You learn a lot of things about yourself by participating in Nano. Or solidify things you already know. One thing I know about myself is that I can be stubborn. But this personality trait of mine solidified itself this year when I managed to throw a rather large obstacle in my writing path.
Broken fingers Anyone?
That’s right. I broke two fingers on my right hand (and yes, I’m right handed) during the first week of Nano. I tangled with a door. It won, I lost. Not only was I in physical pain, but my heart sunk when I thought about how I would type with one hand. But this is where my being a stubborn, hard head paid off.
I typed, but slower than normal. I used dictation to help me get in a decent amount of words. I’m not great at dictation just yet and as a result, I will end up doing heavy editing on those sections. But I got the words in. Because I have a goal. To write this damn book!
This challenge of writing an entire book in thirty days takes fortitude of all sorts. Having the willingness to do it in the face of overwhelming obstacles (holidays, work, kids, etc) separates the hobbyists from the pros. Only you can know how bad you want it. And only you can make it happen.
Keep pushing, keep driving. Be stubborn. When thirty days are done, a bright and shiny story will be waiting to be edited and released.
Now, go write!
Today’s Count: 23,338 words
Day 13: During Nano, it’s all about taking chances. To provide motivation to writers to continue their writing journey. But in order to do so, one must lay it all on the line. Stick their neck out. Be willing to put a piece of themselves out to the world.
Be a taking chances turtle
Like the turtle, we get nowhere with our writing if we aren’t willing to stick our heads out and try something new. It may not work in the end. But that’s okay. The point is to try it. Nanowrimo provides a platform for drafting, trying new things, and taking chances. Even if that means we fail. Because there are a number of authors that used Nano to write a story. As as result, many have gone on to publish it successfully. All because they decided it was worth the risk.
Now, go write!
Today’s Count: 21,671 words
Day 12: We’re nearing the halfway mark of our month long writing marathon. And if you’re like me, the sun, moon, and stars have not aligned properly every day, making it a challenge to get to those 1,667 words each day. Most days I’ve hit at least 1,000 words, but mostly I fail to make that magic number.
Still, I keep at it. Because while I’ve failed to reach the mark more days than I’ve succeeded so far, I keep pushing. I show up to my Scrivener document everyday. Some days the words pour out and my allotted writing time ends before I’m ready for it. Other days I look around wondering just what in the hell I’m doing and I want to pull my hair out by my ponytail.
And still. I show up. I have the same hope I do each time I start because I never know when that one sit down will be the one that the words break through. I fail, but I try again. And I keep that fire burning, even if some days I’m left with nothing more than embers.
Show up. Write the words. As Nora Roberts has famously said, “You can fix anything but a blank page.”
Now go write!!
Today’s Count: 20,004 words
Day 11: There’s something magical about writing and being able to say you want to be a writer. But there’s a reason why many talk about it, but not everyone does it. The old adage, “if it were easy, everyone would do it” certainly applies here.
Writing is not easy. It’s a solitary venture, with only our thoughts and characters for company. We twist ourselves inside out trying to find the right words to tell the story that’s in our hearts and dominating our minds. Writers are egotistical and yet insecure, all at the same time. We have to be both as we bare our souls and look to entertain or educate.
We need to have that thick skin that sometimes we simply lack. Because that is the one intangible tool in our arsenal that can make us great.
If you’ve made it here, on day 11, keep trucking. With each word you write, you bare your soul more, but know that your words are needed. And develop that thick skin so that someday those fantastic words that are weaved into a story will make it out into the world one day.
Today’s Count: 18,337 words
Day 10: Fear. It’s the other four letter F-word. It’s a word that prevents dreams from materializing and has brought down nations. But what if fear has been receiving a bad rap for all these years?
It can be a powerful motivator, both good and bad.
But what makes it bad for some, while good for others? I say it’s all in perspective. Are you a glass half empty or half full sort of person? How you perceive and react to fear is different for each of us. Fear can actually move people to act. If a loved one dies unexpectedly, some are fearful they haven’t done enough with their own lives and set out to make changes to live life to the fullest. On the other hand, some are so scared about not doing enough with their lives that they freeze and end up doing nothing. It’s all in how you look at the situation presented to you.
If you’ve started this writing journey called NaNoWriMo, you’ve taken the first step in conquering fear. Keep taking those steps, even if you aren’t in the lead. You have to keep pushing and putting one foot in front of the other if you plan to cross the finish line.
So make fear your bitch and keep writing!
Today’s Count: 16,670 words
Day 9: So if you’ve been able to keep up with your word count, you should be around the 15,000 word mark. As of right now, I sit at 10,457 words. I’m a bit behind the eight ball, but I’m not really worried about it.
Why? Because while I’m going to do my best to hit the 50K mark by November 30th, I’m excited about the habit I’m forming every day. And the ideas that are forming and that I’m fleshing out. Since I’m a little handicapped this year (broken fingers make for a challenge typing), I’m focusing on planting those seeds every day even if I’m not harvesting 1,667 words each day. I know that eventually they will grow and I will have a book at the end.
The point of Nano is to not give up once you start. Because you will only have a full manuscript if you plant those seeds each day.
Now go write!
Today’s Count: 15,003 words
Day 8: Last night after watching Shark Tank, my daughter asked me how those investors could give someone so much money without knowing whether or not they would get it back (in this case it was $700K). It seemed crazy to her. I told her that usually the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward and those investors were betting on the fact the business would work out.
Diving into Nano every year is a risk we all take. Will we finish? Will it be any good? Will we do it again next year? When will I have time to do this? All of these thoughts are a risk to our egos, our supply of time, our families, even our stories. But taking this risk each November is worth it to learn time management, consistency, overcoming fear, and just how bad we want to make this writing thing work.
So be willing to continue to take the risk. Even if you fall behind in the word count (I’m desperately behind now that I’ve injured myself! Doh!), keep going. The goal is to be consistent and finish something, regardless of the word count.
As Captain Barbossa said in Pirates of the Caribbean, “It’s more like guidelines.”
Now go write!
Today’s Count: 13,336 words
Day 7: Today’s quote isn’t from a writer, but from one of the forefathers in business and entrepreneurship. Someone who knows how to keep going when things start to fray at the edges.
Henry Ford knew what it took to fall down, lag behind, but pick himself up and keep moving. That kind of perseverance is the bedrock of getting those words in every day during Nanowrimo. The words don’t have to be great now, they can be great later. But if you never get them down, they will never reach their potential.
Greatness is earned, not given. So keep earning your greatness. Believe in yourself. GO WRITE!
Today’s Count: 11,669 words
Day 6: I try to keep a notebook with me at all times. This is especially important during NaNo. Keeping something handy to get your thoughts down when you have them is a small but effective way to get those words in for the day. If a notebook isn’t feasible, try using the notes or notepad feature on your smartphone. You can then download this later into whatever processor you’re writing with, be it Word or Scrivener or another program.
Today’s Count: 10,002 words
Day 5: Leave the inner editor in its cage. What you write during NaNo is a first draft. Your ideas, your thoughts. Even well plotted, planned out thoughts will need improvement later. There’s a time and place for the editor to come out and play. But during the month of November, leave the editor alone. It will have plenty to do after November 30th!
Today’s Count: 8,335 words