I’m really lucky to have the life I do now, even if my mental illnesses make it hard to focus on that. At the drop of a hat, I can throw sense and practicality aside in order to spend an entire month writing in as much of my free time as I can make myself use. I have a job that lets me adjust my hours so that, if I sleep in an extra three hours because I stayed up too late trying to write, I can just stay a little later. I’ve got the means to buy a specific brand of energy drink so that I can keep myself more or less focused when my 4-5 hours of sleep a night starts to catch up to me. I’ve got friends who understand that I might need to bail last-minute or that I might be a little slow on the uptake when I’m spending time with them because I’m trying to get my writing in without giving anything up.
All of that is even ignoring the more basic things like having a nice computer and the ability to buy myself a new keyboard so the infernal, insanity-inducing space bar squeaking will finally stop. Or like having the ability to spend so much of my time focus on one project to the exclusion of all else. I only need to work 40 hours a week to make ends meet. I was able to go to an expensive college that taught me so many of the skills I need and use every day to accomplish projects like NaNoWriMo (though a cheaper college have done that as well).
Sometimes, when I’m very stressed or worn out or feeling particularly put-upon, reminding myself of all of these things help. Right now, I’m feeling all three. Its been a long month that is now half over and I’m currently sitting at just over 20% of my goal. I’ve got no one to blame but myself for being so far behind, but my upcoming schedule doesn’t make it any easier. I’ve got some time off that I’m considering using, to help me catch up and get a proper amount of sleep for friggin’ once. I’m going to get at least two more days of it this year and I’ve got about four saved up already, so I think I can afford to take one or two off this month. Probably today and then one day during the last week of November.
It would be really nice to sleep. And I’d be able to get a day or two of extra writing done if I take the day off, even AFTER running some of the errands I’ve been putting off…
One of the major steps toward growth is overcoming our boundaries. If we only do what we know we can or what are comfortable doing, then we don’t grow. Only by pushing up against the very limits of what we could do or by stepping outside of our comfort zone can we truly expand our capabilities and grow stronger as a person. Today, write about a time when your character was pushed to their boundaries and whether or not they decided to try to push beyond them. If you can fit it in, also write about what happened because of their decision, really show us what that moment meant to them in the long run.
One of my favorite current (you know, still alive and writing) authors is Brandon Sanderson. He is incredibly prolific and writes an insane number of books every year. There is much room to debate the quality of his works, but one that easily stands above his other works is the Way of Kings series. Sanderson is already a master of unconventional worlds and he out does himself with this series. In a land ravaged by irregular “High Storms” (typhoons of horrific wind and rain that pass over the entire land as they vent their fury on the people trying to live in their path) the entire ecology of the lands that get the worst of it has evolved differently. Everything seems to have a hard shell or tough carapace, some armor to protect it from random seasons and terrible storms.
If you’re looking for interesting characters, a complex plot, and a world unlike anything you’ve read, I definitely recommend picking up Sanderson’s The Way of Kings series, which is now comprised of three full-size novels and numerous bits of errata scattered around (at least one is basically a neat little novella all on its own). That’s actually why I chose to write about this today, because the third book (Oathbringer) came out yesterday.
Writing is a lot of effort. It takes a great deal of patience and toughness to keep typing the words out every day. One thing that can make it easier is to make sure you’re getting at least some creativity from outside sources every day. If you’ve got a book you stopped reading when you started NaNoWriMo, pick it up again. If you’ve got a new video game, spend some time playing it. While it is important to remember not to over-do your relaxation and recharging, it is just as important to remember to not ignore them entirely. Even a little reading every day can keep you more creative when it comes time to write. There’s going to be plenty of editing work to be done after the end of NaNoWriMo, so who cares if your story winds up being super similar to the book you were reading? Just write and figure all of that out later.