The first week of NaNo is coming to an end. And oh, what a week this was. I don’t think I ever had this much information dumps by social media in such a brief amount of time. But the high anxiety and stress over US elections bled through even here, to Croatia, while the numbers of Covid cases continued to rise, and then the Supernatural thing happened. And I think everyone on my internet lost their minds.
This was such a weird week.
Which means it was not really productive for writing. But I was trying really hard, even when I felt completely drained, to write some words every day. I must say, I didn’t begin on the best note. But I’m feeling better now at day 7 then I did at day 2.
Simply put, in my first two days, I really freaked out over whether my writing was any good. The thing is, since this is the first time I’m using NaNo to write something with plans to actually publish it, not just for fun, it really messed with my head. It wasn’t important to just write whatever, simply churning words without a care. And sure, I did revise the novella I wrote during NaNo two years ago and I published it this year, but it’s not the same. It’s not the same because I’m now a co-owner of a small press, and I need to work on building both my business and my writing career from the bottom up and that is scary on its own. Without throwing NaNo into the mix.
I didn’t expect to react that way, I must admit. Didn’t expect to wake up on second day feeling dread and anxiety over failing with my writing. I’ve been writing ever since I was a child and publishing stories for the last ten years. But it did happen. I had to read some research for one of my stories, and I got it into my head I won’t be able to do it justice. That it will be bad. And my head decided that I need to do the most perfect first draft ever written so that, coupled with high anxiety over setting up a good atmosphere, I ended up with a very lousy two days when I felt really bad about everything.
And no matter how much I said to myself I don’t need to finish with 50k, only to write every day, I still felt that need to follow a daily count and not fall behind.
I decided that I needed to relax. So one day I only wrote three hundred words, because that day wasn’t the best for me emotionally, so I said, whatever, I’ll write as much as I can today, and when it turned out it wasn’t a lot, it was still okay. And I’m simply ignoring the daily word count, instead the timer is my new best friend. And if I can write only one hour, that’s fine too. Today was one of the better days thanks to it being the weekend, so I managed to write for two and a half hours and now I’m feeling much better. I’m still not sure if my story will be good enough, or if it’s just a very slow paced piece that tries really hard to nail the horror atmosphere… but at least I know where I’m going, I like the characters very much, and everything else will be up for debate when the time for revisions comes.
It doesn’t need to be the perfect first draft. It just needs to be a finished first draft.
If that means no winning this year, I’m fine with that, too.
Also I’m just a few hundred words behind from the “projected” path to “victory” which really shows me that: a) it doesn’t matter how much words I write each day, as much as it’s good to have a daily writing habit, b) that I don’t need to spend my every free hour writing to see progress and that going for a walk, reading a book, watching a tv show or video essays on YouTube or just scrolling down the endless Destiel jokes on Tumblr, is important for my mental health and writing and that I shouldn’t skip that just to follow some arbitrarily set goals.
I know I’ll continue to have bad days, but the most important part is not to give in to that voice that shouts only negative things and focus on work, even if only for half an hour.
Because, if I listened to my anxiety, I wouldn’t write anything ever. So it can shout, but I’m drowning it with my playlist of choice while doing what I can for the day. I still hope next week will be much calmer on my social media and much more relaxing for my writing once this story is finished.