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.