Watching my daily word count decline is discouraging. I knew this year would be different from last year because I vowed that I would avoid triggering hypomania in myself this time around. But now I’m worried I won’t hit the NaNo goal of 50k in time, never mind my personal goal of 60k.
I keep reminding myself that the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to inspire, encourage, and motivate people into writing the stories they have inside them. It was never intended to be a slave driver. And as you all know, I started the month with 0 words. Now I have 34k words in 15 chapters written in 21 days. That’s 34k more words than I would have had if I hadn’t launched into this project.
If it sounds like I’m giving myself a pep talk, it’s because I am. I’m sharing it in the hopes it will help anyone else feeling a similar way remember what we’re doing here and what NaNo is really all about.
I don’t have the energy in this the way I did last year, and while I miss it, I don’t miss the constant irritability and anxiety that comes with it. The other difference this year is I’m not on meds. Not having them is messing with my sleep hard. I need to start remembering to score sleep quality, not just the hours of sleep. I’m waking up a lot.
So even though I don’t have the brain fog that Topamax causes, which made writing challenging, I’m now struggling with staying focused. Honestly, what I’m seeing here is the lack of focus is more detrimental and unproductive than the brain fog for me. The smallest things don’t just distract me, they’re completely derailing me.
My mind wants to wander everywhere all at once. Think all the things. Do all the things. Learn all the things. All at once, right now. I’m wishing now that I pay more attention to the ADD/ADHD community. I know it’s different from disordered thinking, but maybe some of the coping skills and strategies for strengthening focus on the things you want to focus on would be helpful to me.
Not to mention given the fact that I have siblings with ADHD and a child that might also have it, it’s entirely possible I have it too. But until I get medical coverage back in place, there’s not a lot I can do about it. It’s bad enough that therapy is coming out of my pocket right now. I can’t afford to go, but I can’t afford not to go either.
What I’m getting at is that as we reach the final stretch of NaNo, I’m finding myself struggling to keep a balance between self care and the productivity I’m aiming to achieve. It’s really tempting right now to fuck my sleep up all to hell in the name of word count. That’s really not healthy, or safe, for me to do.
So if you’re like me and you’re struggling and feeling it remember to take care of you. If you go to complete shit, then you won’t be writing anything at all. Pace yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other writers participating. Get the sleep your body needs. Eat well. Take breaks to move around and clear your head. Do whatever it is you need to do that not only keeps you going, but keeps you well.
As artists of the written word, our greatest asset is our mind. Take care of it.