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!


What do you mean it’s November 15th?!?!?!

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Hello, LA WriMos! How are the most fabulous, glamorous wordsmiths in the WriVerse?

Yes, I DID just make that up!

I cannot believe today marks the halfway point for NaNoWriMo 2016?!?! I will choose NOT to freak out…much!

If we follow the rules, then our NaNoWriMo counters should be at 25,005. I don’t know about you, but I am barely squeaking by! I keep reminding myself to think like those glass half full people: I am not lamenting the 15 writing days that are gone but rather looking forward to the 15 writing days that remain.

Glass Half Full

For those who are at or past the targeted word counts, congratulations!! Keep doing whatever you are doing because it obviously working! For those who are not there yet, I will remind you of one line from Mia’s letter last week: “You will.”

At first glance, these two words could easily be dismissed as mere platitude. They are so much more, my fellow WriMos. They are a positive, affirming call to action whether you are on-target or so far behind it may as well be November 1st.

It doesn’t matter because, “You will.”

You will…
…be positive
…write daily
…not edit
…stay focused
…and not quit.

You will…
…surrender to the creative process
…allow your muse(s) free reign
…push the words out of your mind
onto the page
and into the world.

You. Will. Finish.

Each and every person who has won NaNoWriMo in the past or will win it in future did so the exact same way: one word at a time. We believe in you. Now, believe in yourself and go write some words.

Remember: All words count in November. (Case in point: I MAY be copy/pasting this letter into my Scrivener. Don’t judge me! It’s like 330 words!!)

Write On,



Addressing the Dreaded Week 2 Slump

Hi Wrimos,

I hear you. I see you. Despairing, worrying, exclaiming that your work or your words are not good enough.

This week is possibly the hardest week of NaNo. The shine as worn off your new story idea, the fun introductory scenes already written, and now you’re here. Stuck. Less than 10 days in and you have nowhere to go, bored with the story you’ve created so far and fearful that you won’t get to 50K.

You will. The blessing of this week is that you’ve realized, if you haven’t done NaNo before, that 50K is a lot of words. A LOT. Not an easy number to get to. If you’re a seasoned pro, maybe the word count isn’t what scaring you, but the lack of fire in your story, the flame has puttered away against the gusts of doubt.

Well put up a wind breaker, because you need to make some fire.

Make your character have to complete a task or challenge in a limited amount of time. Write paragraphs of background story, on how their mother loves cranberry bread or how they used to create snow fortresses with their now dead cousin. Explain, in painful detail, on how to make a potion that cures a hacking cough a minor character has had for two chapters.

Forget the finished product. Forget the second draft, the third draft, the ending, the editing, the publishing. Forget all of that and focus on the challenge: 50K. One Month.

Here are some writing prompts to get you thinking:

  1. Actions speak louder than words. If your characters couldn’t talk, what would they do?
  2. Overwhelm your protagonist with more than she can handle.
  3. A change of scenery can do wonders. Take your protagonist somewhere new.
  4. Let your protagonist succeed at something through pure dumb luck. Just make sure the pendulum swings both ways.  
  5. You thought that was the enemy? Nope. The real danger lies ahead.

Push through this week. Don’t give up. Keep writing, and your main character will surprise you. I know mine did.


Mia (@miercatz)