How to get through the last few days of NaNoWriMo, no matter what.

It came to me as it always does when I am approaching the end of NaNoWrimo: the dreaded 35,000 word slump.

For some reason, 35,000 words is always the point I reach before I start getting tired of my story and mind starts wandering to all the deep, dark places it’s not supposed to go:

Is this good enough to keep working on?

Am I just wasting my time here?

Is there any point in finishing if I am not going to publish this, anyway?

When it’s National Novel Writing Month, the answer to that last question is always yes — yes there is a point in finishing NaNoWriMo.

It is, essentially, the whole point if you are working toward a 50,000 word count in thirty days.

But writing that much in such a short amount of time isn’t easy.

It takes two things that are often in very short supply:

Time and dedication.

That’s it.

Just two things, those are all you need to get through your slumps, in NaNoWriMo or otherwise.

Time and dedication.

I found that my slump came just as I expected it to, a little after 35,000 words.

I am writing in a new genre this year, a serial killer murder mystery, and there have been a lot of times when I have paused in what I was doing to ask myself how horrible it was and whether I should carry on.

What business do I have writing in a genre I never read, anyway?

How can I possibly get through another 15,000 words when my heart isn’t in it and my brain is telling me that it sucks?

Time and Dedication.

I know exactly how much time it takes me to write 2,000 words on a good day or a bad day.

When it’s NaNoWriMo, I make sure to carve out that time every day and sit down to write.

It doesn’t matter whether I want to or not, and it doesn’t matter whether the story is good or not — which it isn’t — I just sit down and write it anyway.

It helps to remind myself that it doesn’t have to be good — first drafts never have to be good, and first drafts of NaNoWriMo novels get an extra pass for being extra bad because of the time crunch.

I also remind myself that I don’t have to commit to this novel forever.

You don’t have to edit and publish everything that you write.

NaNoWriMo could be, like it is for me this year, an adventure into the unknown, an experiment to see what it is you are capable of doing when you set your mind to it.

That’s what the determination is all about.

You don’t have to be good at it, you just have to do it.

Sit your butt down in the chair.

Put your fingers on the keys or the pen in your hand.

And just write.

Set aside some time every day to vomit your story onto the page, tell yourself that you are going to get it done in a certain amount of time, and just do it.

The words will come if you keep telling yourself that they have to come.

You’re making it all up as you go along, remember?

You’re magicking a whole world and people into existence with the power of your mind, because you are a total badass.

Don’t let a slump toward the end get you down.

You’ve come this far on your book writing journey, and I know that you have it in you to finish if you dedicate your time, and your whole self, to getting it done.

Cheney Meaghan is a writer mom living in Connecticut. She’s not sure what she’s doing, but she’s doing it anyway.
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Cheney Meaghan is a writer mom living in Connecticut. She’s not sure what she’s doing, but she’s doing it anyway.

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