So I think I've figured out something about being a writer. You have to write. Every day. It's a job. OK, it's also pretty fun for me too, but it is entirely dependent on actually producing words. Lots of them.
November is National Novel Writing Month and I have been steadily producing words for 27 days in a row. They say (not really sure who "they" are) that it takes 21 days to create a habit. Since you probably should write every day if you are a writer (with a few days off here and there for good behavior) by my calculations, I should be habit - hardened.
If only it really worked that way. This morning I sat and stared at my current project, a historical fiction, a love story set during WWII (NOT a romance, I am not a romance novelist - it's a love story - there is a difference). No words could be added. Not that it's perfect, not by a long shot. It still has to be revised about 50 times before I even think about trying to shop it out. I just had nothing to say on the topic. Sometimes you get a little burned out.
I know a lot about getting burned out. I was an ER nurse for a long time and I felt it. I was pretty good at hiding it, but I used to get mad at those who didn't, or couldn't, and one day I actually listened to myself say, "If you don't want to be here, go somewhere else." I didn't want to be there any more. I had nothing left to give anyone else. So, I left.
Burn out for writing is nothing like burn out for nursing and I'm not really comparing the two. But both of them are a whole lot of staring and waiting for something to change. Sometimes water falls out of your eyes. But with writing, I've found that if I just work on a different project, the words come more easily and I still feel like I'm working towards a completed project, even if it's not the one I'm supposed to be working on.
For NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) the challenge is to write a complete novel of 50,000 words (this equates to about 150 to 200 paperback pages) in one month. Just because you wrote 50,000 words does not mean you are done, it means you wrote 50,000 words. Still an accomplishment. I've done it 4 times now and have 4 novels, none of which I've finished.
But this year is different. This year, I decided that if I was going to write, it would be a full time job and I would write, every day. I failed. But - I have so far succeeded in November. That's why some of these crazy participation events are worth while, even if others don't see the value in it. I made progress on a goal. And I will finish this novel in the coming year, then start all over again in November.