I’ve done a slight disservice to a few people this month on the subject of NaNoWriMo in regards to the target of 50 000 words. I’m not alone in having done so, and it’s not particularly egregious or anything but it bothers me enough that I wanted to set the record straight for me.
I’ve been a little too blasé about reaching 50K
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo many times. I’ve been doing it (with the exception of one year) since 2005 (although 2006 is when I first joined the online community and the local group). I’ve had three failures and plenty of successes. I’ve even done two back to back Camp NaNoWriMo sessions to reach 100K.
When I speak about reaching 50K not being a big deal for me, that’s because it isn’t. I know I can do it.
I want to talk about what reaching 50K means to someone who hasn’t participated in NaNoWriMo before, or who has not yet had a successful attempt.
Writing fifty thousand words IS a big deal. It’s a huge deal.
If you haven’t reached that goal yet, it looks like a tall mountain to climb and right about now if you are behind it feels like you just won’t make it.
I’ll be honest with you, that might be true. You might not make it. Most people never do.
Here’s the thing. If you are seriously participating in NaNoWriMo you are not most people.
You are not most people. Say it again. Carve it on your hand if you have to.
Almost everyone in their lives at one time or another says “Oh I should write a book.” A large percentage of those people really think about it. Almost no one actually does it.
You hear about markets being glutted, writers being a dime a dozen, publishers are flooded with manuscripts etc.
Don’t buy it for a second. Yes, all those things might be true but in the overall scheme of things, you who are writing are not most people. We are the few, we are the bold, we dare to sit, think and put our words down on paper.
If you have made a serious attempt this month and for you NaNoWriMo wasn’t just some fun social event, you have already won whether you reach 50K or not.
You had 40K going into week four and didn’t quite make it? Consider yourself awesome.
You “only” made it to 30K? take a victory lap.
Maybe you are stuck at 20K. Well you know what? You wrote twenty thousand words that needed to be written.
Pat yourself on the back, right now. Realize that those words now set you apart, that you’ve done what most people only dream of doing.
Now, I have some thoughts for you once you finish patting yourself on the back.
We still have EIGHT days left.
(Edit: As the inestimable t! points out, we have NINE days left counting today and he’s right. It’s WAY too early to write off today!)
What are you going to do about it?
Challenge #1: How far behind are you? How much closer to your goal can you be in eight days? Add 2000 words to that and try to make it. If you despair of ever making it to 50K, forget about it and do not let it paralyze you. Think about this challenge. How much can you push on for the next eight days? Surprise yourself.
And now for the big one:
Challenge #2: Keep writing past November 30th until you reach 50K or finish your book, whichever is greater. That last bit is important. Whichever is greater. If you do reach 50K say on December 8th, don’t sigh and put down the pen. Finish the story.
I wish you all good luck and heartfelt congratulations. Go write!