It was the Week after NaNoWriMo…

And not a word was written.

Or, not a lot anyway.

For someone who had hit 50K words in the first 9 days of NaNo, I found myself at a distinct loss for words. The honest truth was that I’ve drained myself a little bit. Writing takes so much energy that blasting out 140K words in 30 days seemed to have taken most of my reserves. I had anticipated this luckily and hadn’t set out a lot of writing projects for December. I had finished my largest one just before NaNoWriMo and the rest… Well. They could wait for the New Year.

What I’m experiencing isn’t actually all that uncommon. A lot of NaNoWriMo writers don’t indulge in their creative juices again for a full year until the next NaNoWriMo. Projects are abandoned half way, the dreams of becoming a published author sliced with the reality of every day routine. Worlds are left as they were, sometimes never visited again.

I find the latter incredibly sad but not as sad as those writers who abandon their keyboards and stories. The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that it gives you the ‘oomph’ that you need to start your ‘One Day’ project. The problem with NaNoWriMo is a lot of times it leaves you in the middle of it and because you drained away most of your writing energy in the past 30 days, you can’t make yourself go back to it.

The truth is that although writing is a great hobby, it’s also like work sometimes. It’s certainly become a little bit like work for me, even though I really enjoy it.

And, it’s a discipline, a routine that you need to establish.

To try and get over the NaNoWriMo Blues, I have a few suggestions that I would like you to try out, if you feel that you want to continue writing but can’t make yourself start.

  1. Give yourself time to relax. Make it a set time like 14 days, or 31 days (the whole of December). If you’ve set down a time, stick to it. Turn on your computer directly the day after. If you post pone, you’ll be doing it your whole life.
  2. Set yourself a goal. Don’t make it a ridiculous one – make it easy and achievable. Remember, this is not NaNoWriMo anymore, it’s about your own personal time and your own personal goals. Mine is 7000 words a week which equates to 1000 for every day of the week or 1400 per day if I don’t count weekends (which I don’t write in a lot to give myself a break).
  3. Keep track of your goal. Set up an excel spreadsheet and enter the amount in every day. You laugh? It works! There’s nothing more motivational than seeing what you need and what you have. Some days you can sit back, open a proverbial (or physical!) bottle of red wine and go: I did good. Other times you can brew a cup of coffee and type out that extra couple of lines that you need.
  4. Find a writing buddy. Share your goals and your triumphs. Give each other reports. It helps having someone checking up on you every now and again. Humans are strange like that because we don’t like it if others see our failure. πŸ˜‰
  5. If you can – join a writer’s group or a writing workshop. An author I know called it ‘author group therapy’. We need people like ourselves to keep encouraging us. No offense to you non writers reading this, but you just don’t always understand. We need that understanding sometimes.
  6. Don’t give up. Ever. Keep on writing, keep on trying, keep on setting goals for yourself. It will pay off in the end.

A good friend of mine, Aheila (who you can find in my links page) did just this. She set up a goal for herself and she’s stuck with it through thick and thin. She’s not published her first short story and I believe that she’s well on her way to becoming a published author. She’s shown me that it can be done, and I would like to hold her up as an example to all of you.

Go to her blog, see what’s she’s done.

Remember that, although writing is patient, some stories aren’t and when you have an idea you need to put it down into paper now.

Otherwise you’ll lose it, and that would be tragic. Like the mass murder of dozens of characters that the world will never know. So, please – continue on writing. If you have the NaNoWriMO Blues – sulk, but then step out of it.

There’s still a whole world out there for you. πŸ˜‰

Alyss

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2 thoughts on “It was the Week after NaNoWriMo…

  1. thewitcontinuum December 7, 2010 / 9:35 pm

    Excellent ideas here. I did not participate in NaNo this year but have done it the past two, and the same thing happens to me…you are so ripe and ready to take on the writing world…but actually you’ve over ripened and seriously need a sit out. Taking time off to “compost” as I like to call it is a necessity. Thanks for all the tips you mentioned. I find the goal tracking very helpful and group writing therapy is always good. I live with people who don’t understand.

    And congratulations on your success in November! That’s a lot of words! I can’t imagine how you’ll revise…revision is the toughest part for me. Best of luck!
    Wit

    • Alyssa December 7, 2010 / 9:40 pm

      Welcome to my blog Wit. πŸ™‚
      Ah. Revision. That is an evil word isn’t it?
      I have to admit, it’s a very big task. I actually cheated and worked on two projects. I’ve set one aside which I feel is worth it. The other one will go into my chest of treasures which I read but I know will never get anywhere. There’s sanity in that!
      Thank you for reading,
      Alyss

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