Happy April! It’s Mez, and I’m here to talk about what happens when – as a writer or just in life – your best-intentions go right of the rails, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Officially 1 week into Camp NaNoWriMo, and de-railing has defined my experience of camp so far. Last year in preparation for our Novel in November campaign, Bri wrote an excellent post about making sacrifices for the sake of sticking to your novel-writing goals, things like saying “NO” to social invites, requests and perhaps even your ever-growing laundry pile.

I support her advice 100% – if you’re ever going to achieve those goals, you’ve got to take responsibility for them & carve out the time to let the magic (aka. countless hours of hard work) happen. 100% essential. 100% true.

plot bunny

BUT… (brace yourself. Important life lesson ahead!)

Sometimes things come up in life that you simply can’t, or shouldn’t, say ‘no’ to. When you weigh them up even to the importance of sticking to your goal, they win out in importance. I’m talking about REALLY big stuff, like when you lose someone close to you & you need to be there for the friends & family who are grieving… or when a close friend invites you to her wedding in a far-off destination… or when family in another continent suddenly surprise you with a visit… or when a family member is at wit’s end & really needs you to step in & lend a hand with her kids.

All of those examples & quite a few others have unexpectedly flown into my path this month of Camp NaNo. And do you know what, whilst I passionately want to finish my novel this month & it hurst to see my hopes melting away like cotton candy dropped into the pool, it’s actually O.K..

Writing books is what I want to do with my life. But it isn’t & never will be the end-all of what my life consists of. More important than my career & passions are the people who bless my life. While I may often have to say no & dissapoint them for the sake of meeting a deadline, I never want to sacrifice my relationships to my writing. This Camp NaNo has taught me to prioritise, to realise that I’ve got to work for your goals, but I’ve got to live for more than achieving them. Namely, when real needs arise, you’ve got to put the people in your life first. And ultimately, that’s living, and what do we write about if not life?


What now?

The other lesson I’ve learned (for the umteenth time) this NaNo is not to give up when you hit hurdles in the road. Having made peace with not achieving my original goal this month, we are yet only 1 week in! I can still re-caliber my expectations and work towards a new, trimmed-down goal (that’s one of the joys of Camp NaNo.. you can revise your goal up to the midpoint of the month!).  I’ll let you know how that’s going in a couple weeks’ time! Meanwhile, check in next Friday to hear about Bri’s Camp NaNo experience so far…

What about you?

Are you a NaNo Camper this month?

Have any unforeseen life events interrupted your writing goals?

What do you do to keep on going, even when you get derailed?