NaNoWriMo Memoir #3-Swamp

There is a short girl with an oversized backpack wandering around campus, talking to herself, getting lost, and twitching like a drug addict. That would be me, operating on about four hours of sleep and a heart-attack-inducing volume of coffee. If you see me around, pay attention, because soon, I'll be walking into trees and getting hit by parked cars. Again.

I may also be seen clacking away at my laptop in a coffee shop or library, staring at my screen in despair as I realize that I am more than 9,500 words behind, and have four major tests in three different classes this week, including a midterm.

Every day, I will be typing until my fingertips are numb, reading until my eyes are sore, and running around trying to get together with other writers, a study group, and an important meeting, all while sucking down gallons of coffee and caffeinated sodas.

That is, except for one day. When I will be lying in a sunny spot in the grass, doing absolutely nothing.

While there are no formal surveys about NaNoWriMo, week three is when most writers drop out of the challenge, having found themselves swamped with writing and other work. This is especially true for students who are approaching the business end of fall semester.

The third week of NaNoWriMo is a challenge of motivation. Writers see themselves falling behind, on their novel and on everything else, and find the growing mass of numbers they're expected to write more and more daunting by the hour.

Writer’s block hits after the brain has been saturated in creativity for the last two and a half weeks, and soon we all will realize we have been sitting in front of an empty screen for two hours, trying desperately to think of something to write and coming up with… nothing.

We have to write a minimum of 1,667 words a day, and yet at this moment many of us can’t even manage the ten words it takes to text our misery to our friends. Eventually, it's too much, and giving up is the only way out – this is when I dropped out last year.

In light of all that, one of the best cures for this “blue period” of writing is to take a day off.

We will fall even further behind, there is no doubt about that, but we are already behind anyway. Rest and recuperation during this period is essential, because the worst thing that can happen to a writer is having their creativity dry up.

As lazy and unproductive as it seems, one day, for just a few hours, I will refuse to do anything. When I wake up and jump back into the fray, I'll be well-rested and better armed to defeat my beast of a novel, and write it whether it wants to be written or not.

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