How to Make It to the End of NaNoWriMo

by Lexi Cooper

Here we are, the final week of National Novel Writing Month. The end is so close! You might be asking: How can I make it to the end of NaNoWriMo?

The Beginning vs the End of NaNoWriMo

You may not feel the end is close, however. You may feel like you have so far to go, that you’ve fallen too far behind, that you will never be able to finish this book.

Start Vs End of NaNoWriMo
Start Vs End of NaNoWriMo

Those are all valid feelings. It is important to acknowledge them and recognize them. Likely much has changed about you and your book since November 1st. Back then you were hopeful and excited. You had ideas sprouting from your brain like flowers in spring.

Now you’ve slogged through your novel, enjoying some of it, but struggling with other parts of it. You’ve learned about yourself as a writer. You know what kind of scenes are your favorite to write and what are your least favorite. You’ve learned the best time of day to write. You’ve learned what kind of drink or snack will give you the energy to push forward. You know who your favorite character is and you know what kinds of writing are the hardest for you.

You have learned so much about writing and yourself as a writer in the weeks up until now, more than you ever would have if you didn’t set out on this journey. And you’ve written more words than you would have this month if you hadn’t committed to do this.

Crossing the Finish Line

You can make it to the end of NaNoWriMo
Finishing Your NaNoWriMo

No matter where you are with your goals, you have made progress this month.

Now it is time to dig deep. It is not too late to cross the finish line. Even if you’ve fallen behind, keep writing. Make progress. Don’t give up.

You’ll want to use everything you’ve learned so far to help you cross that finish line.

If you know that dialogue takes you five times longer to write than an action scene, skip the dialogue for now. Be nice to yourself and make finishing easy for yourself.

Write What You Love

Write your favorite things
Just Write the Things You Love

Remember to write the things you love. If description is your favorite, describe the setting and characters until you are blue in the face (okay, maybe don’t go that far). Put your favorite character in as many scenes as you can. Their presence alone might give you the motivation to write those scenes.

In the novels I’ve finished, the ending has usually been the hardest part. It is tricky to create a thrilling climax and satisfying resolution. I mean how are you supposed to tie this mess of plot threads and characters into a pretty bow? Well, here’s a secret that is really only a secret to those who don’t write: you don’t have to tie it all into a pretty bow, at least not right now.

Things to Remember About First Drafts

Make it to the end of NaNoWriMo
First Drafts are Meant to be Messy

First drafts are messy. Even if you outlined everything before, chances are new ideas crop up while you are writing. First drafts can have new characters that show up out of nowhere or subplots that fade into nothing as the main plot takes over. You can start a draft calling a character one name, and then decide halfway through to call them something else.

The good news is no one has to read this draft but you. So, make it messy. Make it whatever you want. As filmmakers often say, “You can fix it in post,” which means that the mess is for a future version of you to worry about (or in the case of filmmaking, the mess is for the postproduction team to worry about). Read Writers Edit on 7 Things NOT To Worry About During Your First Draft. For now, get it down and try to have fun doing it. Look back at the reasons why you want to write a book. Use those to propel you forward.

You’ve made it this far, which is a huge accomplishment in itself. You can make it to the finish line.

You can do this! (Say it with me.) “I can do this!”

I wish you the best week of writing! Good luck, and don’t forget to celebrate yourself and all you’ve accomplished when December 1st hits.

How to Make it to the end of NaNoWriMo
Make it to the End of NaNoWriMo