I’m not joking when I tell you I spent an hour staring at a blank Word document before I finally decided what I was writing about this week. My mind has been so focused on preparations for NaNoWriMo that I had forgotten to take a step back and reorient myself to where this whole journey is headed.
A finished novel.
Well not just that, but a finished novel I can be proud of.
I know that will most likely not be the final product, come November 30th. Fifty thousand words is not a full novel; there will still be words for me to write in December and probably January too. And those words will require a significant amount of editing, I’m sure.
There’s a great deal of work to be done in November and the months following. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed thinking about it.
I’ve filled my agenda for October with plans for completing my WIP, outlining my NaNo project, and planning and blog-posting every week. It’s a lot of work to be thinking about when maybe I could be, I don’t know, preparing myself for November by taking a breather for the next couple of weeks. I certainly don’t want to suffer burnout halfway through November.
Then again, I feel that this work is necessary. How will my brain ever be able to focus on my new project when the old one is still unfinished (heaven forbid I have to finish up this WIP during November instead of starting a new project as planned)? How can I craft this new novel without pulling together at least a general outline?
Where to find that balance between staying on task and taking time to refill the creative well?
The book will not write itself, so I need to put in the work. Perseverance and good, strong effort are keys to accomplishing what I set out to accomplish both during November and before/after.
Monotony and burnout can fry my creative senses and leave me with a lackluster product. I need to take some time to work on myself, refilling that creative well that I pull from.
The process for finding that balance will likely be different for each of us.
For myself, I’m staying on task by making short-term achievable goals which I can easily focus on. I find it helpful to keep involved with my writing group buddies (virtually), for accountability purposes. Similarly, my writing group is providing me with inspiration. When they accomplish their goals, I find I want to accomplish mine as well. I’m listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos on writing, reading, and taking part in the #AmWriting community on Twitter. Perhaps most helpful for refilling my creative well is simply spending some time with family or in the outdoors (leaves are falling and temperatures are cooling here, and it’s the ideal backdrop to my moody WIP).
Really, there is no specific advice to be found this week—more of a reminder instead. A reminder that balance is necessary.
Whatever your balance looks like, my fellow writers, I hope you find it in the coming months and beyond.