Pep Talk - 2007 - Week 4
Wow, is it week four already? Why it seems like only yesterday I was stressing out about certs, wordcounts and dealing with spammers and...oh, wait, that WAS yesterday.
Okay, let's start that over.
It's week four, which means that for better or worse, the month-long slog is coming to an end. As of this writing, we've got about ten days left in January, which means that by daily quota people should be sitting around 35k. If you're there, breathe easy and just keep it up; you're past the hard part. Chris Baty cited 35k as the magic number to get to in his week 3 talk last year, and I suppose it's a nice impressive number, but to me that number of 15k left is much nicer. To me, 15k is a very dedicated weekend. If you're in that range, you can definitely make it, and if you can get to that range by this week, it is still very possible to finish JanNo with a win and a smile. (And hopefully a Feburary first spent catching up on all that sleeping.
(For those who have actually finished their goals, the certs are finally done so verifications are open; what are you waiting for? Email me your texts to be verified and get your reward already! :D)
But for all of us that aren't there yet, there's still no reason to despair. It certainly won't be easy (as if a WriMo ever is, right?) but it's not impossible. It is going to take a lot more self-discipline of butt-in-chair, forcing fingers to not stop and keep writing out every last droplet of drivel, but it is still doable. And although I can wave virtual pom-poms and tell you that, you've got to believe that you can do it before you WILL do it.
So, no matter what happens, keep striving toward that goal. Even if it does look improbable, even if you've got distractions out the wazoo and committments dragging you every which way (and two year olds on your knee!) keep striving for that goal. Why? Well, it sort of looks like this:
If you're behind on JanNo, the easiest path would be to quit. And nobody wants that, least of all you. Not only is quitting no fun, but you'll be out all those words that you would have written if you hadn't stop. Above all, AVOID THIS! Squeeze every last bit of words out of this month and every last bit out of these boards and this community. Even if you don't make that goal, you'll feel better about it.
The middle road here is to keep writing til the end of the month, but not for the intention of reaching the goal. Now, don't get me wrong; this is great. However, it could be much better. If you're no longer trying for that goal, you're going to lose motivation. There's no longer a nice cheery finish line waiting for you, a solid ending point, and then suddenly all those distractions are starting to look nice, and you're just too busy, and it doesn't matter because you won't make it anyway, right?
The high road is, of course, to keep moving for that goal, and it's a hard one. Sort of like that episode of Samurai Jack where he's climbing up a snowy mountain in nothing but geta and a kimono (which he loses most of) and he gets beaten by yeti and how the HELL does he not get hypothermia? and gosh darn it, I shouldn't have watched my DVDs of that in December because now I'm padding my pep talk word count, for cripe's sake. =_=
Getting to my point, it's not easy. It's the hardest choice you've got here, and that's one reason in itself you should do it. The other reason is that that goal is going to keep you on track and keep your writing pace up if you let yourself believe that you can still make it. And you can. The primary thing is to THINK you can.
Of course, for those that are behind, it's time to get hardcore....
- First off, start becoming as much of a recluse as possible. Anything that can be sworn off, every little bit, do it. It can be as small as taking lunch by yourself instead of with friends and coworkers, and writing with a sandwich in one hand. Every little bit of this is going to help, and it's going to be needed.
- Start carrying a notebook with you (assuming you can't take a trusty laptop, of course). Take it everywhere. And all those little things you cleared out of your schedule, every extra few minutes you have to spend waiting for classes to change or the next bus, write. Anywhere. Everywhere. (In this case, the notebook is probably even better than a laptop which takes time to boot up, etc.)
- Do not stop writing. Seriously. Don't allow yourself to pause, don't allow yourself to stop. If it comes out a bit stream-of-consciousness-ish, let it, we'll forgive you. Don't do what tia so often does and stop to ponder how this next sentence is coming out, just write it and leave it behind in the dust. If you're not sure what's happening next, keep writing words and beat around the bush until you can scrape together something.
If you need that little kick to get started writing, try going by the word war chatroom or the Nano channel and give a word war a try. Whenever I'm feeling stuck, I often find the "GO" of a war is a signal to my brain somehow to stop looking at other things and stop pondering/start writing. Even if you're not trying to pound out as many words as possible, you might still find it helpful to have something tell you 'start!' Timers also work well for this.
Seriously, don't stop.
- When you can't write about your novel, think about your novel. There's going to be those times when you just can't swear off something and won't be able to write (like eating and bathing. CURSE THOSE BODY NECESSITIES AND SOCIAL RESTRAINTS.) So, don't let yourself lose out on that time; start thinking about what's going to happen next. Use those times you can't spend writing to muse over the story and think about what you're going to write at the earliest opportunity. (I often do this while waiting for myself to drift off, and last night I was rewarded with a rather humorous exchange involving imaginary numbers that will make its way into the novel in the next thousand words or so.)
In short, don't be worrying about whether you can make that final goal. Worry about whether you BELIEVE you can (which you should!) and how much effort you can put to it. If you've got the belief and the effort, the words WILL come, and so will the victory. It's not impossible, and more importantly, it's not impossible for YOU. The only thing separating you from that goal is your own will (well, that and a some unknown quantity of words, I suppose.)
To finish off, if you haven't seen it already, check out jennifer_angel3's post in Better Than I Expected. This is an amazing story of inspiration and a perfect example of the can-do attitude that is critical to a successful WriMo. I hope you all find it as motivating as I did :)