I Spent a Month Writing a Novel and Got Burned Out

And yet I still want to keep doing it

Hoang Samuelson
6 min readDec 10, 2021
Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash

This post has been sitting open on my computer for the past two days. Two days of gloriously reading an endless amount of articles online, watching videos and daydreaming (or rather, thinking about) watching The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings before it goes off Netflix at the end of the month. In addition to daydreaming about baked goods, I am also thinking about all the other things I want to watch — things like Christmas movies, because December is the only appropriate month to watch holiday movies. And speaking of which, A Boy Called Christmas is on Netflix too. Boy, my holiday watchlist is filled!

I’ve gone down this rabbit hole willingly and happily. I’ve allowed myself to read emails longer than I had been for over a month, for I’ve just emerged from one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my literary life — NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, a month-long, 30-day sprint where writers from all backgrounds and experiences come together and commit to a challenge — write 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November (except I cheated and started prepping early). Just saying that is a mouthful. Thinking about it is like swallowing a giant pill — you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can…

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Hoang Samuelson

Features Editor @ Chowhound. Former lead editor @BooknBrunch.com. Writer of food, family and fiction. Based in Portland, OR. More at hoangsamuelson.com