Justin Tadlock

NaNoWriMo 2018: The home stretch

A desk in a dark room with a desk-lamp illuminating the area. A typewriter sits next to it.

Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Iron Bowl.

It’s a three-day time and energy suck for anyone who’s trying to maintain a high level of creative energy and get some work done. I managed to make it through the holiday and keep a good writing pace with 1,739, 2,331, and 859 words on each of the days. Yesterday was the toughest simply because my schedule didn’t allow for anything but a single 35-minute writing block.

National Novel Writing Month is now in its final week. At this point, many people have already won. Some folks passed the 50K-word finish line a week ago. Some are now soaring past 100K.

Me? I’m doing what I set out to do. I’m keeping a consistent pace and making it a habit to write every day regardless of whatever else is happening in my life.

Attempting to keep up with others would do little more than contribute to burnout. One of the things I love about NaNoWriMo is that I’m not competing against anyone else. The community is in this together. It’s encouraging to see others dealing with and overcoming many of the same struggles in their works of fiction. In the end, the only person you’re competing against is yourself. You either sit down, buckle up, and put in the work or you don’t.

I could’ve easily written yesterday off as a no-writing day, a day where life wasn’t going to allow me to put pen to paper. But, I felt the pull of my incomplete manuscript. It was calling me to continue the story. Habit. After three weeks of doing anything every day, it’s hard to break out of the routine. My habit-building plan was bearing fruit.

Early in the challenge, I was attempting to get to 1,500 words if I could. I knew if I could keep that pace, I could make up for any losses later. And, it seemed to work. I’ve had a number of 2,000+ word days since then and kept an overall pace of 1,822 words/day. I’ve built my writing muscles up to consistently write more in shorter bouts of time.

With the final 6 days of NaNoWriMo ahead, I have 6,254 words left to become a winner. I plan to hit that in 3 days and cross the 50K mark on Tuesday.

After you’ve written nearly 44K, a measly 6K is nothing.

I don’t intend to stop once I’ve crossed the finish line. I estimate that I’m only about 2/3 through with the story. There’s no “The End” for me this November. After NaNoWriMo is over, I want to finish the first draft of this novel.

Then, I want to get straight to work on my next writing project. I’ve had a good idea burning a hole in my brain for the last week or so that I want to spend some time on. It’d be a good time to let my first completed draft of this story sit. Perhaps I’ll come back and edit it after it’s mellowed for a time.

For now, I’ve got a challenge to win. 50K, here I come!