During this month, I took a two-day break from writing. It was during some major birthday celebrations among close friends and family. Though I enjoyed the time I spent with those I care about, I won’t lie, the worry of falling behind was constantly in the back of my mind.
It is so hard to get back into a daily routine when you take a break, especially when it’s something as energy-draining as writing. I had a mentality that I couldn’t take a break at all this month, or I would never reach my goal.
The day I got back to writing, I knew I needed to write about 6,000 words to catch back up. This was so daunting since I’d been writing a little less than 2,000 words a day. I knew it wasn’t impossible, because I’ve written a lot more in a single day, but it’s still daunting.
The worst part was that I was at a part of my novel where I hadn’t figured out the details of the scene I had to write. My outline literally said, “Karsa springs into action and saves the day.”
I did this to give myself that “pantsing” feel while I wrote, and though it worked, it definitely put me in a sticky situation for a little while.
I eventually figured it out, though, and I managed to write a little over 4,000 words that day. That made me so happy, and when I input it into my Camp NaNoWriMo project stats, I realized though I hadn’t met my 6k goal, I was still on track to hit 50k before the end of the month!
My worries were completely dissipated seeing that, but I realized that I didn’t have to worry during those two days. I had room to take days off from writing and still meet my goal. More importantly, I realized that though I enjoy having a daily writing schedule, my goal can still be met if I don’t write daily. I just have to adjust my word count goals.
I’ve seen many writers on social media talk about how far behind they are with their NaNo goals. I love seeing how supportive writers are to each other when these posts come up. The more I see them, the more I realize that the challenge isn’t really about winning. It’s about encouraging people to get words on the page.
So, if you fall behind, that’s okay. If you don’t win the challenge, that’s okay. As long as you get some words down when you can, that’s what matters. That’s what the challenge is there for. It’s to encourage you to do your best. Progress is progress, and you always have more words when you finish a writing session than when you started.
I still aim to hit my 50k goal, but now I know if life gets in the way, which it often can, then it’s okay. The book will get written even if it isn’t before the month is over.