2021

New year must equal new goals, right? Well, not always. After the events of last year, I don’t think a lot of people are up to the task of thinking up and then aiming for new goals. And if you are, that’s great! Just don’t expect everyone to be the same.

2020 threw everyone for a loop. Quarantine, self-isolation, being unable to be in close quarters with friends and family all took their tolls on our mental health, and unlike physical illnesses, mental health has no set date for recovering.

Mental health takes as much time as is needed.

No one can say any differently. Everyone is unique and what applies to one person may not apply to the next. It takes trial and error and, yes, patience, to find your way back to a healthy mindset. If you even had one in the first place (I certainly didn’t).

So instead of making goals and aiming for better things, perhaps this year, or at least the first half, is better suited to finding your energy and creativity again. To resting your body and brain from the daily struggles and just finding that place where the world isn’t so crazy.

NaNoWriMo

November. The month of National Novel Writing Month, as known as The Month Writers Go Without Sleep and Live on Coffee.

50k in 30 days sounds pretty reasonable when the NaNoWriMo website divides it into daily chunks of 1667 words. That’s not much compared to the full 50k, but when you sit down and open that document, suddenly just making 250 words is an insurmountable task. To reach 1667? Impossible.

That’s how my month of NaNoWriMo went. Especially as I had not been writing for months, and definitely not every day. My writing muscles had atrophied but they still had sparks of life in them. Enough to help me reach on average 500 words a day.

500 words a day sounds doable, doesn’t it? It’s not quite going to add up to 50k, but it’s a start and still forward progress.

Until it isn’t.

Perfectionism is the bane of every writer. In my daily goal of 500 words, I often ended up completely rewriting what I’d written before. Often by a few thousand at a time.

Talk about making twice the work for myself.

But despite all the setbacks and the recurring doubt around my idea, I have still managed to reach 17k by December, 1st.

Which I think is a heck of an achievement.

What are some of your small achievements that feel big?

September Slump

September started swinging with my flurry of writing, but I won’t lie and say that this stayed consistent throughout the month. Nor did it stay for long.

That is the one thing about life; you just never know what will happen next. I started the month amid the beginnings of a writing project, and yet I ended with nothing.

It’s the same old story.

My writing just doesn’t feel enough, you know? It feels shallow, light, childish. With all the reading I’ve been managing this year, that feeling has strengthened into a desire to want to be a better writer. However, that means at some point I actually have to write.

Along with reading a lot more fiction than I have in recent years, I also read some new craft books that have helped me grasp some of what I’ve been missing in my own writing–in my own ideas, even.

Yet I still have to put these new outlooks into practice, which is a lot easier said than acted upon, especially when the allure of more reading is more tempting than slogging through the typing of a first draft.

Ever put off doing something, even if you really want to, because the end result may be enough? What made you push past the fear and actually do it?