Not Doing NaNo

Last time, I talked about being in a writing funk; about how I can’t seem to get going. I also listed a bunch of suggestions from my Twitter followers and members of 10-Minute Novelists suggested. One suggestion was to sign up for NaNoWriMo. (I’m sure most of you know what NaNo is, so I won’t bother explaining.)

First of all— to bring everyone up to speed— I’m still in my little funk, but mostly due to a lack of trying. So, I’ve got no one to blame but myself, even when I’ve been busy with events this month. It’s not as if I’m limited on time. I can find the time with all that’s going on to write; it’s a matter of taking advantage of that time and not allowing myself to be distracted or take part in distractions. 

So, as far as NaNo is concerned…

I should preface this by saying that participating in NaNo was one of my goals this year. So the suggestion from last week wasn’t that farfetched. And I have been wanting to try NaNo once in my writing career just to say that I did it. Whether I hit the goal of 50K words in thirty days or not is an afterthought. But that’s one reason why I’m not doing NaNo. Yes, the idea of writing so many words in so many days is an enormous task. Tracking those words equates to a lot of pressure. (If I’m not mistaken, writers are on an honor system when recording progress.) And missing a day means playing catch up, which from what I hear is not simple by any stretch. 

Another reason I’m not doing NaNo this year is simply this: I don’t have a story to write. By that, I mean I don’t have a novel brewing in my head. I have ideas, yes. But no coherent plan. Don’t have charactersor setting or plot or theme. I guess I could work all that out when I write, but I’m someone who has to have a plan and see it in full. I suppose having Scrivener would help with all that, but I’m a writer on a budget, like everyone else.

Bottom line: I’m unprepared to do NaNo. Sure, I had ten months to plan and plot and develop characters, but I squandered them and can’t get them back. But if I had to explain why I wasted all this time doing whatever instead of preparing, it all boils down to…wait for it… fear. 

The truth is I’m afraid to do NaNo. To elaborate, I’m afraid of what NaNo would mean. It would mean that I am a serious writer with a story to tell that I want the world to read. It would mean showing a chapter at a time to CPs, not knowing if they will like it or hate it. It means querying, not knowing if an agent will deem it worthy of the printed page. It means waiting months or years for editors and publishers to put the finishing touches on it, create books, and send it to bookstores, hoping someone will buy what I’ve poured years into. 

Of course, I’m thinking way too much and getting way ahead of myself. Whatever I just said may not happen. I won’t know if I don’t try. For now, I’m content with cheering on the sidelines, learning from everyone else’s experiences. In due time, I will participate in NaNo, and maybe, win. 

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My Writing Funk

I wrote a post on Facebook’s “Ten-Minute Novelists” page about something that seems to be an issue from what I’ve read: motivation and creative stumbling blocks. In my “rant,” I talked about how I feel stuck in my writing. My “Cell Games” series is losing its luster. I had all these great ideas for my stories. Now, they’re not there. I’ve lost my passion for them. Maybe this is because I spent so much time plotting and planning and holding myself back from writing these stories that I’ve forgotten what I wanted to write about. I could go back to Evernote and read characters and situations I wanted to write about, sure. But it doesn’t feel the same. 

This has been an issue with me the last few weeks. And apparently, I’m not the only one whose struggling with this feeling. I get that having these “moments” are normal for the everyday writer. The problem with me is because I’m not writing every day, having these “moments” led me to quit writing for periods at a time. I don’t want to go through that again. But I just don’t have the gumption to write every day. For months, I journaled using my One Day app, even if it was just a single sentence saying how I felt or what I wrote. But before yesterday, I missed writing in it for about two weeks. (To be fair, I disabled the alerts to save battery life and to not feel as guilty for not writing at a given time.)

After I took to Facebook (and Twitter), discussing my plight, I got some positive feedback and stirring words of encouragement. The fact that I posted my rant showed, to one 10-Minute member, that I was writing. I hadn’t thought about it until he brought it up. And it’s not that I’ve shut my brain off from writing. I’ve let my duties as a husband, father, and provider take priority over writing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I didn’t make time to write. And maybe that’s because I’ve been waiting for inspiration to strike. I know that’s a cop-out, but that’s how I truly feel. I feel like my muse is napping away, waiting for me to get started, and even then, she’s not always present.

So, what’s a writer to do? Write, of course. Even when it’s not convenient. Someone suggested I take ten minutes to write about my story; not write my story. Someone suggested I take a pen and a notebook and write about what I observe: plants, people, cars, outfits, etc. Someone suggested that I participate in NaNoWriMo. Not a bad idea in that it would get me writing, but I don’t have a novel idea in mind. And I struggle with writing consistently. So NaNo is out of the question this year, though it is a goal of mine to participate one year. 

So, there are a lot of suggestions to overcome my writing funk, lack of motivation, writer’s block, call it what you want. I will have to take them up on their suggestions. 

What do you do to combat your writing funk? Feel free to let me know in the comments. Also, if you have suggestions, share those in the comments as well. 

Month in Review: September

I nearly forgot to do a month in review post for this past month. I guess that’s what happens when you get so busy with work, writing, and vacation. Truth be told, since I wrote a post a few days ago, my thought was not on doing my checkup. Especially since I don’t feel like nothing has changed. And honestly, I’m starting to get burned out on writing. I know writers struggle with that feeling every once in a while, and now I think it’s hitting me. 

I should look on the bright side. I am starting to overcome a fear of perfectionism. For years, I struggled with putting stories on a laptop