This post originally appeared as a NaNoWriMo 2015 Pep Talk sent to participants in the NH Region. I will be sharing my NaNoWriMo 2015 Pep Talks and Pep Talks by Guest Wrimos on this blog throughout November. – Yvette
Thanksgiving is almost here, so I wanted to pop over to your inbox and give you a little bit of advice. Every year, I tell myself that I’ll get a chance to do some writing on Thanksgiving day.
Maybe it’ll be first thing in the morning before we leave.
Maybe it’ll be on the drive down to my aunt’s house for dinner.
Maybe it’ll be after dinner when everyone’s feeling sleepy and I’ll have some quiet time.
Maybe it’ll be on the drive home.
Spoiler Alert: it’s never any of those times.
First thing in the morning I’m changing my outfit seven times because I can never decide if I want to be dressy or comfy or both. I’m also scrambling because I forgot that I promised to bring a pie, so now we have to leave earlier than scheduled so we can get to the grocery store and pick out the least sad-looking pie available.
On the drive down I’m chatting with my husband and helping navigate, because we can never remember the correct route even though we do this every year, and the roads are way too bumpy for hand-writing (and anyway, I can’t remember where I left off) and typing on my computer while in a moving car gives me a headache.
After dinner I’m falling asleep on the couch or hanging out with family that I haven’t seen in a while, and we can’t stay too late because it’s a long drive home and it’s already dark out even though it’s barely 4:30pm.
On the drive home, I’m having the same issues that I did on the drive down.
By the time I get home, I just want to put on my pajamas and maybe watch some Christmas movies and go to bed. My husband and I do Thanksgiving two days in a row, once with my family and once with his family, so I know the next day I won’t get any writing done either.
Now, maybe up to this point I’ve kept my word count pretty much on par. Maybe I’ve managed to squeeze out 1,667 words every day, even if they’re terrible. Thanksgiving rolls around, and suddenly I need to double or even triple that amount in order to keep on pace. It can be hard enough to get my average word count out, so to increase that amount two or three times seems nearly impossible when I know that if I don’t do so, I’ll fall way too far behind to finish on time.
Wrimos, fear not. I have a solution. Here’s what you’ve got to do. BULK UP YOUR WORD COUNT. I know, I know, easier said than done. Here’s the thing, though. If you can bulk up your word count before you actually need to, it’ll save you oodles of stress in the long run.
Maybe you’ve been doing this since day one. If so, I applaud you. That’s one of the best ways to do it. Instead of writing 1,667 words every day, write 2,000 or more every day. Give yourself a base. Set yourself ahead of where you need to be.
Maybe, like me, you’ve been barely squeezing out your 1,667 daily words, and maybe a few times you didn’t quite make it. Maybe you’re already behind and you’re dreading falling even further. Here’s what you’ve got to do: marathon. Carve out a few hours, or however long you think you’ll need, and write. Turn off your internet, put headphones in and blast your favorite writing tunes, put your phone in another room, tell your friends and family your plan so they can:
A) leave you alone, and
B) hold you accountable
Make sure you’ve got snacks available, but don’t put them too close, because if you’re anything like me you’ll end up eating instead of writing. Now, WRITE. Write until your word count is doubled or tripled where it needs to be. Write until you’ve got a bank of words so big, you can miss two or three days without falling behind. You might find time to write over the Thanksgiving break, but assume you won’t. If you’ve got a bank of words built up, you won’t have to stress out.
Just think: if you’re really ambitious, this Pre-Thanksgiving marathon might even push you to 50,000 words. Crazier things have happened.
Wrimos, I wish you high word counts, infinite words, and zero instances of writers block. I know you can do this. The world needs your novel. Best of luck to you all.
TL,DR; Bulk up those word counts now so you don’t stress out about missing a writing day (or two) during Thanksgiving.
More about Ryan Elizabeth Clark aka “MomeRathsOutgrabe” – I’ve been a bibliophile for as long as I can remember, tearing through books since before I could walk. The Harry Potter Series was my first real love, which explains why I still enjoy escaping into a Fantasy or YA novel. My favorite books (aside from my beloved Potter) includeAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Night Circus, and just about everything John Green and Rainbow Rowell have ever written. When she’s not writing at breakneck speed during NaNoWriMo, you can find her @ Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH.