It is November. Or as we say in Writer-ville: NaNoWriMo! This is the month when we forsake our friends and relations to write for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Many of us dedicate ourselves to that elusive goal of 50k words in 30 days. 1600 words per day. This is for my fellow writers. Those who have sat up writing well past when they should have their ass in bed so they can tolerate their day job in the morning. Those who write for a living so they do it on the 9-5. Those who are responsible people and go to bed every night at 9:30pm. And for you freelancers who write when you want to, where you want to, wearing yoga pants and workout tank-tops, half drunk on freedom, stale coffee, and scotch — You’re the real MVPs (Most Valued Profession). In other words, this is for people who write, regardless of when/where you do it, for the Iditarod of writing — an ultimately pointless activity that doesn’t save a damn soul except your own.
I’ve been there a few times myself, not this year though, which means I have the time to talk y’all through it from the sidelines. Some years I’ve finished. Most years I haven’t. Some of you will finish. Many of you won’t. I don’t say that to discourage you, if anything I have to say can discourage you, you should just pack it up now and go back to watching television. I hear there are some good series out right now. The motivation for NaNoWriMo comes from you, and the demotivation too. We are our own greatest demotivators.
At this point, the end of the first week, you are a Committed Beginner. You’re not about demotivation. You’re about commitment. You’ve made a plan and you’re following thru (high-fives to everyone who is now thinking of Brian Boitano, because that’s what he’d do). You’ve got a spot in your schedule set aside to hit that daily word count. Your significant other isn’t yet tired of hearing about your “plot” (because let’s be honest, at this point, it isn’t a plot, it is a theory) or your progress. Maybe you’re a few hundred (or thousand) words behind, but you’ll hit one of the write-ins and be back on top, no sweat.
The thing is, you have NO IDEA what you’re doing. We can admit that, it is just us writers here.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve done this before or not, you’re a newbie all over again, trying to remember what worked last year or what your writing coach in college said. Or you’re succeeding and you’re trying to figure out why everyone is freaking out. It is okay to be floundering right now. This is the point where you may have all the words but no way to organize them, or you can’t seem to find the words but you’d be damned if you’re not going to try. And try you should. The first week is a great week, the perfect week, a tiring week, but one where you still feel in control most of the time.
After this it gets hard.
Your motivation will run dry, your skills will fail you, you will be pressured by people to, I don’t know, spend time with them or some bullshit. But right now? At the end of week one? This is you: