For some reason, the people at NaNoWriMo didn’t contact me to write one of their official pep talks (something about not actually having published a novel yet, or some other silly thing like that, I’m sure). But I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for the last four years and I think that qualifies me to at least be familiar with the ups and downs of it. Plus!–I haven’t actually started writing anything for NaNoWriMo yet this year, which means 1) I’m not burned out yet from trying to write 1,667 words a day, and 2) I can say with pretty good certainty I won’t actually be winning this year. ? But! That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try! Because I love this crazy month of writing!
Which all adds up to be pretty much exactly the attitude I think you need at this point in NaNoWriMo.
You’re tired of writing. You’re right in the middle of that slog in your novel we lovingly refer to as “the middle” (hey, by this point, we’re in no mood for making up cute terms). You’re out of ideas. The stuff you’ve written is starting to feel like crap anyway, and you can already think of three dozen major things you want to change about it. You’ve written yourself into a corner and are sick of being there. And you’re behind on your word count.
Yep. Been there.
(A lot. I’ve been there a lot.)
(Like really a lot.)
But think back to the beginning, back when this was fun. When all you could see ahead of you was a month of free-for-all adventures, where anything could happen, where the world was yours to explore.
That’s where I am. At the beginning. And there you are, in the middle. You’re miles ahead of me. But maybe we can help each other out. You sit down and write some more and show me how it’s done. And I’ll tell you what I can still see from my spot here at the beginning.
That end you’re racing towards? It’s beautiful. It takes all those pieces you’re in the middle of tearing apart right now and weaves them together to create something magical and unique. Something only you can make. I know it’s hard to see right now. But trust me. It’s there.
Give yourself permission to have a new beginning. Or lots of new beginnings. A new beginning in the way you’re writing. Been typing? Try writing it by hand with your favorite colored pencil. Following an outline? Toss it out and see how you fly without it. Writing all in one shot? Break it up into little pieces throughout the day. Or maybe what you need is a new beginning for your character. Introduce a plot twist. Something so crazy even you didn’t see it coming. Bring in a new character. Or take all your characters to a new country. A new world. A new time! Or have a new beginning with how you talk about your writing. Tell yourself you’ve got this. Tell your friends you’ve got this.
Every day, begin again. Every hour. Every sentence. Begin, begin, and begin again. Catch that beginner’s spirit. You’ll trick yourself into thinking you’re not in that middle slog after all.
And pretty soon, you won’t be.
I’m on my way to you now. Keep going, I’ll catch up (or, at least, I’ll try)!
So here’s to beginnings. ? Here’s to middles. ? And here–here’s to the end. ???
I’ll see you there. ?? ?? ??