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The Emotional Phases of NaNoWriMo


Week One

Everything is fresh, new, and exciting! You're well on your way to writing 50,000 words in a month and you know you can do it.

Conversely, you may have no idea what you're writing about, and it's day one, and you have to get 1,667 words today or you'll be behind. Better start chugging that coffee now.

Whether you start with something planned or not, a few days in, you start to get a sense of how this November may go for you. It sets the tone for the rest of the month, and it's very hard to break.

My week one this year consisted of printing out 50 pages of previous work I hadn't revisited in at least a year.
At one point, I start to panic that I won't get caught up to my outlining post-draft so I begin to write a water cooler conversation, at the time factory... because I know it exists.

Week Two

This is the week that many people really hit their groove. You've invented some cool characters that you love or love to hate. You've got a plot that's really going somewhere.

You think to yourself that you could even come out of this with a salvageable first draft, and maybe you'll be a published author! Heck, even a best-seller. You're on top of the world.

Alternatively, you haven't made much progress at all, and life has been really getting in the way, but you vow to yourself that you will catch up. There's extra time over the Thanksgiving holiday after all. (You're firmly in denial that things like family dinners and Christmas preparation will take any time).

Either way, you decide to grab some more coffee and keep plugging along. You're a writer, after all. It's what you do.

Week Three

Everything is TERRIBLE.

You have begun to completely despise your protagonist, and you've decided that your entire plot is garbage. You are ahead in your word count, but you ask yourself what is the point? Everything needs to be thrown out anyway. You'll maybe keep three pages of this. You'll never become a published author, and maybe you should just quit.

A few days later, you hit a breakthrough in the major plot-line of your novel that saves everything. Suddenly, you love your protagonist and vow that not only will you finish this novel, there will be a trilogy!

Conversely, you're stuck staring at an official word count of a measly few thousand words (spoiler: this is me this year). But despite this, you resolve to keep writing. You know that there's not a rat's chance you'll finish the 50,000 words in November, but you tell yourself that your plot has promise and that the story is worth continuing. You give yourself a pep talk, and have another cup of coffee.

Week Four

You're on the home stretch! Regardless of word count, at this point you're generally feeling pretty good. You recognize the work that you've put in, and acknowledge that you did your best. You know that you're on the final stretch, and you get as many more words in as you can, even if it's sort of cheating and writing blogs about trying to write a book... instead of writing the thing itself.

You resolve to keep writing year 'round, and not wait until next November to pick up your work again. You say to yourself that this year will be the year that you keep writing come December first.

And you have a cup of tea, because you're finally coming to terms with your coffee problem.

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