I’m just going to combine the recap for our first week of NaNoWriMo with my day six word count stats (bottom of the post). Grab a cup of water and hydrate your self as you read, I have a bit to say and I also care for your health.
First of all, I believe we all deserve rounds of applause and pats on the back for how far we’ve come, whether that’s 10 words or we’ve already nearly hit the finished line with 50k (I wish).
Because writing is not easy. You have to pull millions of random thoughts and emotions together and weave them into something that someone else can understand and sympathize with. I think that sometimes as writer’s we’re too hard on ourselves. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It will never be completely perfect, that’s why it’s an art not a science.
NaNoWriMo is about getting you started and writing.
It’s all about giving you the tools, motivation and the community to get your words onto paper. So write, ignore the inner critic that tells you that this is a waste of time and that your story is atrocious. Everything you will write this month will suck, ok? I have to remind myself of this with every word I type because I am a bit of a perfectionist. I want my readers to see exactly what I’m picturing. That’s never going to happen though, because every person has a different imagination and a different mind that remembers different things, that’s what makes storytelling so magical. You can tell the same story the exact same way to a dozen different people and each one will notice or love something different about it. Embrace it!
Let it suck. Let it suck! Let it suck!
I am cringing at the amount of times I have used the word sighed or eluded to my MC sighing per page, editing is going to be hell, but when I have a time schedule to adhere to I don’t have time to be searching Tumblr for a body language spread sheet. I’ll save that for my second draft when I have much more leeway. Your future self with probably curse you out for it, but hey, you got something written down that wasn’t halfway rubbish. In theory.
Those little word counts add up.
Sometimes you have to just write twenty or maybe a hundred words at a time and that’s OK. It adds up over time. Look at my word count, for instance, I have long past 10k and I have spent many moments struggling to put word after word on the page, but if you keep up with it, those words start to flow a little easier and you find your footing again.
Don’t be afraid of taking breaks!
I wrote ten words this morning and then I spent probably about five hours scrolling twitter and finishing up some homework. While I don’t recommend that you take it to the same extreme as I had, taking a short break to stretch or grab a bite to eat is highly recommended. Taking breaks helps keep your mind focused on your task, as it gives it time to recuperate. Be gentle with yourself, you brain probably hasn’t done this much work in a while, it takes a lot of energy to create an entire little world out of thin air. Making sure you are hydrated and that you have enough to eat also goes a long way to making sure your brain is powered up enough to function.
Listen to a lot of music.
In fact make a NaNoWriMo playlist, it may change a bit based on what you’re writing or how you’re feeling at the moment but consistently listening to similar music or a certain type of music can help the words flow faster. A lot of people like listening to classical or instrumental music, I’m not a big fan of it myself because I tend to get caught up in counting measures or beats or something (choir nerd here). It distracts me. But find some music that keeps you calm and your mind fresh, that isn’t too distracting either. I find myself listening to Lindsey Stirling, Twenty One Pilots, and a bit of 5SOS.
Devote a small amount of time, whether it be five seconds or five minutes, at the beginning of every writing session to pray. Ask for God’s guidance, wisdom and his help is corralling your characters back into your stories (He might say no or later but it doesn’t hurt to ask.). He’s watching you chip away at your block or ice and He will honor your hard work. Don’t forget to pray.
Then all you have to do is write.
If you don’t write, you’ll never have the satisfaction of knowing you did it, you finished. You also won’t have a first draft that’s ready to be flushed down the toilet either, but you never know if you don’t start writing. NaNoWriMo is about writing. It’s OK if you don’t finish, you wrote. It’s OK if you want to cry when you finally read your entire story, you wrote. It’s OK if you started six sentences in a row with ‘she’, you wrote. It’s ok if you don’t reach your word count goal for the day or the week, you wrote. You wrote.
Sometimes you’ll have to take it word by word, keep writing. Take breaks for yourself and your mental health but don’t you dare start editing. Just write and keep writing. Even if you don’t reach the end this month, you started a new story and you’ll finish it one day.
I have confidence in you! Keep your head up and write!
expected word count: 3,125 words
actual word count: 416 (technically speaking before the clock hit 1200), but if you’re counting how late I stayed up: 2,289 words. (I stayed up till 0100
total word count: 15,476 words
expected word count: 12,000 words
actual word count: 15,476 words
Now I need to take my own advice and start writing again.