#NaNoWriMo Burnout, Post-NaNo Writing, and Revisions

I have #NaNoWriMo burnout.

As you may know, I wrote over 140,000 words during the month of November. I then kept going, because Collapse isn’t done yet. Since the end of NaNoWriMo, I’ve written about another 20,000, putting me at 160,000 in the past six weeks. Collapse is about 75% done, if it ends up hitting the same length as Manifestation and Contamination.

And then I hit a wall.

Allow me to describe an average week for me for the past six weeks. I’ve been averaging 5000 words per day. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I write on my phone at work during a shift from 11 am to 10 pm. Then I come home and if I haven’t hit enough for the day, I keep writing until about 2 am. Then Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, I get up and work on school work and/or writing from 12 pm to 5 pm, go to school, come home after 9 pm, let myself loaf until midnight, and then resume writing until 2 am. That adds up to about 7 hours a day that I spend writing, whether it be writing for school projects or writing my novels. That’s 49 hours a week.

So then this Sunday it snowed. My work closed early, and I was home at like 3 pm. I had the whole night off. I didn’t write.

Monday, I did a little school work, came home, and didn’t write. I was stressed out about it. After pulling the hours I had been for six weeks, I was beating myself up over the fact that I didn’t write Sunday or Monday. I got so stressed out that I nearly cried. My friends on Twitter told me that meant I needed to take a break.

Today, school was closed for snow. I spent most of the day today working on school work for finals week. I haven’t touched my novel again. The way my brain feels right now, I don’t think I’ll have it in me to write later either (I had the window for this blog post sitting open for an hour before I finally started writing it).

So where does that put me? Well, there’s two directions I can go. I can either say “I need a break, I earned a break, and I’m going to rest until my brain is ready,” or I can say, “I need to buckle down and get back to work, this stress isn’t going to beat me, I’m strong.” There’s probably some balance between the two, but I don’t know where that is.

My main fear is that I’ll lose my rhythm. Manifestation has been sitting, unrevised, for months. I’m desperate to get back into it. I need to polish it up so I can get some critiques on it and then get it published. I can’t do that until I finish Collapse, which I know I could do in another week or so if I got back into it. So I need to get back to work soon, but I need to give my brain enough recovery time that I don’t crash completely. That’s a delicate balance. If I rest for TOO long, I’ll never get back to work.

My main strategy for this is that I’m going to whine on Twitter and do whatever people tell me. I have some Twitter friends who will start nagging me and telling me I have to write. I have others who will tell me to take a break. I don’t know which I need right now. So I’m going to let other people make the decision for me. If I had a girlfriend, I’d ask her advice. When Stephen King got hit by a truck, he rested and recovered from his injuries until he was ready to write again, and it was his wife who looked at him and decided that yes, if that’s what he needed, then it was time. One day I want someone like that. Someone who will stand by me when I’m down, and then push me when I need to buckle down and work.

But since I didn’t have the guts to ask out a girl from grad school, I’ll just have to get my support from Twitter. Hope you guys are okay with that.

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10 thoughts on “#NaNoWriMo Burnout, Post-NaNo Writing, and Revisions”

  1. We’re okay with that! If you rest for awhile, we won’t let you fall off the wagon. I’ll nag you back into writing again, faster than any girlfriend. . .

    HOWEVER, just so we’re clear here, you need to go ask out that girl ASAP! What are you waiting for? Do it, man! Take a chance! Maybe she is waiting for you to gather the courage and ask.

    If not, then that is her loss. Wouldn’t it feel good to at least know where you stand with her? Also, afterwards, you can go lick your wounds, complain very loudly about how I ruined your whole life with my bad advice, and then WRITE (angst is good for a writer’s soul)!

    1. I don’t even know if she has any interest in me whatsoever. I can never pick up on these things. And I usually worry that I’ll come off as creepy (especially since the last girl I got involved with actually called me creepy).

      1. Here’s the thing about women: they hide stuff. You may never know, if you don’t make a first move. As for the last girl, I don’t want to hate on her, but that was a really horrible thing to say to someone. Find a nice girl who gets who you really are, which is obviously a lot easier said than done. Trust me, I realize that. Don’t let the head games get you down.

  2. You weren’t supposed to make me cry. But in some ways I can very much relate. Do not, I repeat (from personal experience) DO NOT let one cruel person’s words hold you back. Ever!

    You have so much going for yourself. I know its hard to see. I fight this beast myself. For god’s sake you just wrote 160,000 words in 6 weeks, that’s damn impressive. So you of little faith, take a short break and then buckle down. You have a beautiful soul that knows the right answer. Balance… (((Hugs))) I really hope this helps. 🙂

  3. My recommendation: Take it easy, and if you want to keep your hand in at writing, then slow down, remember what you love about writing, and maybe do a little journaling (by hand, not typed or on your phone) right when you first wake up. This can really help clear up writing blocks, even if at first, you sit there and write “I don’t know what to write” over and over. Hope things get better soon!

  4. Brain reboot! You are done amazing. I agree with Nyssa23, take it easy. I have outlines I run off of sometimes and even though I know what I am going to write, sometimes I just need to rest the old noggin. It seems to flow better after I take a break sharpen my saw and come back to it renewed. I call it a brain reboot and it works! I am a grad student too and finished finals last week so you must be close to done as well! I hope they all went well.

    1. Brain reboot is definitely what I needed. I know exactly what to write so there’s no “block,” but for a few days I was just too exhausted to think straight. I’m on the road to recovery now though.

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