The Writer's Den

UCLA's creative writing student group


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A mini pep talk for NaNoWriMo

I’ve always wanted to write a NaNo pep talk, so I took the most captive audience I could find and talked about Thanksgiving weekend in an email to our members participating in NaNoWriMo this year:

If you’re behind: your goal for this week/weekend is to either catch up completely or catch up enough so that you feel confident you’ll make it to 50k by the 30th. Remember: your family will be around for Christmas. It’s totally okay for you to ignore them during Thanksgiving weekend if it means catching up on your word count. (But don’t tell them I said that. If they bug you, play the “Why aren’t you supporting my DREAMS? I thought you LOVED me!” card. It works. Hypothetically.)

Be ambitious. Aim high. Write 5,000 words in a single day–believe me when I tell you how exhilarating it feels. Ever spent a day alone with just you and your laptop, completely immersed in your story’s world? If you have the time, try it. But why stop at 5k? Try for 7k, or 8k, or even the almighty 10,000. Revel in the glory of words. Spew them out. Barf your book if you need to. Disconnect the Internet with SelfControl (if you have a Mac) or a free trial of Freedom (Mac/PC ) and get into the zone, that mystical place where you’re in tune with your story, when your fingers are flying over the keyboard, and it feels like the words are pouring out of your head by themselves. Once you’re there, it’s hard to leave…but when you do, you’ll have a much higher word count and some amazing material that you–yes, you–created. So make as much time as you can for writing when you’re home, because this weekend is your last shot at positioning yourself to finish this crazy awesome endeavor.

Never give up! Never surrender!