I don’t know about you, but the end of NaNoWriMo can be tough. Even in my case, where I’ve already crafted two previous drafts of this novel. You’d think it would be a little easier than it currently is.
Let’s be honest. The end-stretch of NaNo can be it’s own monster.
If you’re a planner, you’ve outlined your novel down to the very last detail. But maybe your characters have different plans and things don’t seem to be working as well as your outline said it would.
Or maybe you’re a pantser and your characters have started their own rebellion and your whole plot is on fire. Who knows?
There is nothing worse than thinking you know exactly where you’re going and your novel decides to take a different turn. Other than not knowing where you’re going at all (@myself).
It can be exhausting. It can make you feel like you want to give up.
First of all, DON’T. You’re writing this novel for a reason, friend. I recently made an Instagram post during a Saturday Barnes and Noble writing session all about not giving up. Why, you ask?
Peruse your genre’s section. Locate exactly where your book will go. If you look closely enough, there may even be a fraction of space there, waiting. Someday, your book will fill that space. Someday, someone is going to come across your book and fall in love with everything that it is. Someday, you’re going to touch hearts and shift minds.
As we’re hitting the end-stretch of NaNo, you can think of one million reasons as to why you shouldn’t finish your novel. But none of them are valid. In fact, I can guess a few that you probably have in mind, and here’s what you can do about them.
1. “I Don’t have time”
Whether you work eight hours or more each day, have children or pets, are a student, or have other looming responsibilities other than your writing, take a step back and evaluate where you really have time to write.
15 minutes at the end of your lunch break? Great.
An hour of solitude before the kids wake up? Perfect.
A gap between two classes? Sold.
Now, if you’re anything like how I used to be, your sub-excuse is “Well, that’s not enough time to make much progress.” So you choose to write nothing instead of how ever many words you can squeeze out in your given time frame.
And that, my friends, is how I accidentally took a two-year break from writing. Whoops.
If writing is your passion and your priority, 15 minutes is better than nothing. You may need to sacrifice some time on social media or a half-hour of sleep, but at least you are making progress.
2. “I’d rather do something else”
Okay, red flag. As previously said, if writing is your passion and priority, it’s something you’d want to do. Right?
There could be a variety of other reasons why you’d say this, however. For example, Disney Plus has all your favorite childhood shows and movies. How could you resist using your spare time to re-watch something you haven’t watched in ten years?
Maybe you’re bored or frustrated with your story. Maybe you’re tired and a nap is calling your name. Whatever it is, you feel compelled to leave your laptop closed and that page blank.
First and foremost, remind yourself that you’re a freaking incredible writer and your story is going to be a bestseller! No first draft is perfect for us NaNoers. Or in my case, the third draft isn’t exactly perfect either. It will take time, but your story will get there!
Also, try using those other things as a type of reward system. You just wrote 500 words? One episode of Hannah Montana it is. You finished a scene you’ve been trying to write forever? Nap time!
Repeat after me: Writing is my passion and my priority.
Make it happen, friends.
3. “My story is a trainwreck”
We’ve all been there. Holy moly, I’ve been there more times than I can count. It’s not uncommon to realize that your first draft is a bit of a catastrophe.
There. Is. Hope!
Plot holes can be filled. Characters can be rewritten. Your setting can shift. Your true theme can reveal itself in time.
That’s what editing is for. That’s what December, January, and the rest of the year is for. But for now, enjoy the magic of knowing your draft exists and that YOU’RE WRITING A FREAKING NOVEL! Not everyone can say the same.