Dear NaNoWriMos

No Telling

This is the note I posted in our local NaNoWriMo forum. I think we all need it today.

Right now and the next week is an iffy time for us. Some of us who ran headlong into a carefully constructed plot may find ourselves frozen solid. Some of us may be suffering from the sinister machinations of The Inner Editor. Some of us, in fact, may simply be worn out.

I’m here to tell you everything is salvageable. Everything is fine. You WILL make it.

For those frozen solid with What Comes Next, jump outside of the box. Make a list of scenes, chapter titles, anything. Then turn each one into a separate, empty document. There’s no law that says we have to write this novel in order – I NEVER do. Simply dive into the scenes or chapters you feel good about. Don’t worry about maintaining a perfect thread, because that’s what rewrite is all about. As you write and other scenes come to you, make a blank document for those, too. It’s relieving to open up the files and see choices – start anywhere and you’ll still end up at the end. Last year this method saved me and made the book actually better. Try it.

That Inner Editor? Not your friend. In fact, that rascal’s not anyone’s friend. Some of you may have a whole dastardly jury box full of Inner Editors happily chipping away at your enthusiasm, your bravado, your talent. Don’t give ’em an inch. Collectively and individually, those Inner Demons must be removed. If you can, come with us to tomorrow night’s write-in – we’ll physically take those badboys down. If not, I suggest you write a hateful note to your Inner Editor/Ugly Jury and hold nothing back. Make an effigy and do violence to it. Something. Whatever it takes to put that negativity where it belongs – far away from you and your gorgeous novel.

Are you simply worn out? Y’all, I’m a frazzle right now – don’t think you’re alone. The thing to remember is that this month, this novel, these words are all the best gift you’ll ever give to yourself. No one else can give you this, it won’t show up in your stocking next month and there’s no cash equivalent. Does it feel selfish? Hell, yes. Are we all trained to be unselfish and put everyone else’s needs ahead of our own? Absolutely. What you need to know is that you’re worth every single minute you give to the novel. You deserve this and it might be the best present you ever receive. I know we’re tired and frustrated, but the end is so beautiful that every last minute, every single word is worth it. I promise.

Go eat something healthy, grab a big cup of coffee, and let’s do this thing.

Image via Shannon McDonald