Life · Writing

NaNoWriMo: Week Four Pep Talk

NaNoWriMo

Fellow dreamers, explorers, and creators of worlds,

Before I get to the butt-kicking stage of this pep talk, I want to tell you something.

I am so, so proud of each and every one of you.

For making it this far. For sticking with this process. For not giving up during the dreaded Week Two. For not letting Life get in the way of your story.

The difference between a writer and everyone else is being able to keep your butt in a chair long enough to write down an entire story.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You’re absolutely amazing. You are so close to the finish line!

Now, to Proper Week Four Pep Talk Butt-Kicking.

There’s this thing that comes along with Week Four, that you may or may not discovered.

It’s called The Fear of Finishing.

I know, right? Sounds ridiculous at first. Not everyone has it, but I’ve experienced it every year I’ve participated in NaNo.

You see, we as writers have this problem, (or at least I hope you have this problem) where we love our stories. We know they’re far from perfect and that there are a million plot holes and that some of our characters are flat and that a good potion of our sentences should never be read aloud.

But none of that matters.

We love our stories. We’ve been with them for three weeks now, going on four. We watched them become little fragments in our imaginations to main plots and sub-plots and side characters we never thought would be important but really are. We’re so incredibly attached to our stories that we don’t know what’s going to happen when we type (or handwrite) “The End.”

So you slow down. You come up with excuses not to write. You take days off, regardless of your word count, because you don’t want to write that ending.

After all, who are you without this novel? You’ve poured your heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into it. If you’re like me, you’ve written your deepest, darkest secrets in the pages of this novel, and you’re just not quite sure what’s going to happen if you have to stop.

But you know what? You have to finish it. You have to keep going until you write “The End” because without it, you’re a quitter. You don’t have a first draft. You don’t even have a zero draft. You have however many thousands of words in a document saved somewhere on your computer.

How can you call yourself a novelist if you’ve never finished a novel? Even more importantly, how are you ever going to take a step back and figure out how to make this wonderful mess of a zero draft into an even better first draft?

I know some of you will never look at your novel again after you hit 50k, and that’s totally fine. But you should make sure that your 49,999 and 50,000 words are really the end before you do that.

This is also known as Purple Bar Syndrome. You may have hit 50k, but that doesn’t mean your novel is done yet. I know mine isn’t.

If you want to be a better writer, you have to keep writing. That means finishing this manuscript. And the next thing you work on. And the one after that.

Finishing, like everything else you do, is a habit.

Don’t make it a habit to quit early. It’s hard to be proud of quitters and I want to pat you on the back during our TGIO party, congratulating you for sticking with it every day this month, for hitting 50k, and for continuing to stick with it until your novel was finished.

No one likes a story that doesn’t have a proper ending. Even if no one in the entire world reads it besides yourself, it still needs an ending.

Frodo had to destroy the Ring. Harry Potter had to defeat Voldemort. Prince Phillip had to destroy Maleficent before he could wake Sleeping Beauty. Your novel needs an ending too.

We’re here for you, until the very end. Don’t be afraid to ask us if you need an extra push to get you across that finish line. I promise it’s not too late.

Wishing you all fast fingers and plentiful muses!

Christie & Sara

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