Writing 50000 words in a month is hard. Ridiculously hard. You spend an entire month pounding away at one project… and then December. A break. If you know what NaNoWriMo is, you might realise that this post is just a teensy bit late.
Because as of today, I am writing almost a month after naNo has finished.
Specifically, about my problem with nano.
To start, I’ll ask you this: how many of your WIPs were actually 50k words long, and that only? How many of you could pull up a chair and relax after nano, knowing that your novel is finished and now it just has to cool off before you can edit it? I was not one of those people. My novel is estimated to be finished at around 90k.
Do you know what that means?
If I do the maths, that’s another NaNoWriMo if I want to finish it in two months.
So, clever me decided to shoot for 75k, knowing that the ywp site lets you pick your own goal. if you write everyday, that’s 2.5k per day. And little me didn’t write everyday. Little me still reached said 75k goal in the month.
However, my novel still wasn’t finished and I had intended to work on it in the first few days of December so I could finish it. Well, that was the plan.
BAM! Nanowrimo finished, and on every blog I went on I saw a story about someone taking a break from their nano novel. It seemed like everyone was taking a break during December. Everyone.
And I still needed to finish.
But all of a sudden, with everyone else taking a break, I wanted to as well. I literally felt like I just couldn’t write. What was the point? It wouldn’t kill me to not write for a couple days.
Or a week.
Or as it stands, nearly a month.
Now you might be wondering how this ties into the title. Well, it’s why I’ve never finished a book I’ve done for nano.
The truth is, I burned myself out. After writing so much in a month – 75k – I just didn’t want to write it anymore. Screw it. I could leave it. I’d finish it later.
But really, I knew I wouldn’t. I’d leave it, go edit my other novel, forget it ever happened and then wonder why I failed next year as well.
And after knowing all that, I still couldn’t bring myself to carry on writing it. Nearly three weeks went by, and by then I got so bored I started carrying on writing it in sporadic periods. Then Christmas. I stopped again. I couldn’t write. Why would I? It was christmas.
So after Christmas I decided that I needed to pull myself together and keep writing. It’s been four days now, and I’ve only written 2000 words in all since nano ended, 1000 of them so far today. But it’s progress. I’m moving on.
If I keep going, I know that I’ll finish. Because I’m writing, and however slowly, each word is closer to the end. And it’s an end I will reach.
The thing we do with writing is we assume that we can only do so much. We think we can only write a certain amount of words everyday or within a certain amount of time before keeling over or ‘burning out’.
Think of writing like a fire, as it dies, it leaves embers. But although the heat cools, you can still warm up with those embers. They can still keep yourself warm or potentially restart the fire, as long as you have those embers. And even when those embers die, the wood will be hot, and anything above the fire will be hot.
The heat of the fire is like your words. Even when the fire dies, they’re still there and can still be wielded. You’ll never lose them fully, there will always be some residual heat living on until you light your next fire. You can always use your words. They can always be crafted into something amazing and beautiful.
Even when the fire is ‘burned out’ or your novel is ‘burned out’, remember that you always have words. The area around a fire will stay hotter than the rest long after it is reduced to a pile of timber and embers.
The same with your book. Your well of words and ideas will not run dry just because you have. You can still write and craft something beautiful.
Because even if you feel cold, like that fire’s gone, the words remain.
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