NaNoWriMo and Writing Troubles in Tough Times

I took part in this year’s April Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s weird to think how much my perception has shifted in that time. At the beginning of the month, lockdown in the UK had just begun and I’d newly finished my dissertations. I knew I had three weeks of lockdown set before me and I wanted to devote that time to creative writing, as much as possible. In the early days it was a great distraction – but now, over 40 days into lockdown, being creative has started to get difficult… even for someone like me, who lives and breathes creative writing.

I don’t like writing posts with a negative edge. Today’s post isn’t meant to be me whining or losing faith in the future. Today, I’m talking about the importance of acknowledging how tough times are right now. While there is always someone who has it worse than me – I’m lucky to be in a place where I’m financially stable for now, have a roof over my head and a lot of tools to distract myself with. But, regardless of situation, it’s difficult to feel like I’m reaching my creative potential, or meeting any of the goals I’d set myself, when the wider world doesn’t feel safe.

It isn’t that I have a lot of work to do. I have several things I’m working on but none of them are taking priority. I have a final assignment for university that I was thankfully granted an extension for (I don’t want a repeat of how much I burnt out over my dissertation) and then I’m working on my future career: constructing a CV, a portfolio, a professional website and investing in my blog post as a means of looking favourable to employers. The future is uncertain right now so I’m working on doing all the things that are in my control rather than thinking too much about how out of my control the pandemic, and what happens next, is.

There are benefits to the situation we’re all in. I promise. I encourage everyone to really think about the good after acknowledging the bad. For example, I have time to invest in taking care of myself. I’m cooking good, balanced, tasty food for myself. I’m keeping my space and myself clean and practicing getting rid of my dependence on makeup. Some days are better than others but I’m evolving to be my best, emotionally mature self. I find it easier to take a step back and think about my situation when I’m upset, or exhausted, or frustrated. That’s a huge step from a few years ago. Maybe it’s a sign I’m growing up faster and I thought. I like it. It’s a nice change.

Let’s talk about what I am writing, because I am still managing to do little bits and pieces. It might not meet my preconceived notions of “good” productivity but it’s certainly better than nothing. Better than nothing is precisely my motto at the moment. Everything I have going for me is certainly better than it could be. I largely write in on-again-off-again phases. Sometimes I won’t be able to write for days, then I’ll churn out a whole chunk of writing in one go, and then I’ll write a few sentences each day for another week. I like that I have several creative writing projects I can contribute towards: if I’m in the mood to write, I’m consciously allowing myself to do so.

Blogging is a huge positive in my life at the moment, too. I recently redesigned the site and rewrote all of my pages. I have a list of blog spring cleaning tasks to do and I’m about half way through it. I’ll be writing a big blog post about this later and it’ll be linked here when it goes live. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the things I feel I should be doing and I’ve certainly been in a place before where I panic so much about not being productive that I destroy any chance of changing the scenario. Take breaks, reassure yourself that this will end, and break any huge tasks into little tasks. Something is better than nothing: whatever something you get done today, or this week, or this month – it’s great work, and I’m proud of you.

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Are you struggling with being creative right now? Talk to me in the comments. Let’s get through this together.

3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo and Writing Troubles in Tough Times”

  1. I liked an authors POV on this from y’all west about filling the creative well. Sometimes being stuck in the same place doing the same things doesn’t allow for new material to flow and being creative gets hard. However, I’ve found playing games with my friends or reading or binging a good show helps with that quite a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

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