Whether or not you have committed to the herculean task of scribing 1,667 words daily for a month, you have surely shared the existential dread that comes with an incomplete paper or essay staring back at you.
During NaNoWriMo‘s campaign, accomplished authors are invited to contribute insights or pep talks for fellow writers. The following are some tips that most resonated with me. If you are stuck or could just use a break, these reflections might be helpful to you too.
When you make it to the 3/4 mark of your novel, if you are anything like me, you’re saying one of two things to yourself:
1. I’ve come far enough… to stop. I mean, seriously, I basically wrote a whole novel. I could at least tell people I wrote a whole novel. It’d be a lie. But I wouldn’t feel bad about it. At least not too bad. Because it’s basically whole.
Or 2. I can see the end. I can actually see it. So now I’m going to teleport there. . . .
Anyway, the point is you are ready and willing to cram the next five chapters into the next five sentences.
Don’t do either of these things.
Just Keep Going.
Write an entire monologue with your main character if you have to. Spend a chapter just exploring the life story of an antagonist. Write a scene with nothing but dialogue between your hero and your villain. Write a steamy love scene between your favorite couple. They don’t have to be scenes in chronological order. They don’t even have to end up in your book. But they will help you to keep going.
Sometimes, when you’re writing, things come together easily and you can crank out 2,000 words in an afternoon. But other times, it’s torture just to crap out 300 words. In those rough patches, here’s something to keep yourself going: When you read the pages later, you won’t be able to tell which ones you wrote with good flow and which ones were hard. You’re creating the same quality of work in both cases. You might not believe me, but the next time it happens to you, check the results later. You’ll see for yourself. So when you’re having a rough patch, it helps to remember that you’re making progress toward a goal. The words you’re putting down aren’t wasted. They’re just as good as the rest.