Panic… just breathe.
It’s hard as the anxiety builds up. NaNoWriMo is here. Well, it will be at midnight and that means it will be time to write. A month long of writing, which whatever goal you may have. Yes, NaNoWriMo has a specific goal of 50,000 word, but your goal should be personal. That said said having a goal in mind is only the beginning of the journey.
This will be my third year participating in NaNoWriMo. I had first heard of NaNoWriMo when I was roughly 13 and I wrote Harry Potter Fanfiction. At the time 50,000 words sounded like a nightmare. Far too many words. Instead, I stuck to my fanfiction and hoped to come back to NaNoWriMo in the future, when it didn’t seem so daunting. Then I forgot about it.
Then in 2012, I remembered. I was scared. I’d finished college, but it was still terrifying. There were too many words. Such large expectations. I had no idea how I was going to manage it. I had committed though, so no matter what, It was going to happen. And I did it. In fact, I managed to finish my first year in the 112k word range. it was spectacular and it made me excited. I’d done it. Not only had a finished the foal, but I finished a novel and started another.
Just because I have 2 previous successes under my belt doesn’t mean that I’m not nervous. There is a current running through my body filled with fear and the assumption that I’m going to fail. I mean just because I’ve managed to write 8 novels in the two years I’ve been writing, that doesn’t mean that I will succeed at writing another. Things could go entirely wrong, but I’m keeping hope that this will be another successful year.
So I stay calm. Whenever that tight feeling balls up in my chest, telling me I should give up while I’m ahead rather than end up a failure, I do my best to relax. I breathe.
NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. I’m sure it will be a fun month as I ride the high of the first week. Then I’ll settle in during the second week. When the third week hits, I’ll be comfortable, but physically exhausted. When the fourth week finally roles around, I won’t really know exactly what is going on. By then I’m going on autopilot, wanting to quit, but seeing the end so close that I hold off. I’ll tell myself that I’ve already reached the NaNoWriMo goal, so logically I could stop, but I wouldn’t have reached my goal. I have to keep going. As those last days roll through I’m writing only because it’ll be over soon and I’ll be happier if I can say that I wrote every day for the month and produced a novel and a third. It’ll feel good.
So here’s what I have to say to all those newbies, or the old heads who are ready for the daunting task before them. Enjoy yourself.
You are writing because this may be finally fulfilling a dream. It may be the book you’ve always wanted to write. It may be you trying your hand at something new. 50,000 words can seem like a lot, but it’s not. It’s an opportunity for you to enjoy writing. So have fun with it.