[Howard] This is a Writing Excuses bonus episode!
It's confession time. I'm Howard Tayler, and I've never written a NaNoWriMo novel. But I'm here to give you a peptalk towards finishing yours. You might be asking yourself, "What could possibly qualify me to address you on this matter?" Like most motivational speakers, I'm not going to answer that question.
But consider this. It's Black Friday, and if you're anything like me, you've spent the last couple of days on vacation. I got so little work done that I forgot what day it was! I was supposed to record this mini episode on Monday or Tuesday. But then Wednesday hit, and now suddenly it's Friday and BAM! The deadline has passed.
In eight days, your NaNoWriMo deadline will have passed. Eight days! It's possible... It's likely that some of you are looking at your word count and stressing about the math. You only need 1700-ish words per day for NaNo, provided you write at least 1700-ish words per day every day all month.
But by now, some of you may need three, four, or 5000 words per day to finish. Let me qualify that. You may need those obscene word counts to finish on time.
Does that mean that on December first, you need to stop writing? Is your novel a lesser work of fiction for having been completed in January?
Let's turn the question around. What kind of author only writes novels 30 days out of the year? Hum...
NaNo is good practice and great motivation, but if you've gotten discouraged by the word count, change the rules of the game. Pretend that December 1 is an editor's deadline, and that if you miss it, you will need to apologize to the editor. Then show her what you have written. Then she'll ask you to estimate when you might perhaps be done. You can say, "Well, I got 28,000 words done this month, and pushed a good 9000 words out during the last week. Based on where I am in the outline, I need another 60,000 words to finish. So I think I can have a first draft to you by the end of January." That right there? That's how real-world creative deadlines often work.
I know. I miss them all the time. Yes, I've left some money on the table here and there, but I never stopped creating just because I don't think I can finish in time.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to write about 20,000 words between now and December 1, and I've also got three weeks worth of comics to write and illustrate during that same time. Can I do it? I don't know.
But I'm not going to stress over the math.