NaNoWriMo, learning something new, taking classes, starting a new hobby, no matter what you do, there will always come the moment when you want to just quit. You’ve had it. It’s not fun any more.
Yes, you can take a break, write about something else, go for a walk, skip a day, reward yourself with a treat, but keep going.
Runners and endurance sports participants often hit what is known as the wall or the bonk, a point where their body’s energies can no longer sustain their actions. Before the body gets to that point, however, there is another kind of wall they hit. This one is when the body feels like it can’t take any more, and it wants to crap up and quit, but experienced athletes know that this is just a warning sign and not the true crash. If they push through it, on the other side is a sense of euphoria, moving becomes second nature, breathing is easier, and they get a burst of energy.
When writers hit the wall, they can’t take it any more, sometimes on the other side of that, if they just push through, there is euphoria and a burst of creative energy that keeps them going.
Writer’s walls are usually psychological rather than physical, though if you’ve been sitting for 10 hours, it’s physical. Get up and move. The psychological walls are usually self-doubt, loss of confidence, or just plain stuck.
You’ve probably already developed the tools to deal with your occasional self-doubt and confidence issues, but what about when you are just stuck? The story ain’t going nowhere.
You can push through and hope to figure it out, or take a break and let the mind rest.
Sleep is a good solution, allowing the mind to process as it rests and flushes out toxins. So is taking a walk, exercising, just letting the mind go and the body take over.
There is another method promoted by Cheryl Richardson, author of the bestselling Life Makeover series. She suggests using the power of the mind to make an appointment with yourself. Give your brain an assignment, a task, something to mull over, and set an appointment at, say, 6PM tonight or 6:30AM the next morning. Instruct your mind that you show up, on time, ready for the answer. Put your unconscious to work. Between now and then, if your unconscious starts knocking early, tell it to wait until the appointed time. Amazingly, if you show up, the answer, solution, whatever you asked it to do, will be there, waiting. It takes a few tries, but it works.
Above all, when NaNoWriMo or any writing project starts to be hard work and not fun, remember this: it is supposed to be work. Work can be fun, but when you are working, you are working, and sometimes it is hard.
Don’t give in. Examine why it feels so hard right now when a few days ago it was a joyous experience. Identify the culprit, and find a way to find the passion again in what you are writing.
Keep going. Break through that wall. There is good stuff on the other side.
You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.