During November, I will be posting Weekly Pep Talks written by myself or by guest Pep Talkers. This Pep Talk was written by New Hampshire author and NH Writer’s Project Board Member Rob Greene and originally sent to the NH Region participants on 11.17.17. Chat him up on Twitter @rwwgreene. Want to write a novel? Check out NaNoWriMo.
I know what winning feels like, brothers and sisters, and this ain’t it.
Time was I’d have a thick stack of paper under my elbow by now instead of a few pages of type and chicken scratch. Once upon a time, I’d have 28,000 words—more!—by Nov. 17, and I’d be feeling The Flow. The staccato clackity-clack-ding-whir of my Olympia SM9 would be waking the sun every morning.
Those times are not this time. I’m not going to make it.
Come Nov. 30, barring time travel or a close encounter with an event horizon, I’m going to come up well short of 50,000 words.
I could blame the first couple of weeks of November, packed as they were by my wife’s campaign for city office and my four days away from home on a work detail. I could point fingers at all the college recommendations I’ve had to write. Really, though, it’s my fault. I haven’t made the time or expended the effort to find The Flow and shape my story. I let the NaNoWriMonster stomp me real good.
With only a couple of weeks left, I figure I have two options: Quit and chalk it up to experience, or keep writing and see what I end up with.
On the one hand, I’m tired, depressed, and feeling the claws of Imposter Syndrome scratching at the back of my neck. On the other hand, the weekend is nigh, and the Olympia is game to go.
And, hey, my wife will be away at PAX Unplugged until Sunday! (She doesn’t mind me writing—encourages it, actually—but I like spending time with her.) Also, the Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner; I can bang out some pages between helpings. I can even save time in the mornings by eating leftover pie for breakfast!
Even after the sun sets on Thanksgiving weekend, I still have four writing days left … You know, maybe I CAN do it!
I mean probably not, but half a book—hell—a tenth of a book is better than no book. If I get a good (second) start and keep churning through December, I’ll still have a new novel drafted before 2018 begins, and that ain’t bad.
Yeah, I know what winning NaNoWriMo feels like. I’ve done it. I know what losing feels like, too, and a hard-fought loss feels a lot better than quitting. I may go down, friends, but I’m going down typing.
R.W.W. Greene is a New Hampshire writer with an MFA that he likes to exorcise in dive bars and dim coffee shops. His work has seen daylight in Daily Science Fiction, Writers Resist, and The New Republic, among other places. He collects typewriters, keeps bees, and serves in the board of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project.