|Photo credit: jordanfischer on Flickr|
Confession: technically, I’ve never done NaNoWriMo. I have written a book in a month and I’m relatively sure I’ve written at or near 50k in a month on more than one occasion, but never in the month of November. I wanted to do it this year, honestly I did, but I don’t want anything to distract me from finally finishing these WIP edits, so…next year. I hope.
But I didn’t write this post to confess my non-NaNo blasphemy, because although I’m not doing NaNo this year, I know quite a few of you are. So.
Writing a book in a month is no easy feat and I don’t mean the literal getting words down part because that, although challenging, probably won’t be the biggest obstacle you’ll face this month.
You see, we’re still at the beginning, so most of you out there are probably going pretty strong and feeling good about what you’ve put down—which is fantastic. I’ve seen some people hit 8-10k in the first two days which is just mind-blowingly awesome to me, so kudos to you amazing people out there.
But writing like this is like running at full throttle for the entire race and after a while, you’re going to start to get tired. You might miss a day, maybe two or three, then the mountain of words ahead of you will start to feel overwhelming. Or maybe it’s the idea—maybe the premise that sounded fantastic on November 1st will start to feel stale on the 15th. It happens, and for those of you who encounter it, I want to tell you not to give up.
Look, you’re not going to come out of this with a masterpiece ready for submission. It’s going to be messy and a little ugly, and some parts of it will make you want to burn the entire thing and start fresh and that’s ok.
The point of NaNoWriMo isn’t to create a work of literary genius—hell, it’s not even to get 50,000 words down in a month. The point is to write—something, anything, it doesn’t matter as long as you make the effort to get something down so that you have something you didn’t at the beginning of the month. Maybe it’ll only be the start of a novel, or an outline, or maybe it’ll be a full draft that you love or 50,000 words that you hate.
That’s not the point.
The point is that you can’t fail as long as you accomplish something. Right now, you’re digging up the clay. You’re pulling the essence of a story together and you’re doing it with a community of other writers there to help you and encourage you along the way. There is no failure here.
Some days you’re going to want to quit. Don’t do it. Keep writing, keep working, keep sweating and bleeding and getting those words down. This is what being a writer is all about, and it’s not always pretty or fun.
Some days you’re going to glance at what you have and think it’s awful. Stop looking at it and keep writing. Keep pushing forward. Don’t think about anything other than finishing the next sentence, the next paragraph, the next page.
NaNoWriMo isn’t easy because writing isn’t easy, but I believe in you. As long as you keep your head down and your fingers on the keys, you’ll come out with something to show for it.
Don’t stop writing. I’ll see you on the other side.
Raise of hands! How many of you are out there are doing NaNo this year? Let’s hear some status reports!