On Giving Up [NaNoWriMo edition]

Sometimes in life, you have to let go. Sometimes in life, you have to accept that A Thing is categorically Not Happening.  Sometimes in life, you just have to admit that you’re not going to continue doing something because trying to do it is actually making you mildly miserable along the way. Sometimes in life, you have to give up.

Yes, my friends, once again I have given up on NaNoWriMo before I’d even reached the mid-way point.

If we’re being honest, I gave up last week, but I’ve been writing dribs and drabs of text here and there in order to be able to truthfully update my word count every day (gotta have that streak!). However, I’ve just reached a point where I am categorically Not Having Fun. And NaNoWriMo is meant to be fun, right? Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s also hard work – writing a novel is never going to be remotely easy – but the fun element is meant to be included somewhere in that, right? And when it genuinely stops being fun, why continue putting yourself through the slog every single day?

Why put yourself through the constant internal argument you have with yourself where one voice is saying ‘I can’t write, I’m not a writer, I’m not good at this, I don’t want to’ (this voice is the whiny one) and the other voice is saying begrudgingly ‘come on, just write 100 words, you can write 100 words in no time and you’ll feel better about it’. There’s only so long that second voice can continue to reason with the whiny brat that is the first voice.

When I do get into the swing of writing and everything is working and my characters are conversing of their own accord, yeah, okay, that’s a lot of fun and it feels great. Hey, look at me, I’m creating, I’m writing, I can write!!

But when I’m forcing myself (by way of snacks and treats) to just hit word count every day? I end up feeling like crap about myself, about my story, about everything around me. And that doesn’t sound like a very healthy mind set, does it? I end cranky and down on myself and then feeling like crap because writing (or, rather, procrastinating writing) is taking up all my time that I would normally spend reading and I haven’t read a thing all month etc. etc.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, once again, my NaNoWriMo attempt has been abandoned for another year at least. And I’m strangely okay with that. In fact, I feel something like relief, like a weight has been lifted. Because it’s dumb to put this much pressure on yourself if you’re just consistently Not Feeling It.

And I still love my story idea, I’m not giving up on that, it just might take me a little longer than 30 days to truly do it justice. That’s fine, that’s good, even. And, hey, I might start writing again tomorrow, I might start writing again next week, or next month, or next year, and that’s honestly okay. For the sake of my own mental health and self-esteem, that’s okay.

To all those amazing, amazing writers doing NaNoWriMo this year…
I salute you. I wish you all soaring word counts and delightful fun with your novel.
You can do it, go smash it.

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Beautiful Books 2016: Introduce Your Novel

Well, it’s November 1st once again… seriously, where the hell did October go? I swear I blinked and missed it! Since it is November (though I’m still finding that hard to believe), it’s that time of year again – the time when this foolish girl who was never much of a writer tries to write 50,000 words because a bunch of people on the Internet are also doing it. It’s NaNoWriMo time! In case you’ve somehow managed to avoid the phenomena that is NaNoWriMo, let me briefly explain. National Novel Writing Month is an annual event in which people pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days… or die trying… ok maybe not die. Roughly speaking this means writing 1,667 words a day, which doesn’t seem too difficult on the surface but when you haven’t written a single word for 5 days, well, those daily word goals stack up quite quickly. (I know this to be true.) The key with NaNo always seems to be making time – a novel isn’t going to write itself after all! And I’ll bet quite a lot of people would put “write a novel” on their bucket list. Well – now’s the time!

bb-redoneThis year I’m going to be attempting to turn last year’s failure into at least a half-decent attempt at a novel, so I’m reworking the same idea, but I’ve had a year to occasionally think about when I’m daydreaming on the train. And since it is the first day of NaNo and all is still optimistic and exciting, I thought I would share a little bit about my novel via the wonderful Beautiful Books link up at Paper Fury. I have answered a few questions below to help “Introduce My Novel” which all sounds rather grand!

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

4 main things: I love the pirate bit of the Stardust film; I have a penchant for steampunk and gas-lamp fantasy (though I didn’t know that’s what it was called when I was reading and loving it); I enjoy the gritty-history/Victorian-y tone that seems to be popular in TV nowadays with the likes of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films, Ripper Street, and Peaky Blinders (yes I know Peaky Blinders isn’t Victorian but just go with me on this one); and I’ve always been fascinated with the Industrial Revolution’s effect on society. So I’m trying to smush all of that together, because clearly I’m interested.

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