Today marks the middle of NaNoWriMo 2017. We have survived the first 15 days. But I still have over 25,000 words to write in the next 15 days to reach 50,000 and the end of NaNoWriMo 2017.
At this point, it’s easy to be fatigued. To wonder how can I possibly survive these next 15 days. To worry that I’ll never reach 50,000 words. To feel that everything I’ve written is just awful.
Is anyone else feeling something like that?
Well, my advice to surviving these next 15 days is to be like Dory—just keep swimming.
If you follow my NaNoWriMo 2017 word count stats page (see it here), then you’ve seen my roller coaster word count. My best day, I wrote nearly 4,000 words. My worst day, I wrote 0.
Do I want to admit I had a 0 word count day? No. But I admit it because we all have those days. And when I had that day, I vowed that the next day I would write. I would make writing a priority and not get discouraged. I would just keep swimming.
And if you look closely at my word counts, you’ll notice that 7 out of the last 14 days (I’m not counting today because it’s not over), I failed to meet the 1,667 target word goal.
Think about that.
I failed to reach my word count goal 50% of the time.
But I wake up every day and keep on writing. I have not gotten discouraged over the days where my word count lacked. On those days, I acknowledged that I could have written more and I committed to making writing a priority tomorrow. And I just keep swimming.
And yet, despite those 7 low word count days, I’m still on track to reach 50,000 words in 30 days. In fact, I might finish a couple days sooner if I have some more great writing days. I’m on track because I am not worrying about it. I just keep swimming.
That’s how it goes in NaNoWriMo, particularly when you have a full-time job or are a parent or have other commitments. Unless novelist is your job, we all have other priorities that sometimes take precedence over writing. And so you will have some great writing days and not so great writing days. The word count will balance out as long as you keep writing—as long as you just keep swimming.
That’s the no-so-secret to finishing NaNoWriMo—just write.
Write every day.
Write even if you only have 10 minutes that day.
Even if it’s only a few hundred words.
Even if you think it’s crap.
Even if you have no idea where your story is going.
Just keep swimming.
Consider my worst writing day where I wrote 0 words. I didn’t work at my job that day. In fact, I took that entire week off as a stay-cation week just to write. So I had all the time to write that day. I simply didn’t make writing a priority that day. But I didn’t give up because of that one bad day. I just keep swimming.
And those other days where I had less than 1,000 words, I didn’t beat myself up for not reaching the 1,667 daily word count goal. I count those days as positives because I did write. Even if I didn’t make the daily word count goal. And I didn’t give up—I just keep swimming.
So that’s my best NaNoWriMo advice. You can read all the books and articles you want on writing. But really, the best advice is simply to write. Write every day. And don’t beat yourself up over not reaching a certain word count.
Just keep swimming.
Share your NaNoWriMo 2017 experience in the comments below. Tell me how you keep motivated.