Madeline McEwen is back with us again to offer words of encouragement during NaNoWriMo and share her wonderful cartoons…
If you are reading this at 23:59 you are almost half way through the Nano experience. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned aficionado, either way, at this point you may be beginning to feel stress and anxiety, self-doubt and fatigue, or a rising sense of panic.
If so, fear not. I am here to quash those unhelpful emotions. I have cheated, somewhat, by tapping into some CBT [Cognitive Behavioral Therapy] categories known as thinking distortions, which I use every day to help my sons. Take a peek and see if any of these three meet your needs:
Catastrophizing – This is the Chicken Little of thinking. As your emotions spiral out of control, imagining all the terrible things that will occur if you fail to meet your Nano goal, it is worthwhile taking a moment to test the truth. Consider the consequences when the first of December arrives and you are a few or many words short of your novelette. After all, your work is a first draft which by definition is incomplete.
This category is closely correlated with the next category …
All or Nothing thinking [aka Black and White thinking.] Here, I invite you to welcome gray into your writing life. Depending upon where you are on your writing journey, all too soon you’ll become familiar with the many stages of what we call “the writing process.” Writing, is swiftly followed by rewriting, structural editing, copy editing, line editing … and so on. Even when your work is published, thereafter your time is swallowed by marketing and publicity concerns. To be clear, you are a writer, this is what you do; the activity that fulfills your creative instincts. It is the writing that gives you joy, the rest of the process, much less so.
Shooting yourself in the foot. [or writing / typing hand] Also, more appropriately dubbed, The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Failure. At the half-way stage of Nano if you worry about not meeting your goal, chances are you’ll fulfill the prophecy. Therefore, if you wish to succeed, have faith in your abilities. Steer clear of negative beliefs and irrational emotions because they are unhelpful. In some ways, predicting failure as inevitable, but giving up or giving in, is also a choice. Now, you can actively choose your own pathway to publication.
Madeline McEwen is an ex-pat from the UK, bi-focaled and technically challenged. She and her Significant Other manage their four offspring, one major and three minors, two autistic, two neurotypical, plus a time-share with Alzheimer’s.
She is a member of the California Writers Club and Sisters in Crime, Norcal. She maintains a blog with a loyal following. Her platform is associated with the Autism Hub [UK], as well as the usual Facebook and Twitter accounts, predominantly in the realm of disabilities.