NaNoWriMo is almost over, and you are nowhere close to your writing goal.
Is it hopeless?
Should you give up on finishing your novel during this challenge?
I've been there, at the point of giving up, many times. So I can answer this one with a certain confidence...
DO NOT GIVE UP.
YOU NEED TO 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. It's about making progress on something amazing, because one day you will finish.
And then you'll feel like this:
11. You Deserve to Win NaNoWriMo
Your story is good enough.
Your characters are interesting enough. You are good enough to do win.
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.
10. You’re Already This Far
Get obsessed with how far you’ve come.
Even if you've only written 100 words (or 10 words, or none). You are thinking about your story, and thinking is a huge part of the writing process.
Get inspired by the future of your writing career. Even if you’ve never done 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.”
9. That Burning Desire to Tell Your Story Never Goes Away
Can you feel that?
Right now, there is a story inside 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.
8. You Will Learn Incredible Things
With a solid month of high-pressure writing, you are guaranteed to learn some incredible things about writing:
- How to Write Amazing Characters
- How to Craft Dialogue as Good (Or Better Than) the Greats
- Worldbuilding, Sentence Structure, Beginnings and Endings, Scenes, Plot, Character Arcs, and a thousand other skills that masterful writers use every day
Even for career authors, writing is all about discovery. When you write, you will constantly discover new things about your writing, and...
7. You’ll Discover New Truths about Yourself
There is nothing like finishing your first novel. Or your third, or your 15th.
No feeling in the world can compare. Nothing.
Even if you have to bleed all the way into December to make it happen, it's going to feel indescribable.
When you get to write "The End," you will sigh - not with relief - but with pure, 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 professional author.
6. 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.
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”Terry Pratchett
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.
5. Find Out What Writing Actually Feels Like
I have done NaNoWriMo for many years now, and failed my goals at least twice.
Writing is work. Which means, it's easy to avoid or procrastinate in favor of less challenging tasks.
But it's also the best damn work there is.
When I realized I needed to structure my writing time like real, hard work, I began to see far more success.
- Schedule your writing time
- Defend your schedule viciously
- Structure your goals so you will actually achieve them
4. The Right Kind of Stress Helps You Grow
- It's the final week
- You are 30,000 words behind (yikes)
- Everyone on social media is screaming, "Look at me! I finished my book!"
Don't freak out.
Here’s what really matters: Are you still trying?
You are allowed to change your goals whenever you want. In fact, adjusting your goals into more realistic milestones can help you grow faster.
So, go change your expectations. Set a new goal, with new milestones.
Then, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath, and start thinking, "I got this."
3. You Will Gain Momentum
And with that momentum, you will create something so amazing and RARE, even the richest CEOs and most impressive celebrities can't do…
You will build a habit that will channel your potential into greatness. Every word and every hour matters.
2. Quitting Will Hurt Far More Than Losing
Here's a story that breaks my heart:
An old man, rocking in his old chair. He tells his grandchildren, “When I was your age, I wanted to be a writer. I tried, but...”
Don't try and quit.
Try and keep going.
It’s worth the effort, and you have the power.
1. The #1 Reason Why You Must Finish NaNoWriMo
Because this is your quest, and you are the only one who can finish it.
Who cares what other people are doing?
It's your story, and you are the only one who can tell it.
So even if today is the only day that you win your goal, you will still be a hundred miles ahead of the millions of want-to-be writers out there who never even started.
NaNoWriMo is hard. I know it is. But you are going to feel absolutely incredible once you win.
Good Luck and Happy Writing!
Why are you trying to do NaNoWriMo?
What is your main goal that keeps you writing?
Tell me in the comments below.