So, it’s midway through November, and it’s Work in Progress Wednesday (WiPW), so what could you want more than a motivational guest post from someone who is not only taking part in NaNoWriMo 2016 but has completed numerous previous NaNoWriMo’s! Please welcome Dominika.
2016 is my fourth year participating in NaNoWriMo. At the end of the month, it will be my fourth “win” and fourth novel written during the month of November.
There is an apt phrase for the last two weeks of NaNo; “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”
The middle of November can be a time when the going gets tough. Some writers finish before the month is out, but others dedicate the entire month to working on their novel, stories, or whatever writing project they’re challenging themselves to give time and attention to.
NaNoWriMo isn’t just about how many words are on the page. It’s about the personal challenge, about the motivation, the inspiration, and about the diverse community that participates throughout the month.
In the past, I have used rigid outlines (even beat sheets) to write my NaNo-novel, and there have also been times in which I had no conceivable forethought of what I was about to write… In the words of author John Steinbeck, “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
Aim on what you can do to be and feel your best while writing during NaNoWriMo. Being flexible about what works is important because adaptability can help a great deal when falling behind on word count in the later half of the month. To paraphrase Lawrence Block; how a writer schedules their time is a personal matter best resolved through a consideration of their preferences and circumstances
When dealing with difficulties or obstacles, it’s important to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Concentrate on the thrill of the challenge and avoid getting frustrated about where you think you “should” be. Part of the NaNoWriMo challenge is to not judge yourself or your writing, but to enjoy the task of continually challenging yourself within a supportive, compassionate space.
Fostering a positive relationship between your mind and writing makes it a lot more likely that you will adopt writing as a lifelong habit. Life is tough enough without talking negatively to yourself and continually dissecting fluctuating ‘progress’ in a harsh manner. Be kind to yourself, enjoy the journey and the meditative essence that is the nature of writing.
NaNoWriMo offers a variety of community tools. My favorites for this year are the pep talk archives and word sprints. The NaNoWriMo exercise allows insight into where a writer is and where they might go, in relation to their work. In the end, everyone makes NaNoWriMo into what they need it to be for them during that particular year.
Understanding intention, why you got involved with NaNo in the first place, is a good start to using the self for comparison as means of motivation. A writer can find improvement through striving to push their writing beyond where their writing was a day ago, a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, etc. while also being compassionate to personal circumstances.
Writing provides a link to the world and explores our innermost thoughts; it offers a retreat and an escape, as well as a deep connection with personal truths.
So, even it’s a mere one word per day for the rest of the month, don’t give up! …but even if you do, know that you gave time to something incredibly important because it was something that you wanted to attempt and something you felt inspired to join. Honor your inspiration, but be adaptable enough to move on to new inspirations when they arise.
Even if we fall behind, even if we think we might quit, we must allow for the inspiration that first brought us to try this crazy challenge to pull us back in and see this thing through, whatever that means for you.
For me, it means that even though at the time of writing this post I’m 9,806 words behind where I “should” be (due to being terribly distracted by the election), I will rally my word count and win this NaNoWriMo. Just like I’ve won every time I’ve participated because that is my challenge that I put forth to myself and I know I am capable as long as I do what is necessary, which is everything I’ve shared with you so far. If you’d like to read more about specific tips to increase word count, I wrote a post about that very subject during last year’s NaNoWriMo.
Be proud of what you have accomplished to this point and don’t ever forget… there’s always next year! …But there’s also two more weeks to write, write, write!
I’d like to conclude with sharing three motivating quotes that I keep near during this November;
“Have you not succeeded? Continue! Have you succeeded? Continue!” – Fridtjof Nansen.
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett.
“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – Albert Einstein.
Thank you for reading! Now, I don’t know about you, but I have some writing to do.