Writing when you don’t feel like it

This has been a really strange month, not including the self-imposed craziness of NaNoWriMo. My son’s been sick (we’re headed to our 3rd doctor’s appointment this afternoon), I’ve been tweaking things to manage migraines and my post-eye-surgery, I’ve traveled, both of our kids have had car issues, my husband has moved the publication of his book way up so I’m looking at days of frantic editing next week (on top of Thanksgiving), and we’re going on a couples retreat this weekend. Not to mention regular crazy life stuff. Yeah.

I didn’t write on Monday. I felt really wonky from my whirlwind trip to Houston, which was really good, but didn’t involve much sleeping. Yesterday, I didn’t feel a whole lot better, but obviously I couldn’t take another day off writing. My son wasn’t feeling great and it was raining, so I decided to drive him to basketball practice. He wasn’t sure if he was going to play, but felt like he should be there since he’d already missed some. It’s 45 min from home, so I was there for the two hours, giving me time to write. Theoretically.

And I did, much to my surprise. Again, no internet, which is a challenge due to the nature of my books (broad geographical range, not to mention history, etc), but I really got rolling and cranked out about 2200 words, even with shoe squeaks and whistles and fighting siblings, before one of the dads started talking to me. I did another 900 when I got home, so ended with 3121 for the day, and crossed the 30k mark. I felt pretty good about it… I think the story is hanging together, and some threads are starting to be drawn in.  And I felt good about just pushing through and doing it, even though I didn’t want to.

I’ve never really had the NaNoWriMo week 2/3 blues. It’s never been the story that’s kept me from writing or slowed me down. Rather, it’s just life. Stuff happens. Then more stuff happens. Sometimes that’s all, and life returns to normal, and sometimes even more stuff happens. In August, I didn’t write for 9 days because of stuff… So far this month (and it’s only, what, the 14th?!) I’ve missed 4. I know I won’t write Saturday or Thursday. If I get hooked into the editing, I’ll miss at least another day or two. I could easily get very discouraged and frustrated by that.

What I’ve decided is to do what I had to do in August. (Okay, I got discouraged and frustrated in August… But then I figured out what to do!) That is, move my goal back from finishing the novel in November, to getting the 50,000 words. If I finish it, that’s great. With Thanksgiving so early this year, that’s definitely possible. But I can’t let myself get discouraged about it, because it is what it is. Not one of the things that has happened or that is scheduled to happen this month has been optional. Not one of them has been something I could just say, “Thanks but, no thanks” to. Life’s like that sometimes.

I don’t have a lot of important qualities, like organization and patience. But what I do have is tenacity. Stick-to-it-iveness. If I sign up for NaNo, I’m going to win, even if it’s by 37 words like in August. And if I’ve started a book, I’m going to finish it. So, here’s my plan.

  • Get as much as I can between now and November 30, as long as that’s at least 50,000.
  • Keep writing into December until I finish it.
  • Get the comments back from my beta readers and get working on Where the Ducks Went as soon as I’m done.
  • Keep going.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!



Filed under NaNoWriMo, Writing

9 responses to “Writing when you don’t feel like it

  1. just love your outlook on this! hope you and your son both start feeling better right away!

    • Thanks! Started him on new meds. He’s got a super-clingy bronchitis, and has asthma so it can be tricky. I didn’t write today (day 5 – woohoo!). Oh well. I’ll win NaNo and that’s good. And the story is going well, so I’m not worried about it. I guess the good thing about doing my 5th NaNo in a year is that I don’t stress about it anymore! haha! 🙂

  2. Spring

    I know exactly what you mean. When I sit down to write, I’m very excited about my story, and the words just flow … it’s getting there that’s the problem. I’ve had life come up and bite me three times in the last two months, and this time, it’s left me wanting to lie down and sob. At least bad things are supposed to come in threes, right? So it should be smooth sailing from here …

  3. Sounds like a good approach!

    I’m a big fan of various ‘Offline wikipedia’ software for doing research when you can’t get online. Right now I have three on various devices:
    1) TomeRaider on my ipaq WM2005 pocket PC and a very old wikipedia.tr3 file from several years back, 1.1 gigs. It’s out of date on a lot of things, but still handy for a lot. (There’s a more recent tomeraider version at 3 gigs and change, but I can’t use a card bigger than 2 gigs with the ipaq.)
    2) Offline Wiki for iphone, by Avocado Hills
    3) Wikitaxi for windows PC. This is really a great version, and it’s free! I was using it today at the Mission Borderlands write-in, because they don’t have wifi and I don’t want to pay US roaming data rates.

    • Great resources, thanks! The good thing about writing with no internet access (ie when I wrote on the plane last weekend) is I just had to add drama. 🙂 But I love my research tabs normally! haha

  4. Valentina

    I can’t believe you do so many things, on top of the ones I completely sympathise with (three kids, one dog, two cats, etc etc). Well done you, you serve as inspiration to me 🙂
    On my first NaNoWriMo, and me too, the only problem is living throwing things at you to do you can’t say no to (like son’s kidney stones!).
    Happy writing from Cambridge, Uk 🙂

    • Oh, so sorry for your son’s illness – we haven’t had to deal with those, but friends who have say it’s extremely painful! Hope he’s better soon! Thanks for reading, and good luck with NaNo!

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