It’s the 13th of November, which means NaNoWriMo has nearly reached its halfway point. Some of you might be ahead, while others might be behind. Maybe you’re keeping up with your word count. No matter where you are in the process, you’re doing great! Even if you’ve only written one word or even just the title, you’ve already started. The biggest step in writing a novel is getting started. Your commitment to this novel is huge, even if you don’t realise. The book will be in the back of your mind. You’ll think more and more about it until you can’t do anything but write. It’ll haunt you until it’s on the page. No more peaceful showers or listening to the television as you do the dishes. You’re thinking about your story.
To me, this is the fun part. The brainstorming, the what-ifs, the worldbuilding. The more I do it, the faster the story comes. That’s why a major part of my ‘writing time’ isn’t actually writing, but it’s part of the writing process. Everyone’s writing process is different, and you need to find yours. The beauty of NaNoWriMo is the community—people all around the world focus on one thing. Don’t be afraid to connect with others and share what works or doesn’t work for you. You might even find someone who can help you untangle the mess your characters made (don’t they always?)
Just keep going. Don’t quit until it’s over. And even then I’d say, don’t quit. Because your story is worth it. Finish writing your story, even when you don’t like it anymore. Most authors will hate their book at some point in the drafting phase. We’re convinced it’s the worst written novel, ever. But it’s not up to us to decide, since we’ll always see the worst parts and never the good parts. If you quit before you finish, you’ll learn that behaviour. That it’s okay to quit. No, you must finish. Even if it’s crap and it’ll disappear in the back of your drawer.
Another benefit is that you’ll learn about writing endings. If you’ve never reached that point, you won’t get any experience in writing them either. The resolution after the climax is just as important as the rest of the story. Learning how to tie up loose ends and creating a satisfying ending can change the rating of your book from three to four stars. Or maybe even more.
Take this month as a month of learning. Try different things, find what works and what doesn’t, get words on the paper. You’ll have more than enough time later to make it perfect. The first draft is supposed to be ugly, the editing will polish it into the gem it’s meant to be.
Good luck to everyone taking part in NaNoWriMo. I’m rooting for you! Hit me up on Twitter if you want to talk about writing or your story. I’m looking forward to seeing your wins in a few weeks!