The Aftermath of NaNoWriMo

I have a confession to make.

Since the end of NaNoWriMo, it has been a struggle to get any words out on the page. I finished the first act of my novel, roughly 18,000 words, which is well below the 50K goal.

I am proud of that number. I was ready to tackle the middle build when everything came to a screeching halt.

Why? Life happens.

I have been unhappy in my job for a while. I had convinced myself that the experience was worth staying in the toxic environment. But I finally hit my breaking point and started the job search. No job, no matter how great the experience, is worth emotional abuse. The minute I decided enough was enough, I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders.

At my workplace, when someone is even hinting at leaving, they are treated as if they are already gone. So I had to be discreet in my search and interview process.

The perfect opportunity came at the right moment.

I was a bundle of nerves for two weeks, going through the interview process. The anxiety kept me up at night. I couldn’t focus on my writing; my mind would wander when I tried reading.

Finally I got the call. They offered me the job and I accepted. But the anxiety was still there. I had to put my two weeks in and judging from the way past employees were treated when they left, I thought for sure they’d tell me to leave immediately.

They didn’t. But I have certainly gotten the cold shoulder from leadership. Which is a shame, considering I put 4 years in at this job.

But I’m moving on.

My new job provides me the flexibility I need to focus on the things that keep me happy, writing included.

So what’s next?

I have been devouring podcasts, nonfiction books on craft, structure, marketing and selling books. But what I really need to do is write!

I’m not sure that jumping into NaNoWriMo was the right thing for me to do this year, but what it did show me was that I could write 18,000 in a month. While it wasn’t a novel, that could certainly be a short story or novelette. Not only that but I found a wonderful community of writers that support me.

I think that I need to take baby steps. Perhaps right now isn’t the best time to tackle a full novel.

Short stories are a great way to get started writing again. I recently listened to Joanna Penn’s podcast The Creative Penn, Episode 354 called How to Make Money Writing Short Fiction with Douglas Smith. The advice is spot on.

When I was younger, I used to love short stories and wrote many of them, with good review. The beauty of writing short fiction is that it forces you to make every word count.

There’s a demand more now than ever for bite-sized fiction and I think this is an excellent way for me to start getting back into the swing of things.

I’m looking forward to 2018. New job. New ideas. Renewed sense of wellbeing.

It’s going to be a good year!

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