Tuesday, November 15, 2005

a NaNo peptalk

Every week of November, Chris Baty, the director of NaNoWriMo, sends out a peptalk email to all 55000 NaNo participants world-wide. I thought I'd share with you the email he sent this morning. Perhaps it will inspire some of you crazies out there to go ahead and jump in the boiling pot with the rest of us and churn out your 50k words in just 15 days instead of 30. ;o)

Dear Writer,

Did you happen to order a breeze from the NaNoWriMo store?
Because we have a second wind here with your name on it.
Ha ha ha.


Welcome to Week Three of National Novel Writing Month! Where, in addition to corny jokes, we have some amazing things to look forward to. This is the seven-day period when the drudgery lifts, our stories fall into place, and everything becomes much, much easier. As you sail into the Week of Speed, here are a few good things to keep in mind:

1) The more you write, the more inspired you're going to feel. If you're feeling pokey now, it's because you're not writing enough. Push yourself to write every day, and make a point of adding something to your word count any time you're within striking distance of a keyboard. Harness the power of micro-sessions. If you're far behind, stop figuring out where you're supposed to be each day. Instead, just dive into your story and write until you've rolled the word counter up by a thousand. Then take a twenty-minute break, and go after another thousand. Don't worry about getting caught up - that'll take care of itself. Just keep rolling those thousands.

2) Don't linger in the 20,000s. The 20,000s are a quicksand pit filled with dyspeptic hyenas. The best way to deal with the 20,000s is just to heave yourself into them and then write like mad until you're out again. Some participants do the 20,000s in three big days. These are wise participants.

3) Abandon the quest for pretty sentences. Beautiful language is small-stakes writing. We're doing something epic here. We're aiming for completion. We're shooting for the dramatic arc, for the roar of the crowd, for the ticker-tape raining down on us in slow motion as we type our final sentence, run one last word count, and then close the book on a truly triumphant month.

This is big. This is very big. And it's yours for the taking. But to get there, you need to give yourself permission to make messes. To write ungainly sentences and create absolutely atrocious dialogue. I know it hurts to leave ugly prose in your book. But you can polish everything to perfection next month. For now, it's all about crossing the halfway point of your novel and beginning the sprint homeward.

This is your moment, writer. That second wind is rising, and your victory begins today.
See you in Week Four!


There you have it, ladies and gents. I'm off to micro-session some truly atrocious prose!
Hugs to all,

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