Getting Back on Track


December lies ahead full of promises and good intentions. Behind me lies NaNoWriMo, but not a fourth successive win. Congratulations are due to all those who achieved the magic 50k words, or more, I know what you did to achieve that target.

This confession is my contribution to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group day, in the hope that there is a useful moral, and maybe some encouragement for others that tripped on the track.

My own November was more like NaughtyNoWritingMonth – from day one. A few months ago, I had great plans for NaNoWriMo, in the form of the outline for “Seeking A Knife”, an attempt to turn an old WW2 TV drama proposal into a mystery with its origin in the War of 1812.

But I abandoned that plan in about August, wondering if I could re-write one of my old draft’s instead. “Fates Maelstrom” is crying out for a relocation to Snowdonia – it will happen, one day. I had “Fates Maelstrom” down as my NaNo novel but felt I would be cheating to upload more than a short blurb.


Snowdon at sunset

Snowdon at Sunset by Juanita Clarke


Anyway, in October I finished writing “Storm’s Compass”, my first set of short stories, and they needed editing, prior to the critical eye of beta-readers. Another great plan. But then I got asked to ‘ghost write’ some children’s stories. I sketched out some ideas over November – scribbles that might qualify as writing. I even found a way to tie in my character, Harriet The Flying Hare. But I ground to a halt, stymied by a lack of feedback and the reluctance to be a ‘ghost writer’.

Dejected, deflected, and disillusioned, I turned to the ‘dark side’ – in fact I spent more and more time gaming. Star Wars: The Old Republic to be honest. Well they did have 12x experience until December 1st, so who wouldn’t be tempted from the path of writing.

Now I have to kick my addiction and re-focus on the important things in life… like my partner and our puppies… and accounts… and Christmas. Have I missed something?

Moral: when you need a sanity break from the word-grind, don’t let the break become a slide into the morass of reckless pleasure.

"Winter Landscape" by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

“Winter Landscape” by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. We are meant to talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. Our struggles and triumphs. We try to offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visiting others in the group and connect with our fellow writers is always fun, and a chance to discover that we are not alone. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the December 3 posting of the IWSG are Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!

30 thoughts on “Getting Back on Track

  1. I can remember a year when I took a break, which was meant to be short, but turned into a six week stretch.
    I struggled to get back into the swing of things… really, really struggled.
    Hopefully you’ll get into the groove…regain your stride.
    A writer once told me, take it word by word… line by line… paragraph by paragraph… that’s how your story is built.
    I always remember these words.
    Happy IWSG day, Roland.


    • Thanks Michelle for your visit. It will be a struggle, but a worthwhile one. Also not the first time that I’ve dropped out – well sort of. And having written some stories that are crying out for completion, there is motivation = word by word rewrites/edits.


  2. Hi Roland, November was a rough month for me as well. I did NaNo for my second year. I won my first year, but made it to 34k words this year. I’m still going to celebrate. As long as we take what we have and work with it, we’re good…right? Thanks for participating! Eva, IWSG Co-host


  3. Sometimes it’s just nice to take a break from writing and let your mind wander in the midst of other creative venues. I do that with drawing. I won’t write for weeks, instead I’ll draw or some other craft like sewing or creating useless knick-knacks. But I always get back to it, without forcing myself. Maybe that’ll happen for you?


    • Thanks for the encouragement Loni. The urge to write is coming back as I read someone else’s novel. It’s all about encouraging the creative side, without putting it under pressure – as you so rightly say.


  4. It can be tricky to get back into the swing of things when you take a break. I recall hearing somewhere that it takes 7 days to make a habit and like 10 minutes to break it. Not sure on the amount of time, but it’s something like that. I do know it takes 7 minutes for something to become enjoyable to do. I heard that and was able to put it to the test when my walk to my day job. After 7 minutes I stopped being annoyed and started enjoying myself.


    • Thanks Diane. So very true as I’ve too many, as in too many needing editing and new ideas creeping out of my head. Need a double to share the workload,,, while I play. In reality just need to choose one and stick to it.


  5. NaughtyNoWriteNovember : I love that! Thats exactly what I participated in :). Sometimes the words just aren’t there or, for me, the time just isn’t right. Best of luck in December! Enjoy writing and enjoy the season.


  6. It always happens to me that when I start a project with certain plans but then get derailed, I just can’t change course and pick something else. For example, two weeks ago I had planned to dedicate my time to my writing. Then my older girl got sick one morning and stayed home. Tuesday morning, hubby asked me to take the car for service. Wednesday is my day for grocery shopping. So, half the week’s gone, what’s the point in writing any more? I spent the last 2 days watching movies and reading… See what I mean? But the important thing is not that you lost the way in November, but that you find it back. And it sounds like you’ve done just that. =)

    Good luck with your writing and merry Christmas!


    • As long as we have good friends to guide us back on track, the diversions are entertaining and often useful. Hope you are heading back down the road, Georgina. Thanks for your thoughts and hope all the family are well… and on track for great festivities.


  7. Hey Roland, I’m sure you’ll get back to it. It happen to me too, I nearly dropped out of writing a couple times, but every time I got back… even if working hard to get back in the swing of things. But you know? I think the know it’s worth it, that’s way we eventually always go back to it 🙂

    I did NaNo and although I reached the 50k words goal, I only made it halfway through my personal 130k goal (revising my entire novel). Well, I’m going to aim for the end of the year. How about that? 😉


  8. Hi Sarah – congratulations on at least getting 50k plus. I know that I will get back to the writing, partly to finish editing the set of tales that you offered to beta read – Storm Compass – but also as I’m working on an outline for another novel. Wrong order – creating more scribbles before finishing the existing drafts – but way my mind is working.


  9. I spent years gaming instead of writing. I’d get home after teaching all day, and I wouldn’t want to write; I’d just plug myself in and go. I can’t think about those wasted years now. I have to make the most of today.


    • Learning to make the most of each day and trying to delegate gaming to the realm of a treat once the writing (or whatever) is done – kind of like chocolate. Do get some inspiration from gaming though – characters, plots etc. Thanks Milo


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