Pep Talk - 2007 - The Last Few Days
Man oh man. It's down to the final wire, and am I ever panicking. Not over writing a novel, that part's easy. Over writing a pep talk. Now THAT'S hard. x_x; We've already had a good number of winners and goal-makers, but I suspect (and hope!) that there will be a lot more in these last few days. But for those of you still striving for the goal, well, you've been riding this roller coaster of ups and downs and hopefully helpful tips, and now you get to take the last four weeks and cram it all over again into the space of a few days. Fun, huh? :D It's time for the endgame mode.
(I thought I'd take a moment to clarify endgame and where it comes from. Every now and then, I go fetch something off BitTorrent. And when the file is close to being done, the little status window tells me 'endgame mode activated'. That tells me that the program is now not just downloading bits and pieces at its former leisurely pace, but it's focused on the goal of getting the file completed. And then it gets me all excited, because I know my file will be done soon and I'll have what I wanted. Yeah, it's kind of like that.)
Okay. During week 1 (soooo long ago), I told you to get out as much words as possible in the first day. Endgame is a lot like that. The first and the last day is when a lot of people get a good chunk of their writing done, for both similar and differing reasons. The first day, one's all geared up with the anticipation from the last few weeks waiting for that clock to hit midnight. The last few days in endgame are geared up, high-energy as well, but this time it's the energy of a rapidly approaching deadline and desperation. And desperation is fine. More than fine, actually; it's energy that will keep your drive up.
Both the first day and the endgame have their weaknesses too; for the first day, it's unplanned panic--now that you're sitting down to write, what do you write? In endgame, the killer is the drag, that feeling that you won't make it, the low-energy mood-killer where you only result in staring at the screen blankly. And here, some panic and desperation can actually be quite desireable to keep up that necessary energy.
Thankfully, some of the first week tips can still come in handy even now. Break the big goal down into small chunks, and just do it. (Saving your novel OFTEN is also a very good tip. DON'T BE STUPID LIKE TIA.)
In week 2, I told you guys to pace yourself, find what you could reasonably do in a day, week, month, and hammer it home. Guess what? Week 2 goes out the window. Endgame mode is on, and it's all about that goal. And for that, you are going to have to throw out all expectations of what you can reasonably write. It's no longer reasonable. In endgame, there's no time left to stop, to take breaks, to say "Oh, I've filled my quota, I can go have a life now." So yes, forget week 2 and its bluesy blues (Oh, JanNo, see how my wit and prose suffer!). The only thing you should keep from week 2 is possibly the jumpstarter of narrative ramblings on random topics. Or, have your characters tell a story of their own (hooray metafiction!) If it's round-robin, that totally wins cool points from me.
Week 3 was a great week in terms of endgame. Remembering that being behind is not bad, that it's not the end of the world, and that JanNo is never easy are all important things to keep in mind. However, endgame is where most people will give up; if not on the writing, on their goal. DON'T! Goal, goal, goal. Endgame is about the goal, and ONLY the goal. Do not settle for less. Use week three to reassure yourself that you can still make it from behind, and then focus on the goal. Nothing else, nothing less.
And then there was week four. You already knew it was getting down to crunch time even before endgame; Week 4 was about getting serious to begin with. I told you to swear off everything in real life that you could; well, there's some good news about endgame; namely, that it's a lot easier to swear off things for a day or two than a whole week. And these are the big things, too (not that I actively encourage anyone to take a day off from work or school and put their job/grades at risk, but if you CAN... >_>) and sleep falls in there. Hooray all-nighters! A lot of the tips for writing (namely, don't stop, ever) apply here, but more importantly, Week 4 reminds you that, like endgame, that continuing to strive for that goal is the hardest, and most awesome path.
Endgame is about the goal, and only the goal. There's really nothing else that better says it. And really, there's no better tip I can give for reaching that goal than to tell you to write and don't stop. Because in a nutshell (avoiding the Austin Powers definition) JanNo in its simpliest form is "you write words til you hit that goal."
And for the love of whatever deity you prefer, stop doubting yourself! I've watched you lot struggle, rant, question and cheer this entire month, and I can tell you that for those of you that have stuck with it, ALL of you, each and every one of you, are still well within reach of your goal. I believe you can do it, so it's time to go make my mailbox WRIIIITHE in agony!