When You Fail at NaNoWriMo on the First Day

So, I’m working on a project I’m excited about. But…working is a very loose term right now. As in, I get a few pages done each week in between self-care Netflix binges and making sure my cone-headed dog isn’t bumping into things. It’s something about the weather in Buffalo this year. It’s dark and rainy and just plain blah. Not exactly that crisp golden fall feeling that usually makes me sharpen my pencils and get to work. And maybe it’s a little bit of preoccupation with some things in my personal life. Either way, I’m just not writing.

And then came November. That fateful month when writers around the world seek to get out of their writing ruts and write A WHOLE NOVEL in one month. Now, I don’t have a whole novel to write, but I do have about 25,000 words left in my WIP. So, I thought I’d do my own version of NaNoWriMo. Just 500 words a day for 30 days. Simple, right?

And then I failed to write. On the FIRST day. And because I was bummed about failing on the first day, I failed on the second day, and the third, and…well, now it’s November 5th and I’ve got nothing to show for it.

This, of course, leads me to doubt myself as a writer. Big time. I spent all of my release month feeling like AN AUTHOR. I signed books and read from my book and collected some good reviews. I felt energized. I felt legit! And now I’m binging Netflix cuddled under a warm blanket with my cat instead of putting pen to paper? Did I use up my creativity on that one book? Did I get what I wanted by being published, and now I’m just…done?

I don’t think this is true, but I do think that I’m going through a bit of a rough patch with my writing. A patch that can’t be cured by an exciting premise, a stretch of free time to write, or NaNoWriMo.

But here’s what I can do, and I’ll start today. I’m going to write a sentence. And maybe that sentence will turn into a stanza. And maybe that stanza will turn into a page. Because isn’t that how all books are written? One word at a time? I may not be writing hundreds a day with the NaNoWriMo crowd…but I can write one word.

And maybe that’ll change everything.