I managed to cross that magical 50,000-word mark last night at my solitary write-in. This is the second year in a row I’ve hit 50k while writing solo in a coffee shop surrounded by strangers. It’s an odd feeling: accomplishment mingled with melancholy.
This year, I was actually planning on having at least one writing friend with me, but dear Lee Horne somehow managed to smack her head against one of the flat-panel televisions bolted to the walls in the cafeteria where we work yesterday afternoon. Thus, her head injury precluded her from making it to the write-in. I’m still waiting for her explanation as to how exactly she managed to accomplish this feat, which left her with a sizeable lump, when the televisions are in decidedly hard-to-run-into locations. Alas, she has been rather vague on the details.
Nonetheless, I’m choosing to focus on the feelings of “Hey, I just wrote 50,000 words in 18 days!” instead of the wimpy, bemoaning, annoying thoughts of “Woe is me; being a writer is so lonely.” After all, I’ve still got 30 percent of my novel to write after tonight to hit my personal goal of 75,000 words.
Anyway, just wanted to give a quick Week 3 update and to say to my friends who are still striving for that 50,000-mark (or even for the 25,000-mark), DO NOT LOSE HEART. Do not be afraid that you are writing drivel. You undoubtedly have indeed written some. That’s OK. Because you’ve also written things that have much potential. The key here, especially during the month of November, is simply to write. The goal is not to change the world, or to write the next Great American Novel, or to land an agent or a book deal, or even to write a completely coherent story. The idea, once again, is to write.
If you are doing that, no matter what your word count is on Nov. 30, you win. You have thousands of words more than you did at the beginning of the month, and you can add thousands more if you simply allow yourself the freedom to write without boundaries or rules or expectations. Just write. One word after the other (even if the perfect word is elusive, just pick one–or several–that are close enough; perfection can come later). That’s all it takes. Words, strung together, possibly with some punctuation thrown in (though I can think of a couple of authors who have had much success without even that). Just keep going. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far, and let it give you hope for what you still have left in you.