Downtime

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So, obviously, I’m not doing a double NaNo. Or even the NaNo and a half, which was my revised plan.

The logic behind the plan seemed pretty solid. My day job is to write this book. I should be writing 2k a day already. Everyone else works a day job, then does NaNo, so I should be able to do the same.

Bzzzzt. Incorrect.

There was a hole in my logic. The rest of my writer buds went to work or school and did their work there, then switched gears to do NaNo afterwards. I’m not saying it’s been easy for them. I’ve watched everyone sweat through this. The day only has so many hours, and several Lawrence writers pushed themselves so hard they finished before Thanksgiving. (Way to go, guys! I am so proud of ¬†you all!)

I did pretty well for the first two weeks. I might have finished the first 50k by Thanksgiving too if I hadn’t bitten off so damn much all at once. But I had no downtime. I worked on it all day, then I worked on it again at night. Every waking hour was either writing this book or thinking about the next scene. There was no switching gears for me. No refresh button.

I lost my freaking mind. I shut off completely and barely wrote a word for nearly a week. So much for being way ahead of the NaNo word-count goals. It took a lot of days of not writing to get behind.

Had I walked into this with a cool head and said “Hey, I have a book due soon. How convenient that NaNo is here and my writer buddies can help me finish it,” everything would have been fine. I’d have breezed right through the damn thing without breaking a sweat. But I had to go all manic and think I could conquer the world.

So. Lesson learned. I’m fine now. I’ve got less than 8k words left, and three days to do it in. That’s only a little bit more than what I need to do on a regular work day. I’ll finish on time and walk away knowing my limits and how to organize a proper work day for myself so I can keep those habits forever.

It’s almost over. Everyone else will go back to their regular lives, and I’ll still be doing NaNo. Every day. Every week. Every month.

Because first NaNoWriMo taught me how to follow through, and now it’s taught me to stick within my limitations.

I got this, now. I got this.

Rachel is the author of the urban fantasy Monster Haven series from Carina Press. She believes in magic, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks, and putting things off until stress gets them done faster at the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas.

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