I wish I could say that this past week was full of inspiration and victories in the wake of my convention in Ottawa and receiving the new anthology I was published in. Unfortunately, it was another week of feeling too drained and tired at the end of the work day to tackle editing. The good news is that the exhaustion didn’t extend into the weekend and yesterday I did something I haven’t managed since mid-September – I edited a chapter of my novel.

It’s been so long that it’s been feeling more intimidating than it actually is. I’ve been in such a slump that the editing just feels like this gargantuan thing that is completely insurmountable. There is just SO MUCH work to be done and my monkey brain wants to sulk and pout until the work goes away and leaves me alone and lets me write something new instead.

So what got me to finally sit down and do something? Accountability and a deadline – I’m due to share something in my Wednesday writing group this week and that means I have to have something to share.

Yesterday I finally sat down and got something done, and it turns out it wasn’t that scary after all. I’ll admit this particular chapter was already in decent shape so it didn’t take a ton of effort on my part, but that’s not really the point. I looked ahead to the next chapter as well and suddenly it doesn’t seem so scary anymore. It’ll take some time and effort, for sure, but it actually seems pretty feasible now that I actually looked at it again, instead of just thinking and fretting.

Once again the support of my fellow writers pulled me through, even indirectly like this. I can’t emphasize enough how important I believe like-minded communities are to creative endeavours. Find people doing the thing you’re trying to get better at. Talk to them, ask them questions, share with them. It is the best, most helpful thing I’ve ever done for my writing.

Now that editing isn’t feeling so terrifying again, I’ve decided to take advantage of the community available to me and I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)starting November 1st. It’s an event designed to encourage authors to write a certain amount every day, and if they do they’ll have 50,000 words written by the end of the month.

I did this event two years ago when I was still writing my book. I didn’t do the amount they aim for, but it really helped me get a daily habit going. I skipped it last year, as the novel was done and the event’s not really aimed at editing. This year, I’m going to tweak it a bit for my own purposes, to borrow the influence of that community and try to ride that wave to a regular habit again. Instead of tracking how many words I write each day, I’m going to track how many words I edited. So if I edit a 2000-word section, no matter how many of those words I have at the end I’ll count it as 2000. I’m also going to try to do what I did for that first NaNoWriMo and get up early to do it before work.

I’m not going to lie, the thought of getting up early when I’m fighting chronic exhaustion is as intimidating as the editing itself has been. But maybe, like the editing, it won’t be as bad as I fear. Most things aren’t. It’s really well past time I restarted my daily habit, so NaNoWriMo, here I come.

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