I took a weekend off. It was nice to get a chance to rest. Or at least sort of rest since it is me and I still did laundry, Dungeons and Dragons prep, and worked on story ideas in my head. I also spent time cleaning and doing home improvement/winterization projects. I experimented with insulating my windows with plastic, the first time I’ve had to do so since I have been lucky to have good windows and well-insulated apartments in the past, and learned a lot about the struggles inherent in this sort of shit. They look terrible and half of them need to be fixed or entirely replaced, but it’ll be easier going forward since I have some experience now.
I struggled with the idea of taking some time away from writing since I’m a firm believer in discipline and daily writing, and I know I tend to feel better if I can spend some time every day writing, but I recognize there’s a thin line between pushing myself in a healthy way and pushing myself in an unhealthy way. I also recognize that, historically, I tend to always err on the side of pushing myself too hard, so I’m trying this new thing were I don’t routinely burn myself out.
I actually got pretty close to that last week, since I not only worked to get myself in a good position to take some time off of National Novel Writing Month for the holidays and a rest, but I wrote a total of eight thousand extra words from Sunday to Wednesday (more than half of which were written on Wednesday) that I wound up editing down to about six thousand five hundred for a project I wanted to share with the Dungeons and Dragons campaign I’m playing in. It was well received, which felt great, and it was a lot of fun to do, but it was still a lot of work crammed into a few days. Between that, a longer D&D session two days later, and a lot of driving for the holidays sandwiched between them, I was sorely in need of a rest. Throw in some really messed up dreams in the early hours of Saturday morning and I just did not feel up to writing anything. I barely felt up to D&D and only pushed myself to do it because the social contact is good for me and I knew I’d get more than it cost to play in one game and run the other.
So now, as I’m only about a thousand words away from finishing my NaNoWriMo goal (which has been finished by the time this goes up) and technically am done if I look across my two main story projects (the novel and this short story D&D thing), I am thinking about how to keep this momentum going forward. I might try reducing it one thousand words a day, or I might just go with a more nebulous amount, like “about an hour’s worth of work” or “one to two thousand words.” Something like that. Most of the time, once I get to work, I have a pretty good sense of about how much writing I have in me at whatever time it is. And the amount changes pretty drastically from project to project, even within the same day. I had the energy for five thousand words for that dungeons and dragons project but was struggling to get eighteen hundred words done in my novel.
Whatever I wind up doing, I’ll be sure to write about it here for purposes of accountability. I’m nearing the end of the novel project, so I’ll be picking it apart for editing and rewriting soon. And then a full draft. If I get that far, I might even start shopping it around. Who knows. That feels so distant, so unlikely and new that my mind shies away from considering it. All things in their time, I suppose.