A pep talk for the very behind

We’re about to enter the last third of NaNoWriMo, and we Wrimos are divided into four camps right now.

1. Those who have achieved their goal for the month, whether it’s 50,000 words or a higher word count. They may still be writing. They may not be. Whatever the case, they’ve already written their primary goal for the month.
2. Those who are ahead to achieve their goal.
3. Those who are on track to achieve their goal.
4. Those who are behind to achieve their goal.

If you fall in the first three categories and your word count doesn’t make you weep, congratulations! Keep up the good work. Or if you’re already finished, enjoy the rest of your month.

I want to have a chat with those of you who are behind. Whether you’re a thousand words behind or twenty thousand words behind, I want to have a chat with you right now. So sit down, grab your beverage of choice, and let’s talk.

Finishing NaNo might look a little daunting right now. There you are, looking up at NaNo Mountain and all the Wrimos climbing it. A lot of the Wrimos on NaNo Mountain look like they’re scaling those peaks with no trouble at all, and the ones already on top are relaxing in their accomplishment.

But here’s a secret. They struggle too. Even those of us who already have green bars struggled at some point to get there. I hit that point sometime around day one. I knew it’d happen because of my huge day one word count, but it also happened because the events of the beginning of the story would determine the rest of the plot. I couldn’t afford to get those words wrong. So I applied those words to the page much more slowly than the words that followed. The same thing happened at the very end of the first story. I had worked so hard to get there, but how to wrap things up nicely?

But I pressed on. You should too. Look back at NaNo Mountain. See all those writers climbing it? Those are the people who are still pressing on after twenty days. Lots of writers have fallen off NaNo Mountain and are making no effort to restart the climb where they left off. The fact that you’re still trying says volumes. Every year people come from far behind to win NaNo. I’m talking really far behind. Remember those green bars that you saw in the first week (including, yes, mine)? There are a few brave souls who write their NaNo novel in the last ten days. Thousands of people catch up by the thousands and even tens of thousands every year to win, and you can too.

Here’s a real life example from my first year (2002, if you’re curious). I started well, but I fell really behind really quickly. At this point my first year I was at 16,334 words. The next weekend I didn’t write a single word thanks to being out of town. Somehow, despite non-noveling life getting in the way to a ridiculous extent, wrist troubles that my body must have gotten used to over the years, and my lifelong pet dog dying on November thirtieth when I still had nine thousand words to write, I still wrote my 50,000th word at 6pm on the 30th.

You have some long days ahead of you, but the rest of the journey will be worth it. Trust me. Now stop reading this and go write.

2 replies on “A pep talk for the very behind”

Great pick-me-up there, Sushi! I know i could have used more encouragement like this in years past. I’ve been one of those who fell down early and gave up, so I’m really proud to be able to say this year that I finished.

@ForbiddenVoid And you finished early, too. Congratulations! I know several people who have never finished NaNo. Sometimes that kick in the butt really is needed, and I’m good at giving it. 🙂

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