Not Sure I Can

Those who visit this blog often will know that I’ve been planning a new novel length manuscript to be written in November (which is only three days from now) for several weeks. I’m happy to announce that over the weekend I completed the planning. Everything has been printed out and placed neatly into a folder for easy reference. I have the beginning, the middle and the end planned in detail so there should be no panic during November. That’s the good news.


Physically and mentally I’m not actually sure if I’m up to the challenge. 50,000 words in 30 days is a lot of hard work when you work full time…and I do have a family who require some attention, even if they are old enough to look after themselves. My sleeping pattern has improved over recent months and I am managing about seven hours of sleep a night. However, I feel dreadful when I wake up; almost as if I’ve been hit by a bus repeatedly and then dragged by a train across the country. There’s no way I could even consider getting up half an hour earlier, or going to bed half an hour later, in order to write a few more paragraphs. That’s the bad news.

Yes, I’m exhausted. That’s a daily feeling that I can’t seem to shift. So how will I feel when I’m trying to write 1,670 words a day? Even with an in-depth plan to help me, I don’t think I’ll be able to get through the month. Yet I’m the type of person who hates not achieving a goal, especially when I know so many other writers who will be attempting this too. I want to say that I won’t push myself, but I know I will.

I keep reminding myself about the last time I did a full NaNo…and that was when I was “normal”. I ended up being burned out for six months and it took even longer to get back into any routine that I could feel proud of. I really don’t want that to happen again. I need to be able to assure myself that if I can’t manage the 50,000 words then it’s alright and there’s no need to feel ashamed or defeated. I need to believe those words when I say them too.

Right now, I will say publicly that should I start feeling the strain then I will back off and continue writing on a daily basis, but I’ll do a Mini-NaNo instead. I’m not even sure I can manage that, but I’m going to try to do the best I can…without putting my health at risk.

[Edit – 9 months later]
I find it amusing that I gave myself an escape clause before NaNo even started. What a wimp! *grin*

6 thoughts on “Not Sure I Can”

  1. Karen,

    NaNo is fun and it is always good to “win”, but I think it is important to use it as a tool and not get hung up on the “win”. Good luck.


  2. As much as I’d like to egg you on this November, I do realise that your health is more important.

    I’m feeling pretty confident this year, and I think it’s to do with my housemate doing it with me. Two socialist novelists pounding out novels side by side. A little competition never hurt anyone.

    Will you be writing at work? I think this will be my key to getting over the line.

  3. Congratulations on finishing the outline! Terrence is right about putting too much pressure on yourself, though. November is a difficult month, with the holidays beginning. I wish they would hold this in a slow month, like January.

  4. I once thought I’d have to rewrite 100 pages within a week (luckily, I discovered it was all in my head). Writing so much in so little time is extremely stressful…and if you get stuck, you’re so rushed you’re stuck for all the time! But good luck and I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

  5. Karen – I KNOW I can’t do it, for many of the reasons you state above. However, I’m going to try with all my might.

    I have never come close to writing a novel, or winning NaNoWriMo, but I’m tired of talking about it. I’m going to try to do it! I agree with Terrence above.

    Good luck!

  6. I know you’re all right. Honestly, I do.

    For me, NaNo is a good way of getting down the first draft, but I don’t like a messy first draft. I realise that’s my problem and I’m making life hard for myself (especially during NaNoWriMo), but it’s the way I am. I find it difficult to lock the inner editor in the cupboard; no matter how hard I try, I have to edit as I write. It’s an obsession!

    I’m going to do the best I can. I don’t care about “winning”, because I’ll win if I manage to write half a novel in one month. My problem is that I felt so positive two weeks ago and now I’m feeling doubtful. Hopefully, on 1 November, I’ll shut the doubt in the cupboard even if I can’t shut away the inner editor with it. 😉

    NB – Yes, I’ll be writing at work on slow days. I usually have an hour and a half in the afternoon when I could probably write…and I will during November (although I don’t usually write at work because I find it too difficult to concentrate, but maybe that will be good for the inner editor problem I have).


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