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It happens every NaNo. You get to that point in your novel (this year it was chapter 2 for me) where you hate it. It’s crap. With stupid characters that you don’t like doing stupid things that you don’t approve of, in a world as flat as that sheet of paper you are scratching all this dribble out on, going through the motions of a plot that you have no control over anymore (assuming you even have a plot at this point). You’re a day behind, now two days behind, now 10,000 words behind and you feel like you will never catch up. And there’s that person who runs their mouth at Every Damn Write-in with a 30k word count and they just won NaNo Bingo….again! You might as well quit.
My friends, this is the worst time to quit. This is where they separate the winners from the losers of NaNo. Because the winners aren’t just the people who write 50k in 30 days – they are the people who keep writing to the last day even if they know they will only end up with 25,000 words. The people who quit now will have a few thousand words of a story they hate. Of a story that was never given a chance, and will probably never be given that chance because of the bad memories it conjures. The feeling of failure.
But it will get better, I promise you. You’ll push through. You’ll write a few hundred words today. Tomorrow, maybe a thousand. Steadily your word count will climb, even if it never hits that magic number. You’ll find a scene you enjoy. Your characters will save the cat. A NPC will pop out of nowhere with just the thing needed to save the plot. There will be a budding romance, or friendship, or hatred and it will capture your attention, and then you will find yourself wanting to write more. That song on the radio – you know the one – will remind you of your novel and the words will start flowing again. You’ll get, as my mother-in-law calls it, your “suck-in” wind when you take a deep breath, remind yourself why you are doing this, and continue on with a new, calm resolve.
The craziness of the first few days is over. There where-do-I-go-from-here is behind you. All that looms now is the story you are telling, and the time you have to tell it in. Happy Noveling.