NaNoWriMo 2019: Week Three Update

Now, I’m not the type to do this, and I don’t suggest that anyone else who is doing NaNoWriMo do the same, especially if this is your first time, but I’m going to officially throw in the towel for NaNoWriMo 2019, and I have a couple of reasons why.

The “Real Job”

Christmas is on the way and the end of the year is a little over a month from now. It’s the proverbial crunch time, and while it hasn’t affected me too much before, I’m not in the same position I was last year and it’s proving to be a lot more mentally and physically taxing than I expected it to be. And it just keeps getting busier and busier which makes it harder and harder to find the energy to write.

Platform Building & Strategizing

Back in June, I announced that I was going to be publishing my first book in 2020, and 2020 is only 6 weeks away at this point. I’m starting to feel that pressure on top of everything else I’ve got going on in my life. In addition to putting together some sort of marketing strategy, I’ve been making touch-ups to this blog, trying to create a plan for my author website, and figuring out how I’m going to build my email list. And in my mind, this sort of prep ranks a little higher than my “just for fun” NaNo project.

I’ve Run Out of Steam

I really wanted to start something fresh this November. I wanted to write what I wanted, because I wanted to, and I wanted to just have fun. That was why I started Crystallia – as a low-key, low-stress story that I could just have fun writing and not worry about whether or not the plot makes sense and the characters are acting accordingly. And it is fun. But the novelty of the story has worn off and it’s starting to feel like a chore now more than a passion project.

Casebook Drafting

This has been something I’ve really struggled with. The novel I plan to publish next year has gone through some changes, and it’s still in the drafting phase. By participating in NaNoWriMo, I’m neglecting the manuscript I should be working on in favour of my NaNo novel. And that’s just not okay. I’ve fallen into the word count trap again, and I’m obsessing over the word count of Crystallia and spending more time working on that draft than I am Casebook, the novel I actually plan to publish.

Why didn’t I just write Casebook for NaNo, you might ask? Well, I had considered doing that but there were a few issues that made me consider writing something new.

Casebook is a novella

The most important thing I had to consider was the length. Casebook was never going to be a full novel, and it certainly wasn’t going to get me to 50k. I had maybe 25k left to go at the start of November before the draft was done. Regardless of whether I did or not, I’d have to find something new to write. That’s why I hoped to rush the draft so I wouldn’t have to worry about changing projects. Alas, that did not happen.

I wanted something new

For years now I’ve used NaNo to work on novels I hoped to one day publish, and I always had that goal in mind. Looking back, maybe that’s helped me win – the knowledge that I was going to use this draft in the future. But I wanted to get Casebook done so I could enjoy a fresh new project. I wanted the novelty of a new project – the excitement of seeing a new world and learning new characters instead of working with the ones I’d become incredibly familiar with.

So, what am I doing with Crystallia?

I still plan to finish this NaNo novel – I’ll be writing it here and there, but I need to prioritize, and that means writing the drafts I should actually be working on, and putting things in motion for publishing next year. And unfortunately, that means that NaNo just isn’t a priority anymore.

I’m still going to be writing, and I’m still going to be updating my word count on the NaNo website, but I just don’t have the time or the energy to dedicate to a project that I’m not absolutely in love with.

As of writing this, I’m on chapter five of Crystallia, and about 10, 355 words into the draft. If I’m estimating correctly, I’m about 20% of the way through. Not a bad start, but I’m going to work on it a little more loosely, and focus my efforts where they should be – on my first book and my writing platform. Maybe next year I’ll be able to give NaNo a proper shot, but I’m afraid this is where I call it quits for NaNoWriMo 2019.

Author: Alyssa Flynn

Alyssa is a writer of fantasy and sci-fi, a certified geek, and a blogger over at Alyssa Lost in Space. She is currently writing her first novel which she plans to self-publish in Fall 2020.

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