ROW80, writing challenge, author, novel, book, blog, typewriter

ROW80 End of Week Update

First of all: I won NaNoWriMo 2014 (yay!)

It’s far from over, and I have too many ideas still flying around in my head. I’ve approached it differently this year and I’m not sure this was better than last year. Then again, I’ve also had more on my plate this year than last.

Last year, NaNoWriMo was easy. I worked and then I wrote and that was pretty much it. I had also spent half a year getting ideas and researching so that I only really had to do research when there was a pressing need for it during writing. A lot got added on later as well.

This year, I’ve had my MA studies, part-time work, ROW80 and all sorts of family matters to deal with while still trying to write. SAD has also affected me more this year than last despite it being sunny still. Maybe it’s a combination of all the stress factors that have affected my moods as well.

I did still write for ROW80 though, and below is a look into my notebook, where I collect my story titles. They continue on the next page (as today is day #49).


ROW80, A Round of Words in 80 Days, short stories, poems, challenge, writing
ROW80 list of short stories, Round 4 of 2014. Photo: Cornelia Kaufmann

My sleep pattern is all out of whack. I get maybe 4 hours a night when I’m lucky, with the result I’m totally flagging by 2 or 3pm and could nap. I often do. Then at 5pm I try and get my act together but because I napped, I won’t get to sleep until around 3am. Most of my writing takes place during the night.

The one time this week I tried to get an early night because I could barely keep my eyes open (11pm) I got a call from my gran just past midnight, asking for help because she had fallen and couldn’t get back up. My only sleep-in is from Friday to Saturday, but one night’s decent sleep doesn’t restore a full week. I am really looking forward to the Christmas holidays, as the office will be closed for 2 weeks and I’ll have time to sleep and work on my study materials. I can’t afford a trip somewhere to get away for a while, but maybe if I lock the doors I’ll get some quiet.

I never thought studying by distance learning would be this hard. I now realise that I do need a set rhythm and lectures to attend to hold myself accountable and actually do finish my assignments on time. And I’m trying, I really am. But it seems I’m the only one in my family that cares about my studies. Every time I say I can’t do something because I need to study, I get funny looks. As if nobody believes me. And how dare I take time for socialising (this week was well out of the norm with a trip to Leverkusen, the movies and Düsseldorf Christmas Market) instead of working or looking after my grandparents. If I have time for studying and socialising, I should have the time to do everything else as well. And I sometimes feel overwhelmed, because I really do want to get that degree, but I feel wherever I turn I find new obstacles and no support.

Luckily, a friend of mine believes in me and she’s my study buddy now. She’s also the one who has been cheering me on for NaNo 2013 and this year. She’s the one who said “Call me when you’re close to the goal, I want to see you write that 50,000th word!” and who encourages me to write. I signed up to the M.A. course because of her; I was debating whether I should or not and she listed all the reasons why I should and said she wants me to succeed in this because of what I’ve lost and been through beforehand.

While I do study and write, my heart isn’t really in it at the moment even though it should be. Yes, I still get things done, and done satisfactorily, but the constant SAD moods, fatigue, insomnia, worry, guilt for not helping the family more and stress both work/family and self-induced have given me headaches and have had my stomach in knots for weeks.

I think I need a holiday. Or a large drink. Possibly both.

Anyway, here’s how the rest of the ROW80 participants are doing this week.



3 thoughts on “ROW80 End of Week Update”

  1. It sounds like you have just got too much on your plate and you are burned out. Just like me!! And so my writing has really suffered the last few months, but I am not going to beat myself up over it. It is what it is. I also totally get SAD. I am looking at spending the next three to four months with very, very little sunshine, lots of snow, lots of cold and the potential for lots of depression. I also have bad sleep patterns. I hate taking drugs but that is the only way I can get more than four hours of sleep in a row.

    Anyway, so what do we do? Deal with it the best we can. Take breaks when we can. Hang on to those few people who support you and ignore the people who don’t. You’ll make it!!!


  2. Stress can certainly add on to whatever ailment you suffer from and make things a whole lot worse for you. Sometimes when I get that way I cut back on everything and do just what needs to be done, figuring the other stuff can wait. Be sure to take your vitamin D.

    Congratulations on winning NaNoWriMo!


  3. Congrats on completing NaNoWriMo! Woot! 🙂

    SAD can be rough. Mine is usually the worst in January and February. I have to remember to use my light box and get outside in the sunshine every day, which isn’t easy when it’s freezing out. I wish I could take a trip to the tropics every year, but that’s just not in the budget.

    Grad school is a big commitment. I have an M.F.A. and my hubby is working on his master’s in information technology, so I totally understand the commitment and hard work that go into earning a master’s degree. Best of luck. It’s great that you have a friend who is so supportive. That support helps.

    Have a great week!


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