National Novel Writing Blues

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I almost wasn’t sure I was going to write this blog post. You see, I’m doing NaNoWriMo for November. If you don’t know, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50k words for an (ideally) brand-new writing project in a month. It’s pretty hard to do; I certainly have never successfully achieved it. I’ve heard there are even published writers who fail at it, a factoid that certainly helps me feel better about myself. I’m still very doubtful I’ll be succeeding at this one either, but hey, the important part is in the trying.

This year, my NaNo project is made up of a lot of little parts of a bunch of other projects, so in the end, I figured why not include this blog post in the word count? And to keep it on the theme, why not make it about NaNo? So, here we are.

I am disappointed with how my NaNo project has turned out this year, I won’t lie. I think the method I chose for approaching this project is a good one. But this is likely to be one of my worst years word count-wise.

It’s hard though, because I feel disappointed in myself for not doing better. There are a lot of probable reasons I didn’t. The biggest is that I couldn’t get myself to stick to a consistent writing schedule. My schedule has become a lot more unpredictable with my current job, but I can’t blame it entirely on that. I was struggling with getting myself to write before November rolled around, and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I didn’t magically start a consistent writing schedule once November 1st arrived.

I do feel that NaNo has helped break through most of the writer’s block I was feeling, so I suppose I should focus on that as an upside at least.

I am still trying to rally during this last bit of November. With any luck, I’ll pull through and it won’t be my absolute worst year. But I already know it’s not going to be my best. As much as some would say that’s defeatist to declare it already, I don’t think there’s any harm in sometimes just being realistic.

I also know that my job got particularly stressful during this month. And while writing is rewarding for me, going through NaNo and forcing myself to write so much can be an exhausting, stressful experience at times. No wonder I don’t want to sit down and grind out a couple thousand words when I’m already feeling stressed out and tired.

Another, sillier reason, is that I started a new hobby not that long ago. I took up cross stitch in late September and have been getting progressively deeper into the hobby ever since. Despite my resolve initially not to let it distract from my writing, it’s still drawing a lot of my time and energy this November. It’s a new thing, so I naturally have lots of excitement about it, and it’s proved to be a much better source of stress relief than writing. Not only that, but I also want to make some holiday gifts for friends and family. It’s been way too easy to tell myself I need to start now if I want to get all those gifts done. It’s probably even true.

All these reasons are normal, human reasons. Sure, it would be better if I could prioritize writing the way I’d like myself to. But I know it isn’t helpful to beat myself up for failing here. It isn’t helpful to push myself to stay up too late trying to force myself to get some writing done. I’m still writing, even though I know I won’t make that 50k, not even close. I’m trying to push myself still, to commit myself to writing. At the same time, as always, I’m trying to remain kinder to myself.


Rachel is a Jewish bisexual autistic woman (she/her) with ADHD in her twenties. She loves writing and can always be found with her nose in a book! Her plan for the future is to earn her Psy. D. in clinical psychology. This interested in psychology started as a way to help her understand people better and to figure out what it was about others I kept not getting. It is also something deeply linked with her self-advocacy. There is a gap in communication between the autistic community and providers, and she want to help bridge it and challenge others to see things from different perspectives.

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