It’s November, which means you’ve said a temporary farewell to your parents and friends, spouse and children, and you’ve locked yourself away in the stair cupboard with a electric lantern and your favorite writing utensils. Twice a day there’s a delivery of caffeine, cigarettes, and SunChips, and you exchange them for a Folgers can filled with your waste. A digital clock flashes its red face, mocking you, ticking down the seconds in the month, making your upper lip sweat and tremble. You will not see the light of day until 50k words make it onto paper, and nothing is going to stop you, not even God.
Or something very close to that, anyway.
It’s day 5 of NaNoWriMo, which, according to
Google’s my calculations, means that you should be cruising right along to your 8 thousandth word, give or take a few hundred. (Yes, to strike that imposing target of 50k words in 30 days, all you need to do is to write a much more encouragingly diminutive number of 1,667 a day.) Congratulations! That’s a lot of words; it’s already technically a novelette, actually. Look at you, writing novelettes! I bet that person who thinks you’re weird for participating in these shenanigans didn’t write anything this week; they just ate sensibly and had social contact, like a big dweeb.
If you haven’t written 8 thousand words yet, that’s okay! Don’t start freaking out. It’s a long game, pal, and we’re just getting started. You can make up all the words that you missed in the next 25 days without too much additional pain, especially if you dole them out over the remainder of the month.
Suppose you only have 2 thousand words so far, that only means you have to knuckle down and write 1,920 words a day for the next 25 days. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? 300 measly words is barely even an extra helping on your plate. It’s, like, a few more tater tots. You can eat a few more tater tots, can’t you? Of course you can, you’re hungry! You’re a ravenous word wolf!
The important thing to remember is that NaNoWriMo isn’t about brainstorming, or outlining, or revising, or perfecting, or–frankly–even thinking. It’s about writing. It’s fingers on the keys, pen on the paper, and words on the page, whether those words are brilliant or they’re absolute drivel (and they’re probably going to lean toward the latter).
Your plot hasn’t an ounce of logic to it and your characters are paper thin? Who cares! How many words do ya got? Heck, when in doubt, write your grievances down. “Sentient mops and brooms doesn’t make any sense at all, but I like the bit about the evil janitor.” That’s 20 more words toward your daily total, so well done.
Can’t think of an idea at all? Start there! Type out a journal entry about how you’ve no inspiration, and transition into whatever seeps out of that grousing. Hey, maybe your protagonist is the one who’s complaining? Yeah, they’re an author participating in NaNoWriMo, suffering from a serious case of writer’s block, and someone has hacked into their computer and is taunting them, threatening to kill them if they don’t complete their word counts. Talk about Write Or Die, amiright?
Also, check out Write Or Die.
Remember, NaNoWriMo is meant to show you that writing a novel is not only possible, it’s attainable, while conditioning you for the discipline required to be a professional writer; that is to say, writing every day, whether it stinks or it wafts like nonna’s apple pie.
More importantly, though, it’s supposed to be fun, so get back to your novel and go buck wild. Add some sexy werewolves. Everyone loves a good, sexy werewolf.