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The State of your NaNoWriMo
I’m once again doing NaNoWriMo. This makes my ninth year and I have no intention of not finishing my NaNo project in year nine, not when I’ve been winning since 2004.
This is only the second week. I’ve had a couple of friends become writing buddies, one of whom is making her very first attempt at NaNo, while the other is, like me, a seasoned vet.
I’m always surprised when I encounter fellow NaNoWriMo participants at how scared they seem about doing NaNo and how worried they are about how their novel is going to turn out. Nobody said anything about writing 50,000 good words. In point of fact, no one even said that your 50,000 word outpouring even has to be coherent. The goal of NaNoWriMo is for you to write 50,000 words in 30 days to get you into the habit of writing and help you prove to yourself that you can do it. It’s okay if your entire month’s worth of output is pure crap. Here’s a secret for you: nobody expects their first draft to be perfect.
If you think that’s going to happen, then you might be an inexperienced writer. You may also be delusional. That’s okay, just remember, after you’re done with NaNo, you’re probably going to have to do some major revisions. This is not failure on your part. This is not a bad thing. This is just the way that writing works. You write the thing to get it down on paper and then, you start tweaking the thing until you get it to a place that you want it to be.
Right now, the most important thing is just that you start writing and keep writing. Work until you think you just might type or write your fingers into stubs. 30 days will tick away faster than you think it will. You may descend into a frenzied haze of caffeine, cheap burritos, and clumsily unwrapped chocolate, but you are writing. That’s what’s supposed to happen here.
And here’s something else to bolster your spirits, from the great works of literature to the most frustratingly awful fanfiction ever created: written works are all produced the same way, one word at a time. I can do this. You can do this. Everyone who puts their mind to it can do this. Just start stringing words together. Put them into sentences, then paragraphs, then chapters. Eventually, you’ll have your 50,000 words and a sense of accomplishment.