This week is the worst. You’ll be at the middle of your novel, if you’re lucky (I am usually at the very start of the middle) and here is where things get real. The stuff you’ve spent thousands of words setting up, must now pay off. But you are tired, and washing up, laundry and undone housework is piling up around you. So let’s go.
Day 15. Write the final scene. I’m not kidding. If you don’t do this there is a good chance you’ll never get to it. It doesn’t matter how crummy it is, just sketch it out and add it to your total word count. Well done. You now have an endpoint to aim for.
Day 16. Answer a ton of questions on the Nanowrimo reference desk. Find your area of expertise (mine is Being British) and hammer out replies to non-UK people wanting to know what Brits call High School (round our way, it’s ‘high school’) or how long it takes for a corpse behind the sideboard to really begin to reek. It’s not actually productive, but it feels as if it is. Then write 1667 actual words for your novel.
Day 17. Make a token effort with some domestic stuff. Be clear, however, that this is a one-off and that during Nano your single focus must be your novel. Promise your loved ones/ pets/ academic peers that you’ll be back in December to attend to any pressing matters.
Day 18. Oh boy this is hard. You only have about a week and there is no sign of the end apart from that one scene you did on Day 15. Treat yourself to a preemptive WINNER T shirt now. That’ll get you going. Because now you have to win, right?
Day 19. Just write. Nothing else. Write in five minute bursts. Write in the bathroom on your phone (Who doesn’t already do this anyway? I’d get nothing written at at all if I didn’t). Just write.
Day 20. Join in a write-or-die challenge on the Nanowrimo forums. These are timed challenges with a word count target. Write like fury for the duration and try to meet or break the target. Virtual shout-out to all who succeed. Online back slapping commences. It’s all good.
Day 21. You had better resign yourself to furious typing for the rest of the month because you are probably behind at this stage. Real life has almost certainly demanded time you wanted to use for writing. Do not give up, though. You are so close. Promise yourself one day in the last week when you will have a BIG day – five thousand, ten thousand words, even – and try to get some rest. It is nearly over and if you look at the Nanowrimo forums, you’ll see that you are among the elite of those who have not given up. Well done.