Well Wrimos, the end is nigh. We’re entering the final week of NaNoWriMo with less than 10 days left to rise to the challenge and bang out 50,000 words. And I will admit, Week 3 kicked my ass. And I almost gave up. Like really almost gave up. After slowing to a crawl in Week 3, I ended up missing a few days of writing, bidding a tearful farewell to the shiny consistency badge I’d been shooting for signalling that I’d written every single day in November. Like a real goddamn writer y’all. Even if it was only a hundred or two-hundred words on some days, I was going to do the thing! And then, last Friday, I came home from work, took a shower and proceeded to pass the ever-loving-fuck out for eighteen hours. I woke up at 10:30pm, groggy, confused, and in no shape to sit my butt down at my computer. At that moment, I weighed my options: bang out some probably incoherent words to keep my streak alive, or listen to what my body was telling me and take a break. I took a break.
I spent the weekend relaxing, painting, and spending time with my loving boyfriend who I’m sure was thrilled to see me emerge from my NaNo fugue state for a couple days. I wrote a little bit where I could, but nowhere near the volume needed to catch up to pace. I was frustrated, defeated, upset that I wasn’t going to win this year even though I started the month with a story idea I loved and a stubborn determination to make it happen. Then, I stumbled upon NaNo’s new Goal Tracker feature that allows you to set a goal for word count or hours worked on your writing and track it over the course of up to three months. And just like the regular NaNo goal of 50K, it’ll tell you how many words or hours you need to complete each day to finish on time, whether you write every day or in chunks. And lo, I was ecstatic.
I ran around the apartment raucous with joy telling my confused (but still loving) boyfriend about how I could still write and achieve my novel goal even if I didn’t win NaNo this year and that meant I didn’t have to write like a crazy person every single day trying to hit 50K in the remaining days of November. I promised him more time with my face and less time worried that I might mind meld with my laptop. Joy! Stress relief! M&Ms! I gleefully spent Sunday painting instead of writing, allowing my brain to relax into a word-free zone. And then I came home from work on Monday (my last day of work this holiday week, huzzah!) and proceeded to write over 2,000 words. Because apparently, the true motivation I needed to kick ass at NaNo was permission to…not?
Suddenly, the math engine kicked up in my brain. You know the one that lies awake at night when you have insomnia and calculates how many hours of sleep you’d get if you fell asleep right now…or now…or now dammit! Escaped from the bog of weeks 2 and 3, the beast of optimism raised its head, exclaiming, “Well, if you write 3,000 words a day, you can still win! And you can totally write that much in a day, right? You’ve done it before!” The stats on the NaNo site say I have to write about 2,500 words every day to win this month. The reckless optimist in me that kicks off every November believing that this is my year is convinced that it’s totally doable. I’m not sure if it really is or not, but with the rest of this week off from work and a comparatively quiet Thanksgiving with my mom to look forward to, I’m letting my optimism have full rein.
How’s your NaNo journey coming? Are you on the road to victory or fighting off the dark night of despair?