Any writer with access to the internet eventually discovers NaNoWriMo — The national novel writing month. Are you prepared to write 50k words in thirty days? We’re already in day 8.
It sounds preposterous, isn’t it? Even so, many books over the years have been written during this challenge and came out to stellar reception. According to the official NaNo website there are more than 700k novels written during the challenge.
I personally know a writer called IV Olokita — this is a pseudonym name — that wrote his first book during NaNoWriMo a few years back.
And yet, many more people start the challenge than those who finish it. I personally began a story two years ago, reached 20k words, and abandoned due to lack of time, too big of a gap between the word count goal and my actual word count, and all the usual excuses. That’s what they were.
It’s because of these excuses why you’ll never write a book in 30 days. Let’s review some of them.
Lack Of Time
50k words divided by 30 days is Approximately 1667 words to write every day of November.
Does that sound like an impossible word count to you? Do you think you won’t handle it? Where will you find the time to write 1667 words every day?
So, for starters, did anyone say you need to write all of them in one sitting? I wrote 400 words in the bathroom yesterday. You can judge me for being disgusting all you want but at the end of the day, I will have a written book by the end of November. Could you say the same?
Also, what about getting up earlier than usual and writing some of your words in the morning?
If you don’t write for a living (like a copywriter or software engineer) than you could write in the evenings after work.
But what if time isn’t your problem?
Lack Of Vision
So, you have time but you don’t know what story you should write. I feel you. It’s so frustrating to want to write but to not know where to start. You could clearly see yourself writing thousands of words every day if only you knew where to start.
I had this problem three years ago and I didn’t participate. For one thing, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to write about, and I also knew I wanted to write fantasy. The idea and world I wanted to write became clearer in 2016. But I still didn’t have a story.
I tried to write one for NaNo 2017 got to 20k words and stopped when I realized that it wasn’t going anywhere.
It’s important to know that sometimes stories aren’t ready. But you could still write and materialize your world in your mind so that when the right story is born within you, you will grasp it.
Lack of Persistence
You have the time, you have the idea and you decide to go for it. You Start strong for the first few days, so happy that you’re actually writing your very own story, your soul spread of digital sheets of paper.
One day you fall short and create a gap in the word count. You need to write 1667 words extra in the following day. That’s fine, you think. You have no idea how to do it but you’ll find a way. When a couple more days bring you down to an even bigger gap, like 5000 words or more, that’s when you finally decide to give up on your story. No way I’ll finish it on time, you think.
It’s so easy to just let this go, right? To stop writing and go do literally anything else. You feel like you freed your mind. I had that in some NaNoWriMo’s throughout the years. I’ve been participating for five years. Each year I didn’t end up with a book but I learned a lot about the process.
There’s nothing more depressing than admitting defeat. But if you ask me, it’s for the better. You would have been miserable writing something you don’t want to write.
You need to harness your passion for that book — it will carry you all the way to the end.
The Book That Must Be Written
This year two things happened that made my NaNoWriMo so much more powerful than other years.
- I started fighting my debt, canceled credit cards and started to control my spending.
- I reached a point in my worldbuilding where I understand my world and its magic system.
The culmination of these two resulted in a story I really wanted to tell all of these years — what it’s like to fight debt. Since Fantasy stories, in their core, are not about the fantastical world but rather a lens to reflect on our own world, are the best platform to share those experiences I wanted to share all of these years on my own debt and financial struggles.
As of writing these words I’m at 4500 words on my NaNoWriMo project. It’s day 8 and I should be in 13300+ words by the end of today. I won’t be and that’s fine. I believe in my story and know that no matter where life will take me through November, I will write it. I must.
For me, this is the story that must be written, not the one I only want to write. I will write it no matter what.
It is my sincere hope that you will find your must-be-written story soon, too. When you do, none of the excuses you tell yourself will stop you from making it come to life.