In the NaNoWriMo Trenches: Your Mid-Month Guide for Survival

Pen Friends–

Today is the day when I planned to give you a really practical middle-of-NaNoWriMo pep talk, full of tips on how to push through to the end (whether you’re aiming for 50,000 words this month, or doing something else entirely).


But I’m finding myself in a place where I’m not sure how much that will help, or what I can tell you that you might not already know.

Here’s what I do know, and I hope it will encourage you on your journey, whatever that may be:


Your story matters. It needs to be told.

It’s that simple. And that complex.

Every time you sit down at your computer, or with your pen and paper, or if you’re fancy, at your vintage typewriter, remember this: the story that’s burning inside of you is there for a reason. It matters. Even if you’re the only person who ever reads it. Even if it’s only your best friend or your mom or the school bully when he or she steals your notebook who reads it–those words that only you can write, that story only you can tell, matters.


Our words can bring LIFE.

The world is a weird place. There’s a lot of darkness and anxiety and fear. If you think back through your own life, and you remember the stories you’ve read and been a part of, I’m willing to bet that the best ones are the kind that gave you hope–or sometimes, the kind that left you desperate for hope and caused you to go seek it out.

This is precisely why our stories matter.


Don’t give up.

And therein lies my advice as we turn the corner toward the second half of November: Don’t. Give. Up.

You’ll come to a place (if you haven’t already) where the words have dried up. Maybe you’re really far behind on your word count (like I am right now!), and you’re not sure you’ll meet your goal. Maybe you’re feeling like all of your words are trash. I’ve been there.

The key is to keep pressing forward. So what if you only write 200 words today? It’s still 200 more than you had yesterday.

So what if you feel like those 200 words you wrote are the worst mankind has ever seen? (I can pretty much guarantee you they aren’t.) They still exist, and you can fix them in December. You can’t edit a blank page, now, can you?

Keep writing. Tell your story. I promise you won’t regret doing it.



To help you on your journey, here are a couple little things that have worked for me when I was ready to quit.

  1. Don’t delete–editing is for December. If you write something you absolutely hate and can’t get rid of fast enough, don’t hit that delete key. Instead, change the font color to white, and *POOF!* It will disappear from sight without hurting your word count. This is my personal favorite magic trick. Plus, you never know–you might find some words you almost threw away will come in handy when you edit later.
  2. Stick with your tribe. Few things are as motivating or encouraging as creating with other creatives. Get with some friends who are writing or painting or composing and set up shop in a shared space, like a coffee shop or someone’s living room, and create in community. Give each other challenges to get a certain amount done within a timeframe, then celebrate your victories with cupcakes.


Now who’s ready to get back out there and finish the month strong? I am. I hope you are, too. Shout it out in the comments if you need some encouragement or motivation, and we’ll join you in the trenches.

Oh, and speaking of celebrations: I almost forgot to announce the winner of our #SPFirstLines drawing from my last post! Congratulations to jelindsay! Email me at thespinningpen @ with your mailing address to claim your sweet treat. Thanks to everyone for playing! 


author-dana-blackDana, signing off to get her NaNo word count back up!

Image created via Retype

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