This is the point where everyone is buzzing with excitement and can't wait to get started on or wrap up a current "Work in Progress" (WIP) that is ready for the best ending ever.
People have been gearing up, prepping, plotting, and promising themselves they won't eat that leftover Halloween Candy for breakfast.
But there are a few stages of NaNoWriMo that I know I go through, so if it is your first year participating, I am going to give you a peek at what might happen to your writer brain too.
Now, I'm not saying this to discourage you, but THIS IS HARD. Especially if you haven't done it before. But it's also a community of writers from all over the world doing the same thing, and facing the same struggles.
So here are some of the Stages of NaNoWriMo, you may encounter yourself. I know I've been through them all.
"This is Easy"
This stage usually happens in the beginning of the month. Maybe you're good at word sprints and know you can consistently knock out 500-1000 words in a short period of time. You know you can set aside an hour or two per day and think this is going to be no big deal. The thing about writing is, it's both the easiest thing to do, and the hardest thing to do consistently. And that's exactly why NaNo is a challenge. When you find yourself in the "This is Easy" stage, bank extra words. You're feeling good, so push yourself a little more and get ahead for when the rough patches show up.
"Whoa...I Still Have How Much to Write?!?!?"
This part sneaks up on you. Usually at the end of week 1 or beginning of week 2 for me. You'll be luxuriating in your green bar of accomplishment for the day, and glance down at the graph where it tells you how much you have currently written and how much you still have to write. Before you crest that halfway point, when you're tired and writing at 5am (like I am right now), you'll be flabbergasted about how much there is left. Don't let it stop you. If this is intimidating for you, avoid the graph until you hit 25k. Stay away from groups with power writers if you get discouraged, and keep your goals simple. Get your green bar for the day, every day.
This stage could reference your daily grind for words or your general feeling of apathy about your book. If you're worried about your book, here's the thing, it might suck. I have NaNo manuscripts that will never EVER see the light of day, but those books got me writing again. You have to write crap before you can write the good stuff. It could be that you write messy first drafts and then edit them to death, and they become something beautiful. You never know until the words are on the paper and you reach "The End" of your book. So you might as well write it. You can't edit a blank page.
And if you're saying "This sucks" because you don't like writing everyday, well, then you're learning something about your writing style too. But I suggest you keep going through the month. You can't tell if something works for you unless you give it a chance. I got my first finished book because of NaNoWriMo, and even though that book was horrific, I am so damn proud I finished it. Don't give up.
"Holy Shit, I Might Pull This Off"
This is the point where you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It usually happens for me when I get down to about 15k left. One day you look up from your computer and you realize that if you write as much as your best days, you might even be able to knock this out early. Or it might be right as you crest that half-way point hill, and your graph no longer tells you you'll finish in March.
You can totally do this. The book doesn't have to be a masterpiece. And don't let anyone read it until you edit it. A. Lot. But this book has an end, and by God, you're going to get there.
"I AM A WRITER"
This is my favorite stage. And it can hit anytime throughout the month. Maybe you feel it when you're typing away at a coffee shop and glance up and see another person doing the same thing. You'll nod at each other with bags under your eyes and toast your extra caffeinated beverages before returning to your laptops. Or maybe you'll feel it during an early morning sprint where you get your words out of the way before the day gets crazy with work. Or even late at night when you don't have to work the next day and you're ignoring the latest NetFlix binge because something about your characters is so exciting you can't stop until it's all on the page.
A writer is someone who writes. And that's what this whole shebang is about. Writing. I crave this stage of NaNoWriMo, and it's why I keep signing up.
NaNoWriMo is my new year. It's my fresh start. It's the time where I drop whatever I'm doing and return to the part of this whole gig that I love the most...telling a story. I get distracted by real life, far too much during the year. Especially in December, but this month is all for me, and it's about getting shit done.
So let's get shit done together. We're writers. And writers write.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? It's not too late to sign up! If you're writing, make sure to add me as a buddy (Roxy Mews on the site), and tell me what stage you're on right now. I'd love to hear about it.