NaNoWriMo update | join me on the struggle bus

We’re halfway through NaNoWriMo! How’s everyone doing?

can we panic now?

I hope you’re all doing well with your NaNo progress, because I very much am not. Oops. Here’s what my graph looks like:

Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 11.17.45 AM

Not great, Bob.

I haven’t written yet today, but I’m currently at 15,201 words, whereas the target for today is 26,672. I’m over 11k words behind at halfway through the month.

For the first time since 2013, I don’t know if I’m going to finish NaNoWriMo. I hate that so, so much, but I’m trying to be okay with it.

I thought that once we got through election week—probably the most stressful week of my life, frankly—it would be smooth sailing. But even now on the other side, I don’t feel inspired or creative or any of the things you want to feel if you’re trying to write a novel in a month. I just feel exhausted.

See, the problem is, once I set a goal for myself, I will tear myself to pieces if that’s what it takes to reach it. I spent a large part of this year working on the second draft of my dragon novel (partly as an escape from the real world), and I pushed myself hard to finish that before November. Then I gave myself less than a week to rest and, oh, also plan out an entire new novel to write for NaNoWriMo.

All year I’ve been telling myself that, when it comes to writing, I have to meet these goals, because I can’t let 2020 win. Anything less than success would be admitting that I’ve lost somehow, and if I slip in any way, I beat myself up about it mercilessly.

And you know what the most ironic part of all of this is? The novel that I’m writing for NaNoWriMo is literally all about people who expect too much of themselves and destroy themselves in the process of striving to hit impossible standards! Life imitates art.

I keep reminding myself that I almost always feel like I’m going to fail at about halfway through NaNoWriMo; however, I’ve never been over 10k behind on my word count goal before. There’s always a chance that I’ll make a miraculous comeback and finish strong, but this year it just feels like there’s too much working against me—my ongoing insomnia, working in retail at the start of a very stressful holiday season, the fact that I can’t write anywhere but my house, the world in general.

I’m burnt out. And I think I need to be more realistic about my expectations for myself. I might not finish NaNoWriMo for the first time in seven years, and I hate it, and I have to be okay with it.

Anyway! That was a lot of feelings and now I’m very uncomfortable! So thanks for reading. *fingers guns* I’m going to go retreat into my hole again and not be vulnerable again for at least another calendar year.

New Girl Nick Moonwalk GIFs | Tenor


Moving on to my NaNo project itself…I’m enjoying it despite struggling with everything else in my life! I’m 15k words in, but I’m still kind of waiting for the plot to properly show up, thanks to the fact that I definitely didn’t do enough planning going into this (another factor that’s made this writing process difficult). But still, these characters are fun to write.

I talked a little more about it in my last writing update, but essentially this novel is set at a prestigious boarding school and follows the POVs of three girls during their senior year. Also, there are monsters.

Allow me to introduce you to my three main characters! (picrew icons by scuff scotch)



  • the new girl this year
  • really into fashion and historical costuming
  • super hardworking and ambitious
  • has Very Strong Opinions About Everything
  • looks like a Hufflepuff but lowkey a Slytherin

Here’s a fun lil mood board I made for her:





  • Flora’s roommate
  • very popular; almost everyone in the school has a crush on her probably
  • an artiste
  • charming and friendly and overall just a really nice person??
  • doesn’t believe in herself
  • from New York City and mentions it all the time





  • a bit of a loner (supposedly by choice)
  • doesn’t do well in school because she doesn’t bother to try
  • theatre kid™
  • incredibly snarky, especially when the situation does not at all call for snark
  • enjoys poking her nose where it doesn’t belong
  • drinks iced coffee like it’s water


So those are my characters! I’ll leave you with a few songs on my writing playlist to get me in the mood for telling this story:

  • Runaway by AURORA
    • And all this time I have been lying / Oh, lying in secret to myself / I’ve been putting sorrow on the farthest place on my shelf
  • Hunger by Florence + The Machine
    • Oh and you in all your vibrant youth / How could anything bad ever happen to you? / You make a fool of death with your beauty
  • Icarus by Bastille
    • Look out to the future, but it tells you nothing / So take another breath


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? How’s your writing going? Tell me a little about your characters!

x Margaret

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22 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo update | join me on the struggle bus

