NaNo 2013 – Set Your Own Pace

Welcome to Day 4, NaNoers.

By now you are probably some chunk of the way into your novel, whether that’s at the 5,000 word mark, the 10,000 word mark, or the “oh god I’m so far behind” mark.

The hardest part about these first few days, for me, is watching people blow past me with their word counts: 500-word sprints, 2,000-word sessions, a blissful weekend of writing getting them 20% toward the finish line. All while my cursor blinks away somewhere near 1,000 words for the day, sometimes, and my brain is going NOPE. It adds to that looming wordcount anxiety I mentioned in the last post, and I feel like I must be doing something wrong, that the words aren’t flowing from brain to fingertips like they ought to.

It’s easy — at any time of the year, but especially during NaNo — to feel extremely discouraged by those gleeful announcements. I know my fellow writers aren’t gloating. They’re not neener-neenering at slower writers like me. It’s perfectly okay to be proud of yourself for getting those words on the page and sharing your excitement, and I applaud anyone who’s kicking their wordcount meter’s ass.

And I know that if I were to wail to Twitter oh god I can’t, those writers would be the first ones to set me back on my feet, offer virtual hugs and cookies and very real encouragement, and tell me yes you can.

So it’s a matter, in these first few days especially, of remembering that NaNoWriMo isn’t a race. You’ve got a month to get to that 50,000. If other people get there first, it has absolutely no bearing on your ability to finish your own novel. And if you don’t get to 50,000 in November — because life happens, because the muse makes you wrestle for every sentence, because you wrote yourself into a corner and it took a week to find your way back out of it — the rules don’t say you put your pen down and stop writing until November 1st of next year. (And if they did, they’d be stupid rules and you should break them.)

I can finish this. I can. You can, too.

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