Nanowrimo is…well, shit

It’s the 12th November, and I have written 8,053 words for Nanowrimo. Par – which is the target for this day to hit 50,000 by the end of the month – is 20,000.

I haven’t allowed myself to fully give up yet, but I think I might need to. I think I need to accept that, this year, Nanowrimo isn’t possible. Why?

Because I’m not writing, but I feel terrible about it daily.

The reason I need to give up is that if I give up – or to put it more nicely, accept that this year is an outlier where it’s not possible to write that much – some of that guilt should alleviate.

I spend a lot of my time managing my guilt. I took last Friday off work because things had gotten too much and I woke up very, very depressed. But I let myself do one piece of work because I’d been stressing about it for weeks. When it was done, I felt so much better.

And I think to manage my Nanowrimo guilt, I need to just accept that I can’t do it this year, and that given everything that’s happened, that’s perfectly reasonable.

Here’s the difficult thing: it’s my 10-year Nanowrimo anniversary.

The really difficult thing? It’s 9-10 years since I met all of my friends, including the one that died just before Nanowrimo started.

So basically what happens is this. I get up, I can’t write anything, I don’t even try to write anything because I feel so anxious it’s like I’m about to have a panic attack right then and there.

I try to talk myself round by mentioning the importance of this Nanowrimo. It’s my tenth year of participating! My tenth Nanowrimo novel! And then my brain will also go: ten years ago when you wrote that Nanowrimo novel you also met your found family.

And then I will be crying again.

But tomorrow is World Kindness Day, apparently.

So here’s my plan. Here’s what I’m going to do. I need to do something – I can’t carry on like this. It isn’t working. I’ve had one day where writing was glorious and a salvation from my mind but all the others have been torture.

The problem is that completely giving up feels its own kind of awful. So, okay, let’s not give up entirely.

Let’s accept that I’m not going to hit 50,000 words and that that is okay because the world is a shitty place that just took away one of the hearts of my found family.

Let’s accept that not writing at all will just make me feel worse, and that I do genuinely like the story I was writing and I do genuinely want to finish it for people.

And let’s just write 25,000 words.

That’s still 18,000 more, but I can do that in five good days. Between a couple of good days and a bunch of bad ones, that’s easily attainable without breaking myself.

I won’t force myself to write daily, because there might still be days where I wake up and I just can’t, and that would defeat the point of compromising to preserve my mental health and wellbeing.

But I’ll write. I’ll write at all, and honestly, that is a damn miracle right now.

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