  1. Margaret, no stress no stress!! Everything SUCKS majorly right now and life is a whirlwind but you have got to remember you still wrote something. 15,201 words is still 15,201 words closer to finishing than you were before. I’m a perfectionist like you, so I totally get where you are coming from. The past three NaNos I failed miserably. Like, for real, MISERABLY. So you are having one bad year just remember that it doesn’t define you and all the other great work and writing you have done!! So no stress, no stress. Just do what you can and remember to take breaks and do fun things too! 😀 I’m cheering for you no matter what word count you reach when November 30th rolls around ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh you’re too kind!! ❤ Thank you for this reminder, it's always good to remember that it's not actually that big of a deal 😅 Taking breaks and doing fun things is definitely important! Hope your writing is going well—best of luck, and thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey don’t stress it! I think the fact that you made it to 15k considering how hectic November’s been in the US is an achievement all on its own. I know the thought of not reaching your goal sucks but it’s something you shouldn’t think too much about. Instead, focus on what you can do and who know, maybe you’ll reach your goal earlier than expected. If not, though, then try setting a different goal or maybe challenging yourself to reach a certain word count by the end of December. Either way, stressing yourself out is not the answer. Congrats on reaching 15k and good luck with the rest of NaNoWriMo!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your characters sound amazing! I’m having trouble writing right now too >.< Try not to put a lot of pressure on yourself! Any writing is good, even if you can't get a lot done at this point in time. Good luck with your story, it sounds really cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m behind as well, and I’m not sure whether or not I’ll catch up. I feel like I’ve reached a tough bit of the book, and I’m not feeling overly inspired to write right now.
    I’m glad you’re enjoying what you’re writing though, and your characters sound great! Good luck with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your characters sound so interesting!! If it makes you feel better, I’m even more behind than you are, just passed 11.000 words. I really thought this was going to be the year I finally win, but it doesn’t look like it. I totally relate to your perfectionism, though mine mostly works kinda backwords. If I see that I can’t do things the way I want, I stress to the point of stopping doing them and then I feel guilty 🙂.

    Whatever happens, though, we’ll still have more words at the end of the month than we did at the beginning and that’s a win, too! I’ll be cheering for you! Good luck with your writing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your characters look like so much fun!! AND THOSE MOODBOARDS!!
    And please don’t feel too stressed about NaNo! I totally get the feeling of trying to maintain your streak, but so many years’ worth of finishing full drafts is really impressive!! And your novel will always be there to finish ☺️
    I think I’m also a little burnt out…not necessarily because of the pressure NaNo puts on me, but the pressure I put on myself (apparently it happens to us all). I’m a little over halfway to my goal, and I’m really proud of that, but I think I need to do some pleasure reading to rejuvenate…I can’t remember the last time I finished a book! Self-care is so important in writing (and really hard to practice sometimes) but we can do it!!
    You’re doing so well, I hope you feel better soon 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thank you so much! ❤ (And sorry about taking forever to reply!) That's definitely the attitude I'm trying to have—failing this year at NaNo is okay! I'm so glad to hear that you're proud of the progress you've made, and I definitely agree that self-care is KEY. Hope the writing is going well!


  7. Real talk, I started rewatching New Girl because I just could not handle the world, and while my writing hasn’t been suffering, my reading definitely has, and I just want to drown in full weeks of bingeing the entire series because everything else? Nahhhhhh. But sometimes these things happen, and it’s the worst, and I hate that I just wrote out a platitude for you when the reality of it is: it sucks, and you should be allowed to feel that. I set myself a goal of writing three separate novels this year, and I only wrote one of them. I wrote other books that were totally unplanned, and I’m happy about that, but I was so excited to write one of those planned novels, and now I’m not sure when I’m going to, and it’s just the worst. THE WORST. And we should be allowed to yell about it and be mad, so yeah, sometimes these things happen, but it’s okay to hate that it’s happening, too. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, rewatching New Girl sounds like a fantastic idea (it’s been Parks and Rec for me lately, which has been great).
      Thanks so much for your lovely words, that does help ❤ Yep, I think it's okay to be frustrated when we don't hit the goals we set for ourselves! But it's also okay to accept our own shortcomings and be satisfied with the progress we have made. Thank you, Mary!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel you, Margaret!! I wasn’t able to do NaNo this year (the workload of my Master’s program is intense) but I also didn’t reach my revision goals beforehand. In the summer (when I had all the free time) I kind of drifted off and procrastinated my line edits ‘until it was too late’. I’m trying really hard not to let that get to me and I’m sending some positive vibes your way as well 💗 I hope you’ll be able to write a bit more, as any progress is good (though it often doesn’t feel that way) 🙏

    I LOVE your character profiles btw, makes me so excited for the story 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thanks Caro! I completely understand that feeling of putting off working on something until it’s too late, even though you supposedly had plenty of time before. I hope you’re able to be happy with whatever progress you can make going forward!
      And thanks so much, ahhh I’m so excited about these characters 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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