NaNoWriMo: Days 27 and 28

Nearly there, with a scant 48 hours left until the end of the NaNoWriMo. If you’re lagging behind or thinking that there is no way on this good green earth that you can finish and make the 50,000 word count, don’t despair. I’ve said all along that this exercise isn’t about a number, it’s about a practice. Writers write. Dolphins dolphin or erm, swim. Forward, or even lateral progress, is what November has been about, so if we’ve stuck to our keyboards, pens, indelible markers, or chisels, then more power to us. Let’s look at some other benefits of continuing to plug away at our intrepid novels:

You’ve got more words than you had on October 31—If you keep at it for just two more days, you’ll have even more material to work with at the end of the month. It’s worth it, for getting more into your story, knowing your characters better, and making decisions about changing up or sticking to your plot. Even if the first draft is heinous, smelling like turned tuna, there is something in there, somewhere, that can get redrafted and refined. At the very least, continuing to explore your ideas this month will show you what you don’t want to develop later.

You’ve taught yourself perseverance—In combing through journal submission requirements, agent blogs and agency Web sites, coming up with a suitable query and dealing with what will likely be a long stream of rejection, you’re going to need to get comfortable with handling lots of upfront work for little to no positive response, at least in the near-term. Being able to sit down and slog through page after page is a baby step in the experience of the rest of it, I’m sorry to say. But don’t fret, because as one continues to write, one (typically) gets better at it. If this is your first foray into noveling, congratulations! You’ve already done more work than the vast majority of humans who’ve sat down to write long-form fiction. It’s not as easy as it looks on Castle. So just make it through two more days, for the principle of it all.

You want to be in the best position for rewrites—Those of us who passed the 50K mark, we’re sitting prettier than those of us who are at 32,500, who are better off than those at…well, you get the idea. Come December, or January, whenever we sit down to read through the manuscript and figure out what needs to happen next, if we’ve got more material than less, we’ll be further along, plain and simple. So push through as far as possible from now until midnight on November 30, and you’ll thank yourself (I don’t require any thanks, see) later for being good to yourself in the next stage of this project.

You’ve done this much, why not just take a little time tomorrow and Tuesday to get some more words out? Maybe you’re typing blankly into the screen with “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” If so, I worry for the people near you, but hey, if it takes gibberish to get some good phrases out, do it. The bulk of the work, of course, is behind us all now, so celebrate a little that you’ve made it so far, and see what else you can manage for just a little while longer.

Next up: What to do next? Preparing to rewrite.

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