"Should I start over, or just give up...?"
“There is no way I'm going to hit my goal for NaNoWriMo...”
I’ve been there. You can try to ignore it... Maybe you told yourself, “Oh well, I’ll just try again next year.”
But there’s only one way to free yourself from feeling like a FAILURE: KEEP WRITING. Even if it’s the final day of NaNoWriMo and you’ve written exactly ZERO words, you can still start. NaNoWriMo is not just about hitting a writing goal - it’s about building a writing habit.
Start today. Run through this list - these 13 reasons will add just a little more fuel to your inner fire...
13. You deserve to win.
Your story is good enough. Your characters are interesting enough. You are good enough. I don’t care if you only win ONE DAY out of the whole month… You told yourself you were going to do this, and dammit, you can. Even if you have to carry your word goal past November, prove that you are capable of setting a goal - and hitting it.
12. You’re further than ever.
Get obsessed with how far you’ve come. Get inspired by the future of your writing career. Even if you’ve never don’e NaNoWriMo before, and it’s 15 days in and you still haven’t started… ...you are still further than you’ve ever been. Just thinking about joining - and winning just one day puts you ahead of the “wanna-be writers” and “dreamers.”
11. That burning desire to tell your story never goes away.
Can you feel that? Right now, there is a story inside of you that is dying to escape. Hold it in as long as you like. It’s never going to get out unless you write it. It's going to burn a "regret" shaped scar on you that will only go away when you finally write it.
10. You are guaranteed to learn incredible things…
With a solid month of high-pressure writing, you are guaranteed to learn some incredible things about writing:
- That you can fall in love with your own characters
- That you can create a world so wonderful, you’ll wish it actually existed
- That you are supposed to break “the rules of writing” in interesting ways.
Even for career authors, writing is all about discovery. When you write, you will constantly discover new things about your writing, and...
9. You’ll learn about yourself...
There is nothing like finishing your first (or your fifteenth) novel. Nothing. It’s going to feel ridiculously good - even if you have to bleed all the way into December to make it happen. ...and when it’s over, you will sigh - not with relief - but with unabashed joy. Joy that you earned. Winning NaNoWriMo will show you that you can actually finish a book... which means, you can finish writing any book. Finishing NaNoWriMo brings you one (massive) step closer to becoming a career author.
8. You will learn about your story.
Most of us spend weeks - even years - dreaming out about our books, our characters, etc. What you don't realize is how much there is still to discover about your story. Though I work from an outline, and I think I know where it’s going, my stories always find a way to veer off the path, and into the dark thicket of trees where no man has ever gone before. Someone once compared the process of writing to walking into a dark room with only a candle. You find out what's inside bit by bit. Finishing your first draft is discovery in its purest form. Silence your inner editor, and relish it.
7. You will find out what it (actually) takes to write.
I’m a loser - I’ve lost NaNoWriMo twice in a row (in fact, 2017 was the first time I won). It wasn't until I realized this that I figured out how to actually finish: Writing is work but... It’s the best damned work there is. Still, you need to treat it like work:
- Schedule it
- Defend your schedule viciously
- Structure your story so you will achieve your writing goals
6. Stress is GOOD.
- It's the last week
- You still need to write 30,000 more words...
- Everyone on Facebook is screaming, "Hooray! I won NaNoWriMo"
...meanwhile, you're freaking out, because there’s no way you can do it and everything is falling to pieces- Here’s what really matters: You. Trying. Push through the stress, and write despite the emotions rocking you to your core - now THAT is a true victory. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed - when you know you’re going to lose - I want you to picture your stress as a grinning, drooling monster that wants to eat you alive. I want you square your shoulders, take a deep breath, and say these words: “Let’s do this.” And start writing.
5. You are SUPPOSED to hit a wall.
That towering, slobbering stress monster? It’s killed a million writers… and it’s going to kill you, too. UNLESS, you do something clever. And I mean extremely clever. Your job as a writer is to solve problems. So when you go up against that monster -or when you hit that wall - use your creative brain to get around it:
- Writer’s block? Break it.
- Bored of your story? Set it on fire.
- Want to restart your story? DON’T.
Just keep moving. If you feel the burning need to start your story over, ignore it. Instead, just keep writing as if you had written the beginning correctly (I had to do this last year, and it worked great). Even if it’s hot garbage, a finished draft is a thousand times more precious than a new beginning. https://youtu.be/kBCoBwj4CnU?t=10
4. You will gain momentum.
And with that momentum, you will create something so amazing and RARE, even the richest CEOs and highest-caliber celebrities have trouble cultivating it… You will build a habit that will channel your potential into greatness. Every word and every hour matters.
3. So don’t build the WRONG habit.
Quit now, and you’ll quit again. Look up at that Stress monster. Do you shake in your boots? Drop your sword and run? Or do you stand your ground... ...and become the magnificent conqueror you deserve to be.
2. Quitting will hurt far more than losing.
Let me tell you the saddest story I know: You sit in a rocking chair, creaking back and forth while you tell your grandchildren, “I used to want to be a writer, but...” Keep going. It’s 9000% worth it, and you are going to make it.
1. The most “selfish” reason why you must finish NaNoWriMo:
Because you are the only one who can finish your writing month. Even if everyone else hits their goals early... it doesn’t matter. Why? Because none of them will tell your story. Readers are desperate for new stories to fall in love with. Yes - we are waiting anxiously for you to finish. So even if TODAY is the only day that you complete your daily word goal, you will still be a hundred miles ahead of the millions of want-to-be writers out there who never even started… ...or crumpled and gave up in the final hour. It IS hard. I know it is. But you are going to feel absolutely incredible once you get there.
Good luck and Write Well.
Why are you trying to do NaNoWriMo? What is your main goal that keeps you writing? Tell me in the comments below.
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