That means thousands of writers are actively involved in NaNoWriMo.
That means thousands of writers are banging their heads on their desks, chewing and spitting out fingernails, wondering why they decided to give it a whirl, and possibly even coughing up almost 2,000 words a day as they peck their keyboards toward success.
Last year I signed up, thinking it’d be a kick. And I finished. 50,000 words by the end of the month. The manuscript was “done” but not finished. I added a good 30,000 more words, edited out a whole lot more, and in the end there was something publishable.
I wanted to do it again; I have an idea tumbling through my mind and it will either make a terrific story or just great personal therapy, but I didn’t sign up to NaNo this year because with the move I was certain I wouldn’t have the time or the energy.
Turns out I was right. I could carve out the time, but my creative energy is at an all time low right now. I’m a very tired Thumper these days, my mind cluttered with thoughts of “Well where the hell with that thing go in this house?” and “Holy moly, that apartment is not going to clean itself…maybe if I ignore it, it will go away.”
The want is there; the energy is not.
So I envy those who are doing it. I found it to be a wonderful exercise; the end result doesn’t have to be any good, and it doesn’t have to be something you’d want to share with anyone else. It’s just a good tool for getting words out of your head and onto (virtual) paper. It helps create a writing habit.
In bopping around the blogosphere, I’m seeing posts from people who started the month with good NaNo intentions, but they’ve either already quit (“I can’t do this!”) or they’re so stressed about the quality of the work they’re producing that they’re stuck.
Don’t quit. It’s not failure if you don’t have 50K by the end of November. You just don’t get the spiffy PDF certificate. You do wind up with the bones of something, “finished” or not. That’s a victory any way you look at it.
Try to gut it past the “ohmygod this sucks so much!” feelings. It all sucks in the first draft. Try not to edit; the time you spend editing is time you could be writing, and there’s always time to edit later.
It doesn’t matter if it sucks. It doesn’t matter if you’re on track with your daily word count. It doesn’t matter if, at the end, what you have is an embarrassing heap of mindless chatter.
It only matters that you keep on writing, because someday that jumble of words may come together in a giant flash of inspiration, and become something Truly Wonderful. Because the habits you’re creating by sitting down and pounding it out may be the habits that later help you create a future Oprah’s Book Club pick (and don’t be an ass and turn that down if you don’t like Mz. O...she can make your career.)
Thumper’s unsolicited advice for the day.
Keep the NaNo flowing.