NaNoWriMo, Friday 25th (2016)


We’re almost there. NaNoWriMo is almost over– we have only five more days, but this will be my last NaNo Friday for 2016.

I have covered starting late. I have covered killing your characters. I have covered rewarding yourself. What I haven’t yet covered is the most important reminder:

You have already won.

Yeah. You heard me say it. You’ve already won. If you even batted an eyelash at NaNoWriMo this year, I consider you a winner. If you wrote one word, you’re a winner. You have won. You are always winning.

Writing isn’t for everyone. NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone. Whether you considered it and put it down or picked it up, the fact is that you considered it, for even the barest of moments. Some people write better on a deadline. Some people don’t. Some people write better in a group, and some people write better in solitude. Some people write better off the grid and some people on it.

If you haven’t hit your goal this month, you still have a few days to do it. If you’ve already hit it, try to egg it a little higher. But remember that you have so far survived the month of November, whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo, Sketchvember, 30 Covers in 30 Days, or anything of the sort. You’re here nearing the end and you can say, I did it.

And you have. We did it. Together. All of us.


NaNo Goal: 48,530/50,000

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NaNoWriMo, Friday 18th (2016)


Here is something I will never be able to stress enough:

Reward yourself.

We are writers, of course, and so we write and writing is, therefor, in its own way, the reward we all strive for. There is nothing quite as satisfying as just the right turn of phrase, laying the scene exactly how you want it, the character coming up with that perfect quote you will never, ever forget. I know that. You know that. We are writers. It’s what we live for.

But, it turns out, sometimes writing is not enough. Sometimes we need.. something more.

Needing that something more isn’t bad, especially during NaNo when writing is all you’re doing, pouring in every spare moment until you manage to hit your goal. We’re writers, so we love writing, but NaNo can get… a little intense. Just a little! Maybe… more than a little. Maybe more than that little more? Okay, maybe a whole lot. A lot of people put down NaNo part-way through because they’re burnt out, and if you’ve had to put it down and walk away, there is nothing wrong with that either.

If you’ve survived NaNo this long, good job. I don’t care if you’re behind count, if you’re ahead of count, if you’ve finished, if you’ve had to lock it up for your sanity. Good job. Give yourself a pat on the back, take a deep breath, walk away from the computer for a minute and look at the sky.

Unless you’re like, writing on a laptop or tablet outside. In which case, take that with you. You never know what some people are up to, and machines are expensive. But take a breather. It’s your reward for pulling this off. You’ve earned it. NaNo’s not over yet, but you’ve made it three Fridays, and I’ve got faith in you.

But, rewards.

Rewards get me through NaNoWriMo a lot. I’ve had practice with the reward system. Every 10k, I wander off to watch a movie more or less themed in what kind of scene I’m writing when I break. Every 5k I take a few minutes and do some exercises, get my blood flowing and my heart moving again; it’s hard to sit down for that many words, doing nothing but writing.

For 50k, I buy myself the winner’s tee.

I also have practice on visually motivating word counts. I keep a wall calendar next to me all year, but I’m hardly ever without it during November. It has the daily on it. Day one, pass 1667; day two, pass 3,333. And so on and so forth. When I pass the number of a given day, I mark a check-mark on it, even if that day hasn’t yet come to pass. Every night when I’m done writing, I go to the day I’m on and write down where I’m at. I tell myself, this is what I wrote. This is where I am. This is how many more words I have on this project than I would have had if I weren’t writing.

As far as rewards go, the visual word counts don’t seem like much. But it works for me. Compounded with my other rewards for myself, this is charging and magnificent and exactly what I need. This is my reward.

My project’s almost finished. I think I can do it this year. All I need is a little more…


NaNo Goal: 33,702/50,000

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NaNoWriMo, Friday 11th (2016)


Some people say kill your darlings, and some people say don’t. Now, I’m not going to say one way or the other about it. The reason for this is because, one way or the other, I’m going to be a hypocrite.

I kill a lot of my characters. I save a lot of others from the neck of death.

But one thing I’ve noticed is that, when I hit a road-block in my path, an excellent way to jar the story and myself is to kill someone. Or, at the very least, trip over a dead body. Corpses are excellent motivators for characters to find themselves. Even if you decide to rewrite the scene without a death– not erase! Remember, there’s no erasing during NaNoWriMo– it works wonders for getting you moving and ramping up your word count.

Now, you may be asking why. I think I’ve covered that, but if you need another reason, well, consider it a personal challenge inside NaNo.

How could you kill them? Well, I understand that the Traveling Shovel of Death (TM) is a staple of the NaNoWriMo faculty, and many writers I know. Barring that, a good ol’ fashioned murder is always on the card table– and bonus points if it’s on or over a card table. Lots of deaths occur in games of chance.

When? Why not right now? Go ahead, you can do it. If your character is outside, they trip over a body– or witness a murder. If your character is inside, hey, why not? If there’s on one around, maybe they hear about it on the radio, or read about it in the news. Maybe it’s a shock and maybe it’s not. Who knows? Who can say?

Where? Not in real life, please. Do not go out and kill people with a shovel.


But inside the covers of your book, on the pages you and only you know how to craft, by all means. Kill as many people with shovels as you’d like. Make a sentient murder-shovel, watering the ground of graveyards with the blood of its victims. Make a serial axe-murderer, but instead of an axe, give him a shovel. The possibilities are endless.

No shovels in your world? That’s okay. Everybody knows a pointy rock will do in a pinch; after all, we’ve been killing people that way since prehistory.


*Image sourced on Google.

NaNoGoals: 24,132/50,000

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NaNoWriMo, Friday 4th (2016)


Sometimes NaNoWriMo starts on a Friday… and sometimes it doesn’t. And just like NaNo, some people have started already and some people haven’t. There is nothing wrong with that. Some of us will still be clawing and scraping for our 50k at the end of the month, and some lucky few will rattle it out in the first twenty four hours.

But however we start NaNo, whether we’re lagging behind at the starting line or we’re racing off to our goal and beyond, the most important thing to remember is that it’s never too late. Never to late to get started, never too late to catch up, never too late to pass your goals.

Here’s the thing about NaNoWriMo, and I’m sure I’ve said it before: This is the month when writers around the world, millions of writers across the globe, are writing with you. They share your struggles, just as I do; they share your glories, the troubles on your page, every instance of writer’s block and every time you overcome it, climb over or break through it.

Writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and we don’t live in a vacuum. NaNo is one of the wildest roller coasters of my life, and me and so many others are here to share it with you.

Don’t give up. I have faith in you.


NaNoGoal: 8,379/50,000

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