One (Pep Talk) for the Road

When I discovered I would be bringing up the rear in pep talks this year, I wondered if it was just a coincidence or if my fellow MLs had voted me most likely to still be writing at the eleventh hour. In any case, here I am and, although I am now on track with my word count, it took 28 days of slogging along behind the pack, waving away the dust, to get here. The irony is, now, with the end game in reach, I see the true unimportance of word counts and those pats on the back we will get from winning.

Sure, on the surface NaNoWriMo is all about cranking out 50,000 words and throwing a big party but, if you look a little deeper, you see the true genius of the effort – the stories that are shared with humanity. At the Night of Writing Dangerously this year, my family sat with a transgender millennial, a teacher from an economically challenged town, and a young teenage writer and his mother. Theirs are stories that need to be told, perspectives that deserve to be shared, and there are millions more, including yours.

Through the habit of daily writing, our voices become stronger. In 30 days, we will have sharpened the tools we use to show who we are and what we contribute to the world. So whether you are closing in on this year’s 50k, or hovering at the bottom of the chart, what’s important is that you keep on going.

Hone your voice, tell your tale and send it off to join the wild, swirling mass of stories that become life lessons for us all. As my autocorrect would say, “Duck the word count!” Let your voice be heard.


Behind, but still making progress

I’ve been to two write-ins in as many days and, if these groups are representative of the masses, most of you are pretty much up to speed. Congratulations!

There was one person, however, who is trailing behind the pack, reluctant to talk about her progress and even hesitant to shout out her pitiful word count at the end of each word war. To make matters worse, she’s an ML, *cough* sanctioned by headquarters to help folks navigate through the sticky lexical swamp that is NaNo. How embarrassing, right? *Blush*

So… this Tuesday pep talk is dedicated to those of us behind in our word counts.

John Lennon said it better but life happens. Things get in the way and the precious time you squirreled away for writing gets diverted to your children, your parents, or your boss. But, even if your word count isn’t in boasting range, you can still make it happen. Sure, you may have to lock yourself in your apartment for the entire Thanksgiving weekend, with your router unplugged and Uber Eats stuffing meals through the mail slot, but you can turn it around.

There are still eight days of NaNo left, plenty of time, really. I’ve heard that some crazy, adrenalin-junkie freaks don’t even start writing their novels until November 27th or so, yet they manage to finish each year.

So let’s make the next eight days a time to remember, a time of dirty hair and ramen noodles. Let’s grab our own bootstraps and trudge across that finish line with smiles on our faces and 50,000-word crappy first drafts tucked under our arms. We got this, Wrimos!

Write on!