It’s Week Two. Reality has started to set in. We get a look at our schedule and think, was I nuts? Am I even on the right track?
But I’m not a novelist! I’m not even a NaNoist. How was I kidding? This is silly. I don’t even know where my story is going!
- But Thanksgiving is coming.
- I have kids and I can’t concentrate with them underfoot. I’ll be a bad parent!
- I’m too busy at work.
- I’m not a novelist.
- This is goofy. Fifty thousand words of what?
- Is this any good?
- Will it sell?
- Who am I kidding?
The secret to NaNo, if there is a secret, is that the way to write a novel is to write a novel. The only way to do that, is to put words in front of each other until you’re ready to type “the end.”
NaNo teaches us to experiment.
The idea of a rough draft is just that: it’s rough. It’s not perfect. It’s not something we will run out and slap up on the internet. No secret cabal is out to take your baby novel and throw it to the wolves of harsh critique. This is a draft. A draft is supposed to be rough.
You can’t edit what you ain’t writ.
In order to get to the final draft, you have to have a draft to edit. You can’t have a draft to edit unless you write one. So tell your inner critic you’ll buy them bourbon, or chocolate, or whatever bribe works, but right now, you’re writing.
One thing I hear a lot of around now is, “where are we supposed to be?” I ask, “What do you mean?” “Number! How many words am I supposed to have?”
Ignore the number and keep going.
Staring at the number is like trying to lose weight while living on a scale. It doesn’t work. It just makes us nuts. Don’t worry about word count. Don’t even worry about NaNo. Just make a play-date with you and your baby novel. Spend time with it. Name it. Sing a lullaby to it. “Baby, you and me are gonna go places | Oh the places we’ll go | Baby, just you and me and a keyboard makes three | Baby you’re comin’ home with me!” ~la la la~
How do you get to the finish line?
- E.E. Cummings
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