The annual November epic

So it’s coming to that time of year again. Having been so evangelical about what an amazing experience NaNoWriMo is, I’m absolutely delighted that so many of my author friends and acquaintances are signing up for it. We’ve gone from the unorganised write-ins and mini writing retreat last year to organised groups and a big retreat this year. Guest speakers and everything!

But this year I feel like I’ve given myself a lot of pressure, especially after last year’s insane official word count of 113 thousand words. (The unofficial count was 121 thousand.) Everyone is expecting me to go all out and churn out two new bestsellers. We’ve got dinners and meetings organised for the plannings of various novels and somehow I’m just not feeling it.

I’ve been in a state of flux this year. Everything is changing. My target of 7 novels is woefully by the wayside, having given way to the real life pressures of moving house and changing office and travelling around the UK to visit with family and friends. Yet more writing time was taken up with editing instead, something I really enjoy doing, but which takes up big chunks of time. Over the early part of the summer I was mostly crafting to be prepared for various fairs and events I went to. For the latter part of the summer, right up until a couple of weeks ago, I was really ill. I’m still feeling fatigued and generally in a state of ennui.

Somehow I let go of all the discipline I had maintained for the previous 8 months and I’m struggling to get back into it.

I don’t have writer’s block, but I have something that’s almost worse. I know where the stories are going, but I’m just not happy with anything I write. I’ve somehow lost my ‘voice’. I know I’m my own worst critic and that the books are probably okay, but I’m feeling so determined not to let anyone down. My readers are wonderful. They make me smile with their wonderful comments and kind words. They don’t deserve a book that hasn’t been on the receiving end of my fiercest attentions.

Somewhere in the last 6 months I think I’ve forgotten what writing is all about. It’s become about the planning and the release dates and the expectations. I need to learn to let it go and focus back on what’s important – the story.

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