Why it’s okay to start hating yourself about now

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Some call it being brave, others call it a hobby, most call it crazy. We know it as National Novel Writing Month.

Fresh out of last year’s victory, I was going for another clear win this year. Unfethered by, you know, having a full time day job, I figured reaching 1500 words every day would be a cake-walk. Sometimes, however, I am so wrong that I can’t even use the whole ‘I’m blond excuse.’

As I’m writing this, it’s November 20th and I’m about one day behind on my NaNoWriMo wordcount. Only one day behind you say, that’s not so hard to catch up to. True, it only means about 200 words more every day, but writing just isn’t that easy.

When I started the month and wrote those first few chapters, I was appalled. Appalled that my writing was so bad, appalled that I was spending so much time on telling the story in stead of showing it, appalled that I couldn’t correctly write words such as decisively. But slowly, way too slow, things started to go more smoothly. As those first days passed, the words came more easily, even if the plot wasn’t really moving forward.

Even then, with all the other things going on in my life, or not going on, it was hard. It is difficult to just make yourself sit there and start writing and keep writing. For those first couple hundred words sometimes come easily, but what about the remaining 1500 for that day? You also need to write them, or you risk getting even further behind.

A comparison of last year’ stats against this year

I must admit that I have thought about quitting. I’ve seriously given thought to just pulling the plug and throwing this awful story in the garbage bin and waiting for next year to try something else.

But that would defeat the purpose of NaNoWriMo and strangely enough, even though I often don’t know how the story is going to progress, I would really want this story to be written. I want it out of my head. I want to see where it leads and most likely it wont be anywhere good. And even if the story itself would prove to have some meat and some interesting parts to it, the entire manuscript so far would have to be rewritten.

But that’s not what I, or you, should worry about in November. No, what we should worry about is making sure we do write every day, we strive to get to our daily goal and we strive to get to 50,000, but more importantly, we strive to get something done. To finish something we’ve set our minds to and can be proud of, even if we just chuck the story in the garbage bin afterwards. (By the way, DON’T DELETE your story, no matter how awful it may be).

And so we go on and on. There are only 10 days left and I know tomorrow will be a tough day because I have a job interview and a dinner to go to. I know that on Tuesday I’ll be busy preparing a Thanksgiving meal and probably will not have much time to spare on the story, but still I go on, as should you.

You can be the greatest writer there ever was (and trust me, I don’t consider myself the greatest novelist there ever was, not by far), but as with everything, you need to exercise those muscles, even if they are mental muscles. And with that, I’m signing of here because I’ve already gone on way too long (that’s one of the hazards of NaNoWriMo, you sometimes just keep babbling and babbling), ¬†and I still need to work out those real muscles for today.