We’re all going to die! The sky is falling! Our novels are doomed! No one will ever love me! I can’t feel my legs! Is that Godzilla? We’re all doo…
[We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special news bulletin]
You’re not going to die, you’re legs are still there, that’s not Godzilla, and you’re not going to bugger up NaNo. Big deep breath, a cup of tea, then take what you need from the following advice:
Push yourself – Swallow down the stress and panic and fear and doubt, you’re a writer for the rest of the year but for the thirty days of NaNo you’re a Word-Spewing Machine from Hell! Hit your daily target? Screw it, add another thousand words. Finished two chapters at the write-in? Make it three by the time your train pulls up at the station. Go that extra mile with the support of other NaNoers who are doing exactly the same thing. Technically we’re here all year round to support you, but this is the month miracles happen. This is the month you write through the anxiety and the terror. Try things you wouldn’t normally try, write characters you wouldn’t normally write, experiment with dialogue and setting and theme. Push yourself to your (supposed) limits…and beyond.
Four word wars a day – Fifteen minutes, that’s how long a word war takes. Find someone to ‘compete’ against, be it on the forum; the chat room; Facebook friends; Twitter followers; hell, staple a pencil to your cat’s hand and challenge him* Do that four times a day and you’ll hit a fair chuck of your daily word count, if not piss all over it. We shall write on the beaches, we shall write on the bus to work, we shall write in the fields and in the streets, we shall write in the hills; we shall never surrender! We shall write!
Stop looking at other people’s word counts – Seriously, who gives a crap if Jeff is on 70k, or Susan B. Hugepants just cleared a million words? Are they good words? Are they going to edit them? Does it matter in the slightest to the progress of your novel? There will always be someone on a higher word count, maybe a lot of people, maybe everyone else in the group. Someone has to have the lowest word count; it doesn’t mean you’re crap just that you’re in a certain arbitrary position on a list if you place us all in numerical order. I say arbitrary because more words does not mean a better novel. There will be NaNoers out there with a thousand words that make readers weep and whoop and whisper “god damn, that’s good”. Compare that to Heffity Jeffity’s sixty-nine thousand words of tripe and you realise that comparing word counts does nothing but stroke the egos of terrible writers.
Get to at least one write-in – The group meets are incredibly useful. Whether you come and chat, or sit in the corner in silence there is something about writing in the company of other writers that can’t fail to inspire. You can discuss your novel, talk over problems with people experienced enough to offer solutions and workarounds, and most importantly of all – take the time to relax with a friendly bunch of writers that are more than willing to help you make it through the month intact and with fifty thousand words tucked under your arm. If you can’t make it to an actual write in then try the chat room or the forum. Get on FB and Twitter and seek out like-minded writers, who like meatballs and long walks on the beach…no, wait, that’s my Tinder profile.
Am I back on air? DOOOOOMEED! We’re all doooomeed! My plot arc went out of the window! My characters are all two-dimensional! My word count bar hasn’t moved since…
[Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible]
*don’t staple stationery to animals.