Pep Talk from Chris Angotti

Before you read any more of this pep talk, I invite you to go take a look at my word count.

There it is, clear as day on that danged stats page: 32,354.

It’s respectable, I think. I’ve dedicated a good number of hours this month to writing my novel, and I’ve had a lot of fun discovering the particularities of a brand-new genre. But according to those very objective numbers, I likely won’t be able to finish by November 30.

Cue fire, brimstone, and the Four Guilt Monkeys of the Apocalypse, right? Or maybe not.

Here at NaNoWriMo, we always want you to hit your 50,000-word goal. But we’re also fellow humans who empathize with the many, many reasons that might not have been realistic for you this month. We know that not every November works for every writer.

As a creative person (and we know you’re one; you signed up for this challenge, after all), you’re always going to have times that don’t quite work. It may be a few hours, or it may be days, weeks, months. The unlucky among us may find ourselves stymied for years. But the length of time doesn’t especially matter. What matters is the spark we all have in common: that inextinguishable desire to make stuff. Active or not, 50,000 words or not, it’s always going to be there.

So, two things:

1. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not going to win this time around. Trust that you’ll do more—and make something equally great—in the months to come. (May we recommend Camp NaNoWriMo next April and July?)

2. Don’t stop writing. Note your own current word count, and plan a personal goal for the end of November. Think about what’s really going to work for you. If it’s still 1,667 words per day, sweet. But an equal thumbs-up if it’s closer to 300, or even less. As long as you’re creating, you’re doing the right thing.

I’ll still try my best to reach 50,000, and I certainly encourage you to do the same if it’s in sight. (Or even if it’s not; everybody loves a come-from-behind underdog story, and they are legion around here.) But if I end at less, I’ll still have had a successful month. Just like you have, regardless of your final word count.

Thanks for making stuff with us this November.

Chris Angotti

Read more author pep talks.