It’s SIX days into month ELEVEN and that means a large chunk of the writing community is sending themselves silly by trying to write a novel in 30 measly days and honestly why the frack not? More power to you, wild NaNoWriMo people.
Having said that, if you’re not a NaNoBot, November can feel pretty goshdarn disheartening like “if everyone else is writing a novel in a month, why can’t I?”
Well let me tell you something, friend, they ain’t writing War and Peace in a month. They’re not even writing a very good first draft of a short novel in a month. It’s just a hell-for-leather, get-the-words-out sprint for the sheer joy of bashing a keyboard into oblivion and dumping your brain into pixels.
Sure, some people will produce something worth editing, but many others won’t. And besides, what other people do is not a reflection on you. Only you are a reflection of you.
And even then, some days you’re not really a true reflection of you. More a weird-ass puppet of you who isn’t quite inhabiting the whole youness of you despite best efforts. But we’re all getting there. Day by day, just a little bit closer to shedding our robot skins and finding the true human within. Except me. I’m fully robot and that’s that. Beep bop 🤖
ANYHOO, if the NaNoWriMo crowd have got you sobbing in a corner about your 100 word a week habit, here’s some peppington pep:
There is no need to set yourself up to fail by making your writing goals ridiculously unrealistic.
It is not reasonable to think you will turn out a complete, polished, publishable novel in a matter of months. In general, an entire year isn’t even long enough to write a novel, find an agent, do all your edits and win the Pulitzer Prize, especially if you’re also working, studying, raising kids, managing your health, paying your bills, and doing all the other shit you’ve got to do.
Writing is a long term project, so dig your heels in, ramp up your patience and be gentle with yourself.
Giving yourself insurmountable goals is only going to make you feel like crap when it doesn’t happen and in turn make everything else harder. So drop your ideas about writing 10,000 words a week or getting up at 3am to write for four hours before the day begins and just, ya know, quieten your brain a little bit.
Small chunks, my friend.
A little bit every day, or every week, or every month.
Word by word, sentence by sentence. You will get there.
We will get there.
Ready? Go write…
Sarah and Team WHQ