Pep Talk - 2008 - Week 2

It's a little over a week left! For some, that is the long-awaited goal that is signalling the approach of your goal's completion. For those that are starting to feel like they're barely keeping their heads above water, it's either the end of the torture or a sound of oncoming, doomy sort of doom. Don't panic, don't fret! It could be the worst a-little-over-a-week of your life if you let it...or it could be the craziest caffiene-high writing blitz you've ever had. We're talking sleep deprivation-induced euphoria, a blessed ignoring of any and all real-world obligations, and glorious Nanoisms out the wazoo. I lived off this feeling while in college, hence why pretty much every single paper I wrote (and I write a decent "B" paper) was written the night before. (Or, it could just be that I'm incredibly lazy.)

Remember, however, that the last minute is not allowed to be the last minute. The urgency is NOW, and after three weeks you should have an idea of what you can accomplish on a regular basis. If you're behind, then it's time to exceed that. How? There's a lot of tips here and there that I've given out over the last few weeks for slimming the fat from your writing process and staying focused, and hopefully you've tried them to see what works. If nothing's working yet, then something's wrong and you need to figure out what it is. Because it's not that you simply cannot write more. At a minimum typing speed of 35 wpm (and I know a lot of you have been clocking in at twice that or more), you should be able to write 2100 words an hour. What's slowing you down?

Maybe you're stopping to think about the story, where it's going. Well, that thinking thing is seriously overrated. C'mon, you've been thinking about your story nonstop for three weeks and you're still behind? That thinking thing isn't working for you. For the sake of that wordcount, it is time to start. writing. crap. And I mean serious, grammar out the window, what the hell is a plothole, rambling narrator crap. Trust me, it's okay to have crap. Sturgeon's Law says that 45k of that 50k novel is going to *be* crap. And if you're still taking a self-esteem hit from thinking about writing crap, just take ten minutes and go to either fanfiction.net or Mediaminer and browse a popular fandom. Thanks to the wonders of instant, unrestricted internet publishing, there is bound to be someone there that makes you feel like a literary genius. ;)

It only gets better when you throw the thinking to the winds. So you don't know where you're going with the novel? Make something up. Cabbages. Crossovers from hell. The author inserting him/herself into the novel and telling the characters, "screw it, you're on your own." Tell your recalcitrant muse that they suck and/or are boring. Sure, at the end of the month, you may find out the path you went down for your novel's ending wasn't one you liked, but that's for the internal editor to sort out, and besides, how will you know if you don't write it?

In the end, remember that you're writing this for your own fun. If you're not having fun with it, then in the words of an internet meme, "ur doin it wrong". Drop your expectations of where you or others want the story to go. Don't tell yourself that you "have" to write because your friends are all doing JanNo, because someone expects that draft soon, because some other reason that involves someone that is not you. If your friends or whoever doesn't like the crack-filled ending involving echidnas and hot-air balloons that you concocted, too bad for them. They can write their sensible novel themselves!

It's also important to find a place where you can really get comfortable. I have a hell of a time writing if I'm not comfortable, especially if the keyboard's chafing my wrist (the laptop often does, hence why I have a wireless keyboard.) Distraction-free is ideal (yes, that includes the Internet :P) but just being in a position where you can type comfortably will help your wordcount a lot.

Since I don't have any clever ways to sum things up, I'll do what all great writers do and borrow from some other writer. :3 "The two necessary items are sincerity and action. Sincerity with respect to yourself! No matter what your objective...no matter who you are...if you are going to do something or not do something, that is a promise to yourself. And the one who keeps the promise, or breaks the promise, is you." Sounds familiar with what I said last week, doesn't it? Actually, it should sound familiar with the entire theme of this year's pep talks: that of self-discipline. Keep up the good work, y'all, and I look forward to the incoming novels awaiting validation!