If you’re reading this, you’re probably in the NaNoWriMo trenches, and something has gone wrong. Maybe you’ve hit a block, maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s ok, I’m here to help.
First things first.
Take a long deep breath, allow your mind to drift for a second, and breathe.
Now take a step back and let’s think this through. First of all, it’s ok. Whatever has happened, whether you’ve fallen out of love with your story, or you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, it’s ok. You’re ok.
You’re not a robot (at least I don’t think you are!). You can’t expect yourself to do everything all at once. You can’t expect yourself to be perfect and amazing all the time.
Sometimes, things go wrong. Sometimes, we take on a bit too much. Sometimes, the idea just isn’t the right one.
You know what? That’s ok.
There could be a million and one reasons for why you feel the way you do right now. Maybe you haven’t slept enough, maybe you need to figure out a little bit more about your characters, maybe you need a change of scene. Whatever the reason is, give yourself time, and space.
Allow yourself to relax and step away for a little bit. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t try and tell yourself that you’re a failure, or you need to push on. None of that. Just stop.
Do whatever you need to do to switch off, unwind, and relax. Go for a run, have a few drinks, read that guilty-pleasure book you’ve been dying to slip into for the last three weeks. Whatever it is that makes you smile and forget about the bad things, go and do that.
When you’re feeling a bit better, sit down and remind yourself why you love to write. Make notes on the reasons you create stories, and worlds.
Once you’ve done that, when you feel that spark of happiness, you can look objectively at the problem. Did you try and take on too much? If so, lower that wordcount goal. Don’t give me that look, you’re not a failure, you’re looking after yourself. If you don’t have the time or energy to hit 50,000 words this month, that’s fine! You do what you need to do, to make yourself happy.
Maybe you’ve hit a snag with the idea. It could be that you need to flesh it out a bit better, take a good look at those characters and that plot. Maybe it’s just not quite novel material. That’s completely ok! What you do from there is up to you. You can either write it and be proud that you finished something, even if it’s a novella or a short story, or you can start something new. Do what feels best to you. Throw away the guilt, and run with it.
It could be that maybe this isn’t your year. Maybe life has just become a bit much and you need to say, you know what, I don’t have it in me to do this this year. That’s completely ok! If you want to still be a part of the community, I have no doubt people will love your cheerleading, and advice on Nordic mythology, or whatever your other passions are. You don’t have to walk away entirely, do what works for you.
Breathe. Remove the guilt. And find the happiness again. You can do this.