Post NaNo Depression

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is celebrated the world over by authors who are professionally published, first timers, and young writers alike. It’s great to set a goal of writing 50,000 words in a month, whether you’ve planned every detail or you’re flying by the seat of your pants. But what happens when it’s over?

Dealing with that ‘blah’ feeling

I generally find that there are four moods following the month of November: stressed from all the things that have been ignored and need catching up on; pumped up to keep writing daily or at least regularly; pushing your writing project off until a more convenient time (burnout); or depression because your goal has or hasn’t been accomplished.

Why are you depressed?

Authors that I talk to who have post NaNo depression usually can pinpoint why. It’s because they’ve burned out all their energy making their goal or the task of editing seems daunting, or the task of going back to the real world seems daunting. (It always is.) Once you find out why you’re depressed about NaNo ending, you can work towards fixing it.

How to fix it

  • If you’ve burned out all your energy, rest. Even if you’re under a publishing deadline, you need to rest. Your novel isn’t going anywhere without you, and you don’t want to wind up hating it or taking a five year break.
  • If the work ahead is daunting to you, I always recommend one of two things. Continue creating new content through actual writing or planning. Or make playlists and think of how your characters would react in certain scenarios. This helps with character development off the page and may lead to new plot points. Alternatively, you can start editing as a whole or chapter by chapter. Let this baby be your best friend for finding out which words you use too much.
  • If you’ve been ignoring real life things, take the time to deal with them. Family, cleaning your house, whatever. Spend time with your SO and children or pick up those extra hours at work. Take care of your life and health so you can be around for NaNo the next year.
  • If you didn’t make your goal, remember that you did accomplish something. Even if you didn’t type a single word, you planned to write a novel, and that’s more than most people have done. It took me three years to finally participate in NaNo, and I didn’t make 50K the first year. 
  • If you’re concerned about a lack of support, there are plenty of places where writers gather on and offline. (You’re likely to find more online than off, unless you live in a writing community – and if you do, please share!) You’re more than welcome to join me in the Writing Vicissitudes Discord group. I’m there all year round.

Do you have another reason for your post NaNo depression? Let me know in the comments below.

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