NaNoWriMo Week 3: In Which I Fall Behind

Here I am on Week 3, and I have fallen behind — it’s always my goal to attempt to keep up with my regular writing commitments (journaling, blogging, reviews) while I’m doing NaNoWriMo, but if I have to choose, I choose my novel. November only comes once a year, after all.

This has been a rough week — I’ve been swamped with freelance work and stealing 45 minutes a day to novel anyway. That’s why my usual Monday blog post is appearing on … Thursday!

phases of novel writing


The above is a slide from the NaNoWriMo presentation I gave at two libraries at the beginning of the month. It’s to prepare novelists for the fact that almost EVERY person writing a novel feels like giving up in the middle. The beginner’s energy has worn out, and you realize you’ve actually got to get some sort of plot going … and then you have to resolve it. There’s a lot of pressure and confusion and, yes, despair, in the middle of a novel.

I also included the slide to let folks who have found themselves giving up on novels in the middle, or starting multiple novels never to finish any, know that the desire to give up in the middle is normal. Professional and amateur writers alike encounter it.

I encountered it last week and at the beginning of this week.

I very seriously considered giving up during that time, especially at the beginning of this week when I was overwhelmed with a work project. I mean, nothing horrible will happen if I don’t finish my novel, right?

There are two reasons I kept going.

  1. The “sunk cost” fallacy – the idea that I’ve already invested half a month and thousands of words in this thing, and that would somehow all be “wasted” if I gave up now; and
  2. I knew that if I didn’t finish this novel now, I probably never will. (My incomplete novel abandoned at 50,000 words back in 2011 still haunts me.)

This is the roughest novel I’ve ever written. It’s a mess and feels aimless. It’s full of info dumps and way too many descriptions of cold weather. I wander around in the dark during my writing sessions hoping that I’ll bump into something resembling a plot development. The moments of inspiration in the shower end up being good for only 400 words. And every day I have to do it again.

But I’m going to finish because I’m beginning to get a vision for what this novel could be once it’s revised. I’ve never written anything this rough before, but I’m a damn good editor and I think I can make even this pile of words sparkle like the snow and ice that permeates the setting (it’s a retelling of “The Snow Queen.”)

And then, in the last couple days, something wonderful happened —

My attitude shifted, and I realized it was because I had arrived at “The End is In Sight!”

It is not far to “You Made It!”

Write on, fellow novelers.