I fell behind. I knew it was going to happen. I was pretty far ahead, and then I started churning out about 400 words a day. Which is peanuts when you’re trying to write a novel in thirty days. But it’s not the only reason I’ve decided to take a break.
When I decided to do NaNoWriMo, I told myself I was going to win. That word count would be a problem. At one point in the past few days, I actually considered writing a couple thousand words of nonsense, just to get my word count back up. Because this book and I are just not getting along right now. The first third is actually pretty good, for a first draft. And then everything went downhill. In an attempt to keep writing, I’ve written the beginnings of about four random chapters that happen somewhere towards the end of the book. And it’s just really not working.
I know I need to just finish. But I’ve realized that forcing myself to do it right now is making me really hate this novel. So I’ve decided to take a break from it, for at least a few days. I might return and finish it before the end of the month. I might finish it in a year. Or I might just save it for next year’s NaNoWriMo. I might completely start over. But, right now, it’s just not what I want to write.
That said, I have started another project that I’m excited about. I think maybe I’m the kind of person who needs to be able to switch back and forth between projects when I get stuck. I do it with reading (I almost always have more than one book going at the same time), so it kind of makes sense that I’d do it with writing.
This is a difficult post for me to write. Because I hate quitting things. But I’ve realized that, for me, this isn’t really quitting. It’s just learning that my writing process doesn’t mesh well with NaNoWriMo. I need to take breaks, I need time to figure out the problems in my novel, and I need to be excited about what I’m writing. I’ve also learned a lot during this process. I got much farther than I thought I would, and I’ve written more words than I’ve ever done before on a single project. By a lot. I’ve also gotten more confident in my writing, and I’ve actually been brainstorming quite a few other ideas. I feel more inspired, and definitely more ready to write something great. Honestly, I consider that a win.
There is every possibility I might revisit my NaNo novel before the month is up. But I’m not going to stress out about it, because I think that’s part of what’s making me so uninspired to write. If I return to it, I will keep you updated. And I will finish it, someday.
I wish you all luck on your NaNoWriMo projects – let me know how they’re coming in the comments!