Lauren’s Lounge: How to Pick Up a Goal Where You Left Off (instead of berating yourself because you’re not perfect!!)

This past November, I accomplished something big: I participated in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) and “won,” which means that I wrote a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Or, in my case, a 50,000 word half-novel, as I’m far from finished. It was such a great experience, because the focus isn’t on second-guessing every sentence and self-editing to the point that you haven’t written anything; it’s just about getting your words out.

But after November 25 (when I reached 50,051 words!), I felt burnt out on writing the story. Even though I was really excited to have reached my goal and I was loving the story itself, I had just spent such a concentrated amount of time on it that I needed a break. Writing for several hours a day, in addition to schoolwork and other commitments, was overwhelming, and just looking at my word document (actually a Celtx document, which I highly recommend if you’re creatively-minded) made me feel stressed out.

So I moved the document into a folder, off of my desktop, and I ignored it. That was sometime in December, and I barely looked at it since. After a while, I didn’t want to look at it again. What if I read what I had written during that month and I didn’t like it anymore? What if it wasn’t as fun or exciting as I remembered? What if I had lost my train of thought and wouldn’t be able to pick it up again? Would I be left forever with a half-finished novel that could have been something awesome?

Finally, this weekend, (in between going to Cádiz with my friends for a Carnaval celebration and exploring Seville some more!), I decided to open my story again and read through it to decide if it was something worth continuing. To my relief, I still liked it a lot! It needs a lot of work, and it’s only about half finished, but I think there’s something there! This semester is definitely busier than some in the past, but I’m going to set myself a goal to work on this novel at least once a week, even if it’s just to write a few hundred words. I don’t want to go another month or two (or three or four) without making any progress. Wish me luck!

Have you ever started working on a goal after a long time? What’s your advice?!

– Lauren Mateer
LeadHer™ Intern, Campus Calm
Learn more about Lauren here.

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