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We’ve reached the third week of NaNoWriMo, friends. How did your writing go over the past seven days?

NaNo 2014 banner

I’m at a place that might be generously be described as ”horrendously” behind. My third week word count is hovering around the day 10 goal. I did this to myself by doing one of the things I vigorously advise against — I allowed inactivity to snowball. One day where I couldn’t find writing time became a three day stretch, with the patently false promise I would “make it all up on the weekend.” I’ve had a lot of “making it up on the weekend” self-promises over the course of my life and they never work out. But NaNo is hard and being lazy is easy. And, frankly, here I am in a conundrum of my own making.

I know from private discussions and many years of NaNo experience that some of you are in the same position. It’s a disheartening place to be in.  This is where a lot of writers drop out. That 50,000 word goal is daunting when you’re starting the month and more so in the middle of it when you’re decidedly trailing the pack.

Here is where I’m going to advise you not to do it. Don’t throw in the towel. Don’t put down the pen.

Ostensibly, the goal of NaNo is to end up with 50,000 words at the end of the month. But that’s really an arbitrary finishing line for people to aspire to. The real aim of the program is to encourage writing. And if you have 2,000 words at week three, that’s 2,000 more words than you had at the beginning of November, or hell, even the beginning of this year. And that’s what NaNo wants you to do. They want you to write. So, write! Put another 2,000 more words down by the end of the month. And then do 4,000 more words next month. And keep going. Make your default state one of writing not not-writing.  You don’t get a publishing contract at the end of November if you make goal. You get some coupons and bragging rights — and those are plenty of motivation for me, because I’m ridiculously competitive and like to ‘prove’ that I’ve won stuff.

The reward — the prize — is really your words, your thoughts, your dreams — existing on paper or a screen somewhere and not just in your head, in a file labeled ‘maybe someday’.

Keep writing.

Inspiration – real, published novels from NaNoWriMo projects:

Fang Girl cover

The Pulse cover

Lie Catcher in the Primate House cover

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