Whatever Happened to Camp NaNoWriMo? | Finishing My Novel

Let's cast our minds back to the end of March, when I said I was going to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo. How did it go? Did I even complete it? Am I any closer to finishing my novel?

Not well, no I didn't and definitely not.

I thought this was finally the kick up the backside I needed to get a good 40,000 words done on my novel. But that all just went out the window. Every time I tried to write, my brain just shut off. It's as if I smacked into a mental brick wall, squishing my nose in the process. I imagine I look like one of those cartoon characters with their faces squashed against a window. Back in my undergraduate degree, my scriptwriting lecturer asked us what photo represented us as writers, I chose a sad looking dog. I would like to change it now to the cartoon.

So, have I written anything since March? Yes, a whole 200 words. I know what you're thinking: woah, calm down, Char. You don't want to overwork yourself. But that's just it, in some ways I am overworking myself. I'm pushing myself to get up early, get university work done, get blog posts written, write more of my novel, take online courses and learn Spanish. Nothing is getting done. I'm putting too much pressure on myself when I should be doing these things because I enjoy them. If I'm not enjoying them, then they're simply not serving me.

My novel has also taken the backseat lately as I scramble to get my assessments done on time. However, it's the one thing that gives me joy, that excites me, that makes me feel optimistic. I have a story that I want to tell and that I believe in, why am I pushing it to the side. Shouldn't it be my main priority?

That's all I really want to do in life: write. And work in a major publishing house. But mainly write. And write. And write. Why can't I just spend my life blogging and writing novels? Wouldn't that just be perfect? But alas, that life feels so out of reach. It actually breaks my heart to think of how out of reach it truly is.

Another problem is that I'm no longer writing for myself, I'm writing because I want to get published. There's no shame in admitting that, I mean, is that not a goal to strive for? When I was just ten years old, I wrote my first novel. I wrote it for myself and enjoyed the process of doing so. I didn't care about grammar or spelling, or how good it was, I was just writing because I loved it. Oh, how I want that feeling back again. To simply just write.

Instead of just writing, I'm constantly worrying about how good it is or if it's interesting at all. I'm spending too much time trying to make it sound fancy when it's a first draft. First drafts are supposed to be terrible. You're supposed to read it back afterwards and say: What the hell was I thinking? And that's okay because you learn and grow. You make edits and turn it into something you really love. I need to get into that mindset again. Hell, I'm even thinking of just freewriting my first draft at this point.

My point is: writing should be fun. Not a chore. Whilst the end goal is to make it my job, it shouldn't feel like work. I want to live and breathe writing again, I want that passion to set my heart ablaze. I want the words to flow through my fingertips onto the page. No longer will I put writing on the back burner, no longer will I think twice.

Here's to doing what we love.

Until the next time,


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