic illnesses . I hold myself to standards that would be difficult even if I was in perfect health and put my all into every moment, let alone with what my day to day living is with spoon math, migraines, chronic pain, and brain fog.
Next, I reminded myself of the fact that I’ve been on and off different medications this year that have really affected me, one of which I’m only just now off, but will take time to work its way completely out of my system. It’s messing with my ability to concentrate and thus to work, often making me feel dizzy (ah the joys of withdrawing from prescribed medication…)
I also had to remind myself of my emotional state, and the fact that it’s fair to take that into account. PTSD can be a tiring battle with moments of quiet followed by a bombardment of symptoms and demons. The upsurge in symptoms recently has a handful of causes, all of which contribute to issues with my health, because it’s a joyous circle.
Then…there is all that came with the election…but I don’t want to turn this into something political, but needless to say, as have countless others, I’ve been deeply affected by it, and I’m petrified…
So, finally (again to be read as still attempting), I decided to give myself a pass.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t given up. It may be incremental amounts, but I’ve slowly been adding to my novel Not That Kind of Unicorn. Who knows what may happen between now and next week? Or now and the end of the year?
But for those like me that hold themselves to outrageous standards, here are some things to remember:
- By starting, by even attempting, you’ve gained something– I know, it sounds corny, and in my more cynical moments, I don’t believe either, but it’s true. If you’ve put any amount of planning into it, you’ve made progress; if you’ve just added a few words, you’ve made progress; if you’ve advanced an idea related to your novel or one of the characters in it, you’ve made progress, and you deserve to celebrate too.
- You can always keep going after NaNoWriMo– nothing says you have to stop. In fact, after some rest and celebration, there’s encouragement to dive back in. Ask your new (or old) NaNoWriMo friends for some inspiration and motivation to keep you going, even after November is gone.
- Regroup for Camp NaNoWriMo– if the group challenge and idea of writers attempting the same goal en masse helps you to write, then don’t wait for November next year when you can join Camp NaNoWriMo for April or July. Use what you’ve gotten from now and start again after some time away.
- You’re not doing yourself any favors by pressuring yourself into oblivion- I doubt I’m the only one that does this, adds the pressure and the need to finish something I’ve started on so heavily that I suffocate myself, often the point of being unable to get things done. (Admittedly, a lot of this for me personally comes from trauma related lack of self-worth, but that’s a different story). But pressing your nose to the grindstone that hard is more likely to result in a broken nose (and in my case glasses), and probably a few nasty scrapes than it is to bring about a novel. You aren’t going to accomplish anything by putting too much pressure on yourself. Life happens; it sucks, sincerely, when we’re thrown off course, but it’s good to know when to give yourself a break.
My plan from here is to keep going, even as I move on to other projects, or return to old ones. I always seem to be needing to regroup, since I want to finish EVERYTHING at once the moment I start, which creates an interesting amalgamation of chaos.
I will do my best to enjoy the holiday upon us tomorrow (Happy Thanksgiving!), I will leave some art on Black Friday to Flood the Streets with Art ; I will soak up some book and movie goodness, start my Christmas baking after this weekend, and otherwise refuel and write/art on. Which is all you really can do.
What about you? How is NaNoWriMo going for you?