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Writing a Book in April; Follow up

As I mentioned previously, I’m taking April to take part in a National Novel Writing Month challenge to write my non-fiction book–I am finishing a partially written personal memoir–over the course of 30 days.

Here’s my update on this emotional and educational journey.

Week one went overall pretty smoothly, as to be expected when starting a new challenge. I had a couple of pretty heavy writing days, so I could afford to slack off for a couple of days. On day three, I realized there was no way I could squeeze 33,000 words into a measly five chapters that I had not written yet. I came to the conclusion that the most I could do was 18,000 in five chapters. This led me to change my goal. Now my goal was to write about 600 words a day.

Suddenly, I became extremely busy when I got recruited, interviewed, and hired for a job at a financial firm. Without warning, all my focus was on learning about how money works and working towards getting licensed. I was using up all my energy on that.

By the time I was able to write, I did not do a whole lot of it. I did not worry too much about it since I was far enough ahead. I soon realized how far behind I was as I struggled to get that amount of work done each day.

Week two, however, did not go as well as week one. I hardly got any writing done. I think I wrote only 200 words for the entire week. I have been battling some odd symptoms lately that have made it difficult to get anything done. I have had a low-grade fever for over a month now, with chills, sweats, shakes, and massive amounts of fatigue that only seem to be getting worse each week. I slept that entire week and tried desperately to get my disastrous apartment cleaned when I actually had some energy to get something done. For even more distractions from my writing, I had a lot of appointments and meetings to attend throughout the week. Don’t worry, I am definitely working to figure out what is going on. I have a smidgen less energy than normal, but all the medical tests they did so far have come back negative. My on-going health is still a bit of a mystery.

In the meantime, I am trying to get myself on a better schedule and force myself to work on whatever I need to. I have made a mental list of what is important to get done and just focus on one thing at a time. Of course, there is NaNo, which my goal has landed at about 7,000 words for the month now, only about 300 words a day. It is more than an attainable word goal for me.

The next thing is studying for my licensing exam, then making sure I go to my doctor appointments, and finally attempting to get some cleaning done. It doesn’t seem like a lot but the fatigue I’ve been dealing with is completely debilitating. I’m so frustrated because I want to get things done. I’m not procrastinating, I simply can’t muster up the energy long enough to make a dent in anything. But I’m not going to give up.

I promised myself I would finish this book this month, so word count aside, I’m going to finish it. I will just have to go in small spurts. I will not worry about the number of words I need to write. The number is just a motivational tool at this point, to keep me on track towards my end goal. However many or little words I write does not matter at this point. It’s just about having something written on every page following each journal entry. It is about completing all the reflection pieces for the book.

This is a very emotionally charged writing process for me so I need to not pressure myself too much. I need to recognize when it is time to put the writing aside and collect myself, regroup, recharge, and do some self-care. That is why I am not stressing too much about being so behind. This is not something I should be rushing to write. It is a form of therapy to heal from trauma, and time is what heals, not quantity.

How have you been doing with your writing this month?

I would love to hear how it is going for you in the comments. Tell me about what you are writing this month. Are you struggling to meet your initial goal? Did you decide to change it? Are you making more progress than you thought? Let me know!

Remember: Keep calm and write on!


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