It happens to everyone who does NaNoWriMo, I’m sure.
You start off with everything going according to plan. You’re inspired and enthusiastic, you can easily set aside time each day to write, and you’re on target, or even surpassing it with each session. By the end of the first week, you’re feeling a real sense of accomplishment.
But then, as the next few days go by, life and all that it entails leaps out at you and yells “Nope”, then proceeds to bombard you with everything else that it wants you to be doing. School, work, friends, family, pets… Suddenly anything and everything is presented to you as something you need to deal with, and slowly but surely you end up having to push your writing aside.
One day without writing is no big deal. Even two days can be made up with a bit of concentration and effort. But when the days start to build up, and the target that you’re supposed to have reached by that point grows, it becomes harder to remain confident in your ability to reach the target before the deadline. You’re too far behind, and you’re too busy to get back into the swing of things.
“Maybe I should just give up..?”
That thought starts to flow through your mind, and acceptance of that prospect grows bigger. You’re just too busy to do this right now. It’s not that important really, and there’s always next year, after all. Right?
It’s all a trick! A trap that many people fall into.
Thousands of people start NaNoWriMo each year, but only a fraction of that number actually manages to make it to the end. Just like everyone else who started, they had life to deal with, all its ups and downs and unexpected issues that popped out at them, but somehow they managed to push past it all. They didn’t tell themselves that it was too late to start, or too late to continue. More likely, they said it was too early to quit. I’ve heard tales of people managing to churn out the entire 50,000 in just one day, so if that’s possible, how can it be too late to start..?
The trick is to remember three important things.
One: It’s never too late. With the right motivation, a few moments to spare here and there, and a bit of inspiration, you can slowly and surely, or quickly and suddenly increase your word count and shove your story towards the goal. No matter how hectic life becomes, there will always be a few precious moments where you can increase your word count, on your PC or laptop, your iPad or mobile, or even a good old fashioned pen and paper.
But if you worry that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t make it, remember the second important thing: Just do your best. Other people might tell you that it can’t be done, but as long as you don’t start telling yourself that as well, then it can be done. Try as hard as you can manage, stick with it as long as you can, and when December 1st rolls around, you can look back proudly at what you did, and use your achievement this year as a milestone to reach and surpass next year.
And if it all becomes too much and you have to make the difficult decision to lay down your virtual (or real) pen this year, don’t beat yourself up about it. There is always next year (assuming the Mayans weren’t right…) and at least you gave it a shot.
And above all, remember the third thing, the most important of all; Have fun! Relax and let your creativity flow. Don’t let it kill you, and remember that it’s a game that you can take as seriously as you want. There are thousands of people on the NaNo forums who are happy to help and support you, and there is fun to be had by all. Why not check it out?
And as always, if you need any story help or ideas, RanGen is here to help!