As you might have guessed, writing 50,000 words in 30 days is challenging on more than one level. There’s finding the time to write – hopefully uninterrupted time – and there’s also the matter of finding 50,000 words to write.
This is my fourth time doing NaNoWriMo and I’ve learned something important every time. Today’s lesson is: I sometimes run out of words. Well, clearly not, since I’m writing some here. I am temporarily out of words for my novel. I’m a little burnt out, a little weary. The last few days, finding words has felt like digging in the garden for those last few potatoes: they are increasingly tiny and you have to spend more time finding them.
I expressed my exhaustion and frustration to my sweetheart this morning and she offered a bit of advice from Miss Moira – a sadistic and exacting top who shares space in her skin:
“Take a day off.”
And so I am. I’m taking a day off to do other things, to work and daydream and give my characters and story some space. They were definitely feeling crowded and put upon yesterday. It’s alright to take a day off, even during NaNoWriMo. I’ll be less than a thousand words behind since I’ve been running a little over quota the past 16 days.
Additionally, I am doing something else creative today: participating in the inaugural StoryOly event, which involves getting up on stage and telling a story in 8 minutes or less on a pre-determined topic. I should say I’m hoping to participate, since it will be based on my name being drawn from a hat with a bunch of other names in it. The theme, fittingly, is ‘First Times’ and I will come prepared with a story about my first kiss.
In the bigger picture, this is a good lesson learned. One of my goals for this years writing marathon has been to determine a writing schedule that is sustainable and productive. Based on where I am now, I think that means taking every 3rd or 4th day off of mandatory writing and doing something that is restful and provides creative intake. Reading, watching a movie, daydreaming out a window, getting together with friends are all good options I think. I also need planning time, research time, and sitting and thinking time.
So that’s what today is… a day off from NaNoWriMo2015. I’m going to memorize my story (oh yeah, can’t use notes AND it’s a competition with judges) and deal with work and start out the window at the leaves and the rain and the clouds behind the naked trees.
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