NaNoWriMo Performance Anxiety? I have it!

Say it’s Not True!

We are almost half way through November which means all those NaNoWriMo –ers out there should be approaching the 25,000 mark.

Excuse me? 25,000?

Sadly, that’s not the case with me. I’ll admit my month started off slowly because I attended fanatabulous GenreCon http://www.genrecon.com.au/ where I got to hang out with talented authors like Kim Wilkins, Anna Campbell, Helene Young, Christina Brooke and P.M.Newton,  and talk books and writing.

I also participated in The Great Debate: Plotters Vs Pantsers. Team Plotter featuring Kim Wilkins, L.A. Larkin and Narrelle Harris had done their homework and were prepared, as well they should have been, being plotters and all. As for Team Pantser (Anna Campbell, Daniel O’Malley and moi) – let’s just say we should have spent less time drinking at the bar, believing we could ‘wing it’ and more time actually coming up with complete and coherent sentences.

It was hilarious – and the absolute highlight? Daniel kissing our stunned moderator, the lovely Kate Eltham.

So anyway, after faffing around for a few days at GenreCon, I finally sat down at my computer determined to get on with NaNoWriMo and Lily’s Little Flower Shoppe.

To date I have written 13,000. Not a stellar performance.

So what’s the problem?  As noted above, I’m a pantser.  I never know how my plots are going to advance or what my characters are going to do until I’m actually there with them writing their scenes. But at the moment I seemed to be trapped by a fear of moving forward. I have NaNoWriMo performance anxiety.

I’m caught up in the whole I can’t do this because I don’t know what happens next scenario…and anyway it’s all going to be crap so why bother? I know that all this dining out on negative self talk only leads to a downward spiral so I have to pull myself out of it and get on with it. (Also my professional reputation is at stake! I don’t want to fail at pantsing and prove those plotters right.)

Okay, I guess I could give up. Who’s looking my way, anyway? But I really don’t want to.

So yesterday, I took myself off to my friend’s gorgeous flower shop in the Blue Mountains and drilled her ad-nauseam for information. It was fascinating  – the revelations about funeral flowers, Valentine’s Day disasters and cheating husbands, alone could fill a book – and now, I feel truly inspired to write Lily’s story – whatever that may be.

I just have to shut up all the nay-saying voices in my head and let the characters speak for themselves –

So, for all the NaNoWriMo ers out there struggling to achieve their daily word count, here’s my ten cents worth:

Assuming you have no other pressing issues: child rearing, grocery shopping, dog walking, earning a living, etc, make yourself stay at the computer until you’ve written 500 or a 1000 words. Then reward yourself with a treat: chocolate, a walk in the park, a vat of vodka etc. I’m encouraging myself, (bribing, in other words) with an ‘okay once you’ve written a thousand words you can watch The Real Housewives (I didn’t say my rewards were particularly intellectual but you get the idea).

Reward yourself with whatever works for you, just as long as you keep WRITING.

There’s another two full weeks of NaNoWriMo. It’s not too late to give it a go!

*PS This 558 words is being added to my word count for the day!

7 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Performance Anxiety? I have it!

  1. PMSL. I understand both your fear and the whole pantsing thing. The pressure of keeping things rolling along makes me wonder if I should simply succumb to the spreadsheet and be done with it.

    Don’t give in Lisa. You can do it!

    • Yes, you’re right Jenn! Just type! That’s what I should be doing…looks around office, drinks tea, stares out window, pats cat, checks time, wonders what to cook for dinner, contemplates cocktail hour, wonders whether in fact she has any ‘cocktails’ in the house, wonders what’s happening in real time with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, wonders if people like Carrie and Brody actually exist (Homeland), looks out window, wonders if she could be a spy…

      • And remember, if you hit a wall, consider unexpected jags in the story like 1. A flesh eating virus sweeping through the town, city. 2. An unexpected nuclear war. 3. People are starting to go missing, no one knows why, until they find…SHARKS in the SEWERRRRRSS!!!
        That’s my hot tip for the day. Keep it up “Leesy-pops” xocj

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