My NaNoWriMo Self-Motivational Rant

It’s time for a talk with myself…

Is it November yet? It feels like it given the way I’m racing the clock this month leading up to NaNoWriMo. For last year’s NaNo I wrote a sequel, which diminished my planning pressure. There were only a limited number of new characters and the story had been in the back of my mind since completing the prior sequel.

NaNo Cover: CA Hawthorne

I’m writing another Ontyre novel, Protecting the Pneuma Key. In fact, like Stealing Light, this one is in Pannulus (there’s no connection between them otherwise). That means a lot of NEW. Meanwhile, it’s as if my fingers are wearing cement overshoes, I’m moving too slow…

I’ve been putting in time, but thus far not nearly enough.

•slaps self• (harder than expected)


The month is almost a third gone, and while I’ve generated over 10K in notes, that’s just the beginning. This morning, while eating breakfast, I started a list of all the characters who need to be named something more than “parole officer” and “imprisoned witch.” Currently, there are two named characters: Zepthtasha (Zepha) and Trevin, an investigating agent.

Did I mention a third of the month is gone?

I have a list of locations in and around the city of Cather that fills a page. Where are they specifically? No idea. I know the prison is visible from Zepha’s home because on the night before she visits she lights a pyre so someone special to her knows she’ll be visiting.

I can hear the clock ticking. Literally. There’s one on the wall five feet away (I’m a clock addict). It’s possible it isn’t a tick so much as laughter, but I’m not giving up.

Pannulus - 2019. Map: CA Hawthorne
Pannulus – 2019. Map: CA Hawthorne

Those notes? They’re organized to the extent that there are a lot of headings, but beyond that they’re little more than free writing. I’m not knocking having done that, though. Those 10K notes contain a mountain of brainstorming, but they should already be entered into my newly created Scrivener project. They aren’t. Not yet.

The biggest problem I’ve had, the central problem I’ve had, has been not getting out of my own way. I’m a fast, don’t-look-back drafter, but I can become bogged down in process when I plan. That’s working against me and it needs to stop. Today.

Some of the trouble is I’m putting extra pressure on myself this year. This story, I often remind myself, is extra special. This story contains everything that means a lot to me as a reader (and, therefore, as a writer). Everything.

Too, I can see it happening. I can see those elements coming together to form a story that’s already more than I imagined. Yeah, more pressure.

Truth is, though, the pressure exists because the writing manager voice in my head says I’ve been slacking. I’ve spent too much time online checking this, watching that, and monitoring all manner of media that doesn’t need minding. There’s an imbalance and until I correct it the pressure will remain. My gut knows when I’ve put in the effort I should have.

My head knows when, in the midst of NaNo, I’ve failed in my preparation.

Photo: A stressed out CA Hawthorne

As is always the case, I’m not after 50K for NaNo. I’m after a novel. That’s my primary goal each November and each November I’ve achieved it. This year will be NO different.

Maybe I’m reaching for the stars, but if I don’t reach at all I’ll not capture a one.

I know, I’m driven and stubborn and, perhaps, a bit obsessed. Got it. Everyone has their idea of what NaNo means to them and that’s the NaNo goal they should pursue. My goal is a novel. Not just any novel. The novel. I’m extraordinarily proud of the other stories I’ve penned, but this one, this one is my heart on the page.

But not if I don’t get to work.

One Reply to “My NaNoWriMo Self-Motivational Rant”

  1. Pingback: My NaNoWriMo Self-Motivational Rant | Christina Anne Hawthorne

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