NaNoWriMo week 2 is done, and I’m halfway to the finish, though that is not to say it has been an easy road. I’m right around 25k of the words done with the 50k goal and still have two more weeks to go. I was highly motivated over the first week—reaching my word goals and exceeding them day after day (minus the first). You can read all about my progress in week one here.
I am getting worn out during NaNoWriMo week 2. I’m not used to writing 1800 words a day, and there are times I struggle to write a single sentence. I’ll stare at my screen, with my phone calling my name. I get so tempted to scroll through social media, watch YouTube, or see what political madness is happening this week. The U.S. President is refusing to concede, and it is terrifying.
Politics have no place in NaNoWriMo unless you’re writing a book about it, and it is distracting. I want to know what is happening. I usually avoid politics, and still, it finds a way to pull me in. Once I turn off my phone and hide it, I find myself better able to write. Not necessarily easier to get words onto the page, but I spend more time typing than I am looking at distractions.
There is a silver lining; my manuscript is the closest it has ever been to be a complete first draft. The Project total word count has just passed 80k words. I have written 28 chapters of my manuscript, and it feels incredible being so close to the final “The end.”
I am tired, and my brain hurts. Churning out thousands of words day after day takes a toll on my mental capacity. I find myself making more and more mistakes while I write. I misspell words more frequently, I reverse letters all the time, and I’ll often see myself typing the same word twice in a row without realizing it.
I’m getting burned out. What would take me an hour last week is taking me two to three hours now. I stare at my screen and feel my eyes grow tired as my word count slowly rises. It is becoming a struggle. I’ve had days where I was lucky to get to 1000 words, and others I got to 2000 no problem.
At the time of writing this article, I’m about five hundred words behind pace and set to reach the 50k words on December 1st if my routine stays as it currently is. That isn’t too bad, all things considered, and I should be able to make up the words I’m behind.
I have considered taking a day off in the name of recouping, but the price would be falling close to 2000 words behind. If I miss even one day, it is much harder to make it to the end. A day off is something I must strongly consider and weigh the risk verse reward. At the end of the day, my mental health comes first.
My motivation may be dwindling, and my ability to write 1000s of words quickly is getting hazy, but that doesn’t mean I’m out of the fight yet. I can still combat this burnout I am feeling. I need to listen to my body and know my limits.
If my eyes are getting tired and I’m getting headaches from overthinking, it’s time to take a break. I don’t need to write all my words in one session. Allowing myself space to do other things leaves me open to come back with a fresh mind. If I can only get four to five hundred words in a single session, I need to accept that, take a break, and return to it later.
Rest is a quick way to relieve burnout. It may not permanently cure it, but it will reduce its symptoms so you can stay focused on your task at hand. Know your limits. Everyone is different. For some, writing 2000 words in a single sitting every day is nothing; for others, that takes a lot of will and discipline to happen.
We all have mental stamina and need to know when we are over-doing it. Our minds are a muscle, and we need to exercise our storytelling. The more we work out, the easier it becomes, but you risk damaging the muscle if you work out too much. Listen to your limits and take a break when needed!
Week 2 of NaNoWriMo was tough, and I am falling behind. Burnout has been making things more complicated, and I get tired of staring at my screen, watching my word count rise at the pace of a snail. That being said, I’m not giving up and intend to go into week three with renewed energy and a better game plan: listening to my body and taking more rests.
If my estimation is correct, I should finish my first draft by the middle of next week. I cannot wait! When that happens, I plan to start a short story to help me finish the last bit of my 50k words for the month. It’s not a traditional NaNoWriMo approach, but it works for me.
How is your NaNoWriMo going? Let me know in the comments below; let’s help raise each other up and share our success!
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