Writing While Woman: NaNoWriMo as the World Burns

I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo in 6 years, and it wasn’t because I wasn’t writing, but because I found the entire concept stressful beyond all belief. Missing a day of writing would send me into small panic sessions over my failure, and as the days passed, I would become even more despondent as I slipped further behind my 50,000 word goal. It stands to reason that in this current climate I’d be even warier of launching into a project that used to make me anxious, yet it’s opposite. Maybe 2020 has hardened me (no), or maybe I’ve grown more confident in my skills as a writer (also no), or maybe the distraction factor of NaNo has finally outweighed the stress (yup).

So, for all of you other wayward authors out there wondering what in the world to do with your anxious selves, I welcome you to join me in my 2020 NaNoWriMo adventure. There are only two rules:

  1. Set a reasonable goal that works for you. As for me, I shan’t be writing 50k words in a month. I don’t foresee me ever accomplishing such a feat, no matter the circumstances. Some people, magicians perhaps, hit the 50k goal at the end of November, some of them year after year. YOU ARE AMAZING. Others only manage a few thousand words, if that. YOU ARE ALSO AMAZING. You are writing. You’re doing it, and I’m proud of you.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Didn’t write today? Big whoop. Only eked out 26 words in your recent session? Cool, that’s 26 words more than you had before! 26 words closer to the end of whatever you’re writing. NaNo is a tool, not writer law. However, there is something comforting in knowing you aren’t alone on your journey. Even if at a distance, you are part of something larger than just your world and your words, and that’s pretty rad.


None of this is to say that you should be writing if you aren’t in the right frame of mind to do so. I know I haven’t been for most of the year. But if you’re up for it, maybe NaNo can be the gentle nudge to get your thoughts out of the doom and gloom, if only for a moment.

Here’s to happy writing. You’re doing great.


Some links to get you going: