We are smack in the middle of NaNoWriMo, and by now you’re probably getting tired. Maybe you know where your plot is going; maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re getting a little sick of your characters, or you feel like you’re just a robotic typing machine and writing has become little more than a chore you grudgingly get through each day. Maybe you’re thinking that NaNoWriMo is a joke, and whatever reasons you had to start this challenge now seem thin and brittle.
You could quit. Popular wisdom aside, quitting is ALWAYS an option. You didn’t pay anything to do this (unless you donated, but that’s a charitable thing, not an entrance fee) and unless you’ve plugged into the network of NaNo enthusiasts (which it’s never too late to do), no one is really expecting you to finish.
Self care is important. If it’s killing you, why continue?
But is it really killing you?
Before you consider quitting, I want you to try something: think of a beautiful place. If you have the time and resources to do so, grab your laptop and GO to a beautiful place. Look at pictures of castles and fairy tale cottages on Pinterest, Google photos of redwoods and icebergs.
Now send your character(s) there–whichever beautiful place is most plausible for your book. It doesn’t matter if it fits into the plot arc; spend today’s 1600 words on description, whether you’re going to keep it or not. (You must keep reminding yourself: NaNoWriMo is a writing exercise, not a quick fix for writing a novel. In fiction, as in any art, there are no quick fixes.) Try to open up the poetry center of your brain (you might not think you have one, but trust me: it’s there). Try to enjoy the words and images without worrying about plot–but if plot seeps in, how cool is that?
And it likely will; you’ve spent at least the last couple weeks with these characters, and they’re inside you now. They’re going to react to anything you write. They will love your beautiful place or they will hate it. It will stir their emotions.
And if it doesn’t and you’re still miserable and now you hate me about as much as you hate your novel and you just want to throw your laptop across the room, then by all means: quit. You are in control of your own life and you know what is best for you.
Otherwise: keep moving forward!
As usual, I encourage you to share your writing in the comments, and I will, too.