Why I’m Not Doing NaNo And How I Feel About It

24 Oct

For the first time in four years, I’ve decided not to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) at all. I had a traditional ‘win’ in 2014 and in 2015 and 2016, I started participating after my school semester ended in the middle of the month and I did a time-based editing commitment. It was a bit more like camp NaNo but it still allowed me to participate and enjoy write-ins.

This semester, my class doesn’t end until early December and I’ve decided not to commit myself to any participation at all. It’s hard to step away for a year and I’m really going to miss the way NaNo makes me so excited about writing and the friends its introduced me to. I usually have the energy to write from NaNo that extends until February. But this year, I won’t.

This comes at a hard time for me because I’ve stopped feeling like a writer. I write this blog, but I’m not working on my short stories and IΒ haven’t touched my novel in a few months. I’ve had a few acquaintances ask me lately how my novel is going and my answer is ‘school.’ I feel like I’m not a writer now, I’m a student. I don’t feel like I have time to be both.

With a graduate date of December 2018, I’ll have at least another year of feeling this way. I made a running analogy about this for my husband that I feel works well. Writing this blog is like training for a 5K. It’s short, small runs, that keep me in shape and keep me feeling good. Working on my novel is like training for a marathon. It’s completely different and a lot more commitment. Running 5Ks puts you in a good position to start training for a marathon, but it’s not in the same league. This blog keeps my muscles loose, but they’re not ready to jump into a novel.

I hope none of you are having writer doubts like I am. It makes me all sad and mopy. I’m really hoping that when I’m no longer a student, I can reach some other goals I have for myself. One is to finish a half Ironman triathlon. The other is to finish my book and start querying it. I’ll start January 2019 but that seems a long way off.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


15 Responses to “Why I’m Not Doing NaNo And How I Feel About It”

  1. TheBookishUnderdog October 24, 2017 at 11:41 AM #

    Don’t worry, we all have writer doubts sometimes. For years I didn’t think I even liked writing anymore. Sometimes you just have to switch up the way you write – so giving NaNo a miss this year will probably help you in the long run!


    • Sam October 24, 2017 at 11:49 AM #

      Thank you! I’d hate to push off this dream but it’s not my top priority right now and it’s one that can wait. I hope you’ve rediscovered writing in a positive way. Happy writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. silverbuttonbooks October 24, 2017 at 1:41 PM #

    One day you will be walking into Starbucks and see someone studying and you will have a burst of pure freedom that comes from not answering to the onslaught of school demands. Meanwhile, measuring your commitments is so important and I applaud you for doing so because I know how hard it is to take a step back in life.


    • Sam October 24, 2017 at 2:24 PM #

      Lol I can’t wait for that day! I took a year off between undergrad and graduate school and I’m excited to go back to that level of being care-free. Here’s hoping I’m walking into Starbucks to do some writing! Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bookandswordblog October 24, 2017 at 5:28 PM #

    I feel like a lot of challenges and camps and things that put time frames on you actually hurt instead of helping. Sometimes too much pushing is worse than no pushing. Just do whatever makes you happy πŸ’—

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam October 24, 2017 at 5:32 PM #

      I’ve found that short pushes are good for me. Maybe doing a ‘starter NaNo’ for a week would be a good goal for me to do when I’m not in school. Thanks for the thought!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Emily Wrayburn October 24, 2017 at 6:45 PM #

    I know exactly how you feel. I’ve had to put writing on hold quite a bit lately due to to school stuff. I’m taking leave from my degree next semester because I have other things I need to concentrate on, but I’m hoping to make writing one of them. I’ve got so many friends putting their work out there and getting incredible amounts of writing done and I do feel like I’m struggling to keep up sometimes.

    I’m not doing NaNo this year because I’ve realised it’s actually not a method that really works for me, but it’s hard not to feel left out when pretty much all my writer friends are participating in one way or another.


    • Sam October 24, 2017 at 7:58 PM #

      I’m thinking of going to write ins if only to get my blog posts done! The environment is electrifying. Good luck with school! I’m close to finishing so taking a break seems silly but I think I’ll have 6 weeks off this summer and I’m hoping to use it for vacation with my husband. 😍 Happy writing!


  5. lilisblissfulpages October 25, 2017 at 1:40 AM #

    So familiar with this right now though not a student anymore… I know this is just a phase, all of us(writers) experience once in a while but the burden and pain and disappointment that go along with this phase is just hard to bear. But let’s just keep moving… I’ll participate Nano this year, this is my third but I’ve only won last year.. the first time I joined, I was still a student and didn’t even reach 10K words…So I totally understand the feeling…what you’re going through…Good luck to you and I pray you get through it really soon. *Hugs* and you’re a writer…neither your feelings nor other people can tell you otherwise….


    • Sam October 25, 2017 at 12:14 PM #

      Thank you so much! And congratulations on your win last year. It wouldn’t be a challenge if it was easy. All the hugs back to you! Happy writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hunida October 25, 2017 at 7:42 PM #

    I’m sorry you have no time to write your novel, Sam. I say if it’s making you sad and mopey not write, you have to make the time to do it. ❀


    • Sam October 25, 2017 at 8:59 PM #

      You’re so right! I should use this frustration to get back to writing. The problem is my class schedule! I’m at least using this frustration to study for my midterm tomorrow! Haha

      Liked by 1 person

  7. siderealday October 28, 2017 at 12:09 AM #

    I think anyone who doesn’t ever doubt hasn’t given something their all. It’s a part of throwing yourself at your dreams again and again, working hard to make them reality. But I think you’ll be fine, in the end. As you said, you’re using the blog to ‘stay in shape’ and you’ve got solid plans for how you’re going to keep going about the act of writing.
    Good luck with school and everything! And one day, we’ll be reading and reviewing your book(s).


    • Sam October 28, 2017 at 10:13 AM #

      You’re too sweet, thank you. I really really want to see my book reviewed on a blog here one day. It would be so fulfilling. Are you doing NaNo this year? Happy writing!


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