The Rise and Fall of my NaNoWriMo efforts (the third-of-the-way update)

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverI started off this month so strong. Last time I posted, I was averaging close to 3000 words a day. I kept up this intensity of writing for the first 6 or 7 days, despite everything else life threw at me. I thought I was invincible. After slowing down a bit on Friday night to catch my breath (I only managed 1200 that night), I wrote 5800 words on Saturday.

But then the trouble started.

I went out with a friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time. Not for a crazy wild night or anything – I’m far too old for that (don’t laugh) – but just for dinner and a couple of drinks. Dinner ended up being the local Indian place, where I ate approximately twice as much as I needed to, and drinks ended up being at Reviver, my local classy cocktail bar (about 4 minutes stumbling distance from home). I only had a couple of cocktails, mind you, as alcohol doesn’t mix too well with my headaches these days.

I thought I was fine until I got home, where I found myself very feverish and nauseous. I was almost certain I had food poisoning or something like that – whatever it was, it kept me waking up all night, and I spent all of Sunday feeling like death warmed up. I woke up that day with my throat swollen and burning, my head thumping, my temperature fluctuating wildly, my balance completely off and when I tried napping I was rewarded upon waking up with sinus pains and a runny nose. I was pretty cranky, to say the least.

It’s now mid-afternoon on Monday and things aren’t exactly much better. I’ve already called in sick for tomorrow, and after forcing out about 1000 words yesterday, I haven’t written a thing today, nor will I most likely.

Have I burnt out? Maybe. Although I suspect it might just be a case of the man-flu. Whatever it is, it’s knocked me about a lot and after such a strong start I’m going to have 2-3 days of very little writing indeed.

I’m not overly worried, though. I’m sitting on 27 000, thanks to my efforts last week. I think I’m mostly bummed out because I wanted to aim for 100 000 words instead of the usual 50 000, but this setback might just be enough to make that bigger goal an impossibility. Still, 70-80 000 is more than possible, so I guess I’ll just see what I can do. I’ve definitely won NaNoWriMo, unless my arms spontaneously combust, so it’s more about reaching my own goals now.

How are all of you doing for NaNoWriMo? I hope none of you are getting sick or burning out – if so, make sure you take a couple of days to recover, because your health is more important! You can always catch up later!

14 thoughts on “The Rise and Fall of my NaNoWriMo efforts (the third-of-the-way update)

    • Yeah, it’s hard when you’re not feeling that motivation. I felt like that last year, and although I soldiered on and hit the 50k, I wasn’t happy with the story. It’s like I forced out any old crap for the sake of hitting the 50k. This year, everybody I know seems to be either miles ahead or miles behind, although there are a couple of people I know who are almost perfectly on track. One of my students, amazingly, is ahead of the game (or at least was at the end of last week – she was about 2 or 3 days ahead).
      Do you have much of an idea what you’re writing about? Or were you just trying to wing it?

      • We’ll I had an idea which I loved, and still do love I guess. The difference I’m finding from last year is that I sort of knew what the ending was going to be and so I had a goal to work towards. I have the suspicion that if I ever get this idea out of me, that it would be more than one book – I could take it lots of places and I might be a bit overwhelmed with the potential magnitude of it. I don’t think I’ll hit 50,000 words this year, but I’d really like to take my time with this story anyway. Although I hate saying I’m going to do something and not doing it!!

        • Ahhh I know how you feel. I know the one year I wrote a story I really liked (and still do 2 years later, after a re-read and allowing the girlfriend to read it) I had envisioned the ending (and started alluding to it) halfway through the novel. Last year I made the whole thing up the whole way and the ending was utterly ridiculous (there were pelicans involved), and this year I don’t really have a specific ending due to so many subplots – I do have some ideas about ways to wrap up the minor plots, but I’m starting to feel the overall plot isn’t connecting enough. Whoa that was a long sentence. Oops.
          Anyway, yeah, sometimes I think if you like the idea of a book but you need more time, it isn’t worth forcing yourself to write it in just a month. I’m thinking of scaling back this novel so that I’ll just hit whatever words I can this month, 60-70k maybe, but I’ll keep writing in December until it’s finished, take my time with it. So maybe do that? Try and write, but just don’t push too much for the word goal – if you can manage something reasonable and consistent then it still pays off. πŸ™‚

  1. Hope all is better. Nothing like the waves of nausea to rock the boat of progress. Oops, sorry.
    No NaNo this year. Committed on finishing a novel before attempting another one.
    One big problem with NaNo is editing afterwards. It takes more than a month to sort it all out unfortunately. Keep plugging on!

    • Hahaha, I see what you did there. πŸ˜‰
      That’s good that you’re committed like that, I think I should do that more often. Next year, once I’m settled down in Sweden, I really want to spend some time fixing up some old stories and maybe trying to publish some short stories too, just to build up a bit of a publishing profile. I do love the act of raw creation, though, but I think I need to get on with the harder side of editing etc now.
      I think it would take me more than a month to edit the NaNo stories of mine that are worth salvaging. But then I’m my own worst critic. The one story I plan on editing next year I wrote 2 years ago, but now after a long absence from it I can see clearly what needs fixing. But I suspect it needs a replan, a rewrite, then another stripping back and building back up again. It’ll take me a full year at least to get it to the point I want it at. Oh well.
      Good luck with your project! πŸ™‚

  2. So sorry to read that you were feeling like ‘death warmed up’. Hope by now you’re on the mend. You seem to have a pretty good jump on the NaNo monthly word goal and it’s only the 11th, (here, anyway) so I don’t think you have much to worry about. I’m sure you will reach your goals as soon as you recover from whatever ails you. πŸ™‚

    • Well, it’s Tuesday morning here and I’m finally starting to feel better on my third(ish) day of this. I slept like a rock last night, which is rare for me to sleep that solidly at all. I’m still off work for the day, my sinuses and headaches are still giving me trouble, but I feel a bit more alive and with it. I’m going to have a go at writing and see if I can do a little bit, but without pushing myself – slowly build the pace back up.
      Thank you though, and you’re right – I’m sure I’ll bounce back. I always do. Just sick and tired of being sick and tired hahahaha. πŸ™‚

      • I understand that feeling! Oddly enough, a friend of mine took sick this past weekend, too, interrupting plans we had to get together for dinner, unfortunately. I guess there’s no doubt we’re entering ‘flu season’! Take care! πŸ™‚

        • Ahh bummer! It’s always annoying, dare I say more annoying, when being sick affects social plans! Knowing my luck I’ll probably get sick on my own farewell party in a couple of months hahaha (I won’t have a choice then though, my friends would drag me out kicking and screaming if need be).
          Thank you, I will. I’m starting to feel more human again today. One more day off work should fix me enough. πŸ™‚

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