The “After-NaNo” Burn Out


The “After-NaNo” Burn Out

NaNoWriMo ended over two months ago, and yet major editing started last week, mere thought of book two started Friday, and the urge to write finally has returned to my finger tips.

One of the few draw backs of NaNoWriMo is the burn-out affect. Writing every single day to meet a deadline is hard enough, but when one misses a day, the whole process becomes much, much worse. Catching up is one of the hardest parts of NaNoWriMo, and tends to be where participants begin to “lose” the competition against themselves. The only way you lose NaNoWriMo is if you quit, and once you’re so far behind that towering word count, self-doubt begins to tear you apart.

Thus begins the first stage of the burn out.


Stage One

Usually this stage takes place the first day you fall behind. You’re clinging to your fallen word count, desperately trying to build up to the day’s goal, but the words begin to slow, the movement falls shallow and the characters flatten and devolve to mere stereotypes of who they’re supposed to be. At this point, it would seem better to stop writing than to force yourself to continue. So that’s what most people do. They stop, and fall, and by quitting they lose.

To avoid this, don’t cling to the word count. The word count is arbitrary. It has no value, it has no meaning, no heart, but your story does have meaning, it does have heart and it sure has a ton of value!


Stage Two


You’ve caught up to your word count, but at a price. You have no idea where you’re supposed to go now. Here, folks stress, stress and stress before finally shouting, “I quit!” and tossing their expensive laptop out the window.

First, it’s not the laptop’s fault that you gave up.

Second, don’t come telling me, “But it wasn’t my fault, the story just sucked!” You and I both know that’s not true. You gave up on the story. The story did not suck. No story sucks. Not even Twilight. Sorry, but you just gave up a story that the world needed to hear. That’s your fault, not the story’s.

Third, go get your lap top, calm down, and write the book.


Stage Three


….Is that…. 50,000 words? No way! I won! Ha! I-….The Nano counter says I’m a thousand short. But…but I finished the story….I…I’ll just add in some stuff, yeah that’s it!


Stop! Stop that! Bad! Don’t do that!


Only add things that are needed for the story. Don’t go dumping your empty coffee cups into your novel, it’s not a sink, or a trash can or anything of the sort. Put some thought into it. As I said, the word count doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is the way the story is told. Does it sound good? Anything seem unclear? There is always something that can be touched up on, no story is ever perfect (for example, the Time Turner plot hole in Harry Potter).


Your story is worth your time and effort, so treat it was it’s worth. NaNoWriMo was made to promote your goals, not take a whooping poop on them. Don’t go thinking that because you’re not meeting the word count that your book isn’t good or you’re a bad writer, because it’s just not true. You book is worth everything, just as you are, so keep at it!

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Faith has been writing for eight years, likes to squeal over Supernatural & hang out with her besties. She's also an artist who's been doing art since the day she was handed her first crayon. Her spirit animal is Jenna Moreci, and she loves classic rock. She attempts to post every Thursday.

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  • I went through this exact process, honestly!!! I fell SOOO far behind after a surprise trip and it was really hard to catch back up. You’re right about self-doubt being what makes you lose. I honestly wanted to give up so badly but I kept going and finished the 50k!

    That last part was a really good point. My story still wasn’t complete after November but I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

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