Last year, I won NaNoWriMo in just a few short days. I met my goal of 50,000 words in less than a week. This year, although I’ve already won by the time this piece has been published, I’ve had several days in which I did not meet my writing goals. It’s frustrating to miss goals, especially on some special days (like my birthday), but what can you do?
Statistically speaking, week two is when most NaNoWriMo’ers who don’t finish give up on their book for the year.
Right now, we’re just a few days away from finishing out the month, and you might be looking at your word count and thinking, “This is impossible.”
You could pause and take a breather (which may be advisable for a short break or two. Just don’t do them back to back!).
Or, of course, you can keep pushing through. Striving, striving, even when you just push out garbage onto the page.
Maybe you’re feeling the pressure, and you’re to that point when you just aren’t sure you can go on. Perhaps you’ve heard from others in your writing group that you’re at least 20,000 words behind the others.
Well, maybe I can encourage you with a different thought. My book isn’t remotely what I thought it would be by now. I thought I’d explore completely other things, learn certain things about characters, try new experiences. But we haven’t.
I assumed that by today, my characters would have crossed the biggest challenge of the book and would be facing the struggle and working towards a solution already. But they haven’t even come face to face with the main issue yet. And I’ve already finished my 50,000-word minimum.
But, you know what? It’s okay, really it is.
NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality and precision, remember? “But if I don’t write quality, my book will never be any good….”
May I argue with you on that point? Actually, I’ll let Ray Bradbury (author of Fahrenheit 451) argue instead: “Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”
While he’s specifically speaking of quantity in the number of pieces you write, I have to say that the same principle applies to words within a given project. Most authors write hundreds of thousands of words that eventually are pared down to the 80,000 words that end up in print.
So, don’t give up. Keep writing. Even if what you’re writing is total nonsense and trash, keep writing! You’ll come back (after November 30) and chuck the lousy stuff, replacing it with the good!
Editor-in-Chief of The MockingOwl Roost, Rita Mock-Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane solo around the world. Rita has found inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from around the world. She now writes on food, travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.