My fellow Wrimos, November ends very soon. There are mere days left in NaNoWriMo.
Some of you are still typing away, frantically trying to reach your writing goals and I am right there with you, trying to get as many words down between now and then to get there (at this exact moment, I am 21,957 away from my target so it’s going to be a busy week!).
In the end, it doesn’t really matter how many words you write, what matters is that every word you get done between now and the end of this month is a triumph and one you did not have before. NaNoWriMo is really about setting a goal and sticking with it, making steady and real progress on your writing goals no matter what your final word count is. Target or not, anyone who’s still writing is a winner to me!
A few years ago, when I was working for CBS News in NYC, I worked the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. What the version you see on TV doesn’t really give you a sense of is the absolute mass of humanity crammed into those streets, a seemingly impossible amount of people all shouting and laughing and existing in a roar. As I was working, I kept worrying about whether I’d be able to get home in time because there were A LOT of people standing between me and turkey with the family back in Jersey.
When the last float passed and it was time to leave, I was expecting to have to battle my way back home through that crowd but, instead, I found myself walking empty streets. I was the only person on the subway platform, which I couldn’t remember ever happening before. It was almost creepy.
All those people, all that noise, all the pomp and celebration and spectacle and it’d somehow all disappeared almost instantly. In a minute, everyone had scurried back to their normal lives as if the parade had never happened.
The end of NaNoWriMo feels just like this. For a 30 days (and even more before that), it’s this build up, this din of writerly chatter, this grand celebration of the art of words. It’s this vibrant, noisy community and it feels so big, so colorful that, surely, it’s effects will last long after the last word is written. But, instead, the calendar flips over to December first and the forums fall quiet and we’re each of us writing alone again.
What I want to make sure you understand as we head into these last few days is that NaNoWriMo is something very special and as big and loud as it feels in your life right now, it will disappear impossibly quickly and you’ll slide right back into your normal life before you know it. So, use this time, this energy, this community. Use it now while you have it and make as much progress on your goals as you can now because it’s hard to motivate on your own, hard to inject writing in your everyday life when there’s no one making it feel urgent.
So, whether you passed 50,000 words already or think you are so far away from it you can’t possibly reach it by the end of the month, the greatest gift you can give yourself right now is to keep writing. Celebrate NaNoWriMo up until the very end the best way you can: by reaching for your goals, by writing that story you set out to write and by bringing more words into the world while the magic holds because it’s almost out and you’ll be going it alone again.
We have only a few days left of this thing and then you can rest and bake cookies and shop and watch cheesy movies and whatever else is calling to you but you set this month aside for writing and, believe me, when you are on the other side of November, you will regret not using this momentum while you had it.
You’re almost there! Let’s see this thing through together!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, those last 21,957 words aren’t going to write themselves…