Thursday, November 19, 2015

Day 19: NaNoWriMo



There is a case to be made that for many people writing is like drawing water from a well. We're straining our back and forming callouses on our hands to reach our word counts. Bucket after bucket is overflowing with words, and we dump them on our word processors. As the month goes on we have to pull harder, we have to arrive earlier, and the water is getting dirtier.

And at nineteen days sludge is probably appearing in the bucket. What do you do?

Take a break. Relax. Do anything that is no writing or reading related.

I remember listening to someone talk about their experience with burnout. He referred to Bobby Fischer in how he dealt with his mental situation. Bobby Fischer's father regularly scheduled vacations for them to go on. There would be no talking about chess, there would be no reading about chess, and no chess pieces were brought along. It was them and camping, and that's it.

The burnout is real. We all have to deal with it. In fact, I say any seriously aspiring writer should want to experience it during NaNoWriMo. I see NaNoWriMo as a micro training ground to prepare us for an entire year. So we're running through our writing, but we should also be running through our highs and lows.

What other time can you be around so many like-minded people for support? There's no school to teach us what to do. There is no conference who can offer a comparable experience to the hands-on approach. This is Hogwarts for us right now.