During the month of November, writers everywhere carve out time to hunch over their desks and write 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month. In the end, those who complete their 50,000 words and submit them to the NaNoWriMo website win the event. What do they win? Self-satisfaction and the ability to say they’ve written a book. Here are some thoughts that go through every writer’s head during the NaNoWriMo challenge.
1 What the heck have I gotten myself into?
There’s a huge adrenaline rush when the event begins. The blank page beckons, the cursor winks, and suddenly . . . the weight of this massive undertaking leaves you unable to think of any words, let alone the right ones.
2 I actually have to do this every day for a month?
You finally get rolling on your first day, and you’re elated to have pounded out over 2,000 words. What a great start! Then you realize something horrifying—you’re going to have to write at least 1,667 words every single day of November to finish with 50,000.
3 Not being able to go back and fix things is driving me nuts!
NaNoWriMo pushes writers to crank out words at a fast and furious pace. That doesn’t leave much (if any) time for editing, which makes perfectionist writers twitch. There, there! Just remind yourself that you’ll edit when it’s over.
4 What the heck do I write now?
If you’re a pantser (the term for writers who fly by the seat of their pants without any advanced plotting), then you probably started out with nothing more than an idea. Beginning with an idea is easy, but keeping the conflict building over the course of 50,000 words isn’t.
5 Maybe I should do some research . . . on Facebook.
Writing is hard. Procrastinating is easy. You do the math.
6 I shouldn’t have procrastinated. I’ll never catch up!
You did it. You procrastinated. Now how are you gonna hit that word count? By staying up late to write, that’s how.
7 I can’t believe I did that to my character.
Every writer grows attached to their characters, and every writer has to make bad things happen to those characters in order for their story work. We always hurt the ones we love, and that can leave us emotionally wrecked.
8 I don’t have time to cook real food.
Unless you’ve got somebody feeding you, it’s a real possibility that your NaNoWriMo experience will be fueled by junk food. Don’t feel too bad. You are not alone.
9 I just lost how many words?
OK, this doesn’t happen to every writer, but it happens to more than a few. You’ve nearly finished getting your word count for the day when—poof!—your computer crashes. Or the power flickers. Or you’re so tired that you close your document without saving. Now you’re not only crying over those lost words, but wondering why you didn’t use a cloud-based writing platform.
10 I’ll never finish in time!
It’s 11:30 p.m. on November 30 and you still have 800 words to go. How will you ever finish? Just type, intrepid writer! You can edit those words later, so just get them down and saved to your NaNoWriMo dashboard so you can win this thing.
11 I did it!
You’ve now officially completed a novel. Go ahead and get some sleep; you’ve earned it.