A week+ into NaNoWriMo, you might be hitting a wall. You might be falling behind. You might be second guessing the whole commitment. 50K in a month? Are you kidding me? Even if you’re on track, you might be having a serious attack of the doubt monster, inspired by posts like NaNo No No.
Please don’t give up. Don’t use the doubts and naysayers as an excuse to quit.
Does a lot of dreck come out of frantic November writing? Sure. If all you care about is hitting 50K and “winning” then this post isn’t for you. Good luck and I’ll cheer you all the way to the finish line.
If you’re writing something that you want to publish, then keep doing what you know is right and comfortable for you in your heart. Now is not the time to give up on your dream of finishing your project.
I’ll be the first to admit that I may not win NaNo this year. I didn’t last year. NaNo can be more than writing 50K in 30 days. It can be a chance to commit to yourself and your writing. If you want to work on a new, exciting project, great. If you want to commit to finishing the current wip that you stalled on last month *raises hand*, then NaNoWriMo may be the kick in the pants that you need.
There’s no need to throw your process to the wind and write crazily without thought or preparation. You can still plot (or however you “pre-write”) a story and start now (I have a friend who’s doing just that). NaNoWriMo isn’t an excuse to throw out good structure and characterization just to write crap — unless you truly do just want to write crazily and wildly with joy and abandon.
That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo.
I plotted my story extensively. I have a mind map, a scene outline, and a synopsis already written. Not just for this story, but also the other one I plan to work on when I finish this one. In other years, I’ve written into December in order to finish the book — because 50K may not be anywhere near what you need to finish.
What I’m trying to say is use NaNoWriMo to succeed at your goals — whatever they are.
You might write a book that needs lots of revisions, even if you’ve plotted extensively beforehand. (THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN, my first NaNoWriMo book. Please don’t ask how many times I survived Revision Xibalba.)
You might write a book that needs very little revisions and flows from beginning to end like a dream. (RETURN TO SHANHASSON, my second NaNoWriMo book, not an outline or synopsis in sight — but I’d been dreaming the story off and on for years.)
You might finish a book that you’re having problems with. You might finish short projects. You might use NaNoWriMo to push through the Dark Moment of your book. (Vicki’s YOURS TO TAKE, last year’s novel that I finished even though I didn’t win NaNoWriMo, coming soon from Samhain in May 2012).
It is possible to write a publishable novel via NaNoWriMo and we are not the anomilies. Stay true to your process — or explore a new process. Write by an outline — or fly in the zone, no holds barred.
In the words of Tim Gunn, “Make it work, people!” Make it work FOR YOU.
Harness some of this frenetic energy and use it to meet your goals, whatever they may be.