Wednesday, November 16, 2016

All the Words // Part #2

When it comes to NaNoWriMo, it can be easy to get distracted by other writers’ word counts. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s difficult to keep from getting jealous of those who are doing better than me. I see people going for the million and succeeding, people who make my writing efforts look first-grade level. That jealousy can transform into full-on discouragement. But NaNoWriMo is supposed to be a positive experience. So here are some tips for combatting envy and word count depression. 

Have fun with the imperfections in your story. Find a plot hole? Have your characters talk it out. Don’t forget to include disparaging comments about your writing abilities, if you are the type of person who likes to laugh at yourself. These scenes might make you smile when you get around to edits, and that’s not a bad thing. 

Block out stuff when it gets to be too much. If you find you can’t mingle well with other authors this month, don’t. Build yourself a safe place and stay there for the entirety of November. If the forums make you feel discontented with your own progress, get off the forums and use that time to write more words. 

Remember that everyone has their own typing speed. We have people who type quickly, and then we have the Slug Club, a forum for people who can’t type as many words per minute. If you can only type 30wmp, don’t compare your progress to those who can do 100wpm or more. You will feel like you’re failing, when you’re not. 

Find your tribe. We have a forum for overachievers. We have a thread for those dealing with chronic illness (and other health issues), those choosing to write their novels by hand, those who plan ahead and those who don’t, those who are writing multiple books at once, those who are NaNo rebels, etc… If you can’t find a thread for your specific need, start your own. Connect with people who understand you. 

Remember that everyone’s head space is different. We have writers with dyslexia, depression, PTSD, OCD, scizophrenia, etc… Learning disabilities and mental illnesses make writing a thousand times more difficult, so it helps to recognize that your starting point may just be further back than others’. This isn’t necessarily a fair race. 

Focus on your work ethic. One thing that helps to keep discouragement at bay is to focus on what you’re doing right. Are you showing up to write every day and putting forth your best effort as much as you can? Then be proud of that, no matter how little you might be managing to drag out of your skull during your times at the computer. Don’t get so hung up on numbers and graphs that you forget to appreciate what you’ve accomplished. 

When all else fails, embrace your competitive side and let the successes of others egg you on. That’s totally what I do. What could possibly go wrong?

What about you, my little coffee beans? What are some ways you avoid discouragement and envy during NaNoWriMo? What are some forums you like to frequent? What are some of your struggles when it comes to drafting novels? 


  1. Yessss this is important. As a writer it's so easy to compare yourself to others and feel like you're behind because you're not doing as well as some people. But we all come from different places and different circumstances, and we're all going to approach writing in different ways. I think when it comes to me personally coping...I actually have to stay off forums and that kind of thing! I bury my head in the sand/my novel for the month and keep my attention focused on the story rather than looking at all the people writing faster around me.

  2. Some great advice :) I agree its very easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others - but only you can write the book of your heart! If other people's word counts are dragging you down, its definitely a good idea to stay away from the internet. Don't make yourself feel guilty before you start writing each day!

  3. I always feel totally drowned by the people that go super fast or just write a LOT whereas I can go fast, but definitely not a lot. *buries self under wishful intentions* I think it's important for writers to focus on their own journeys though! It just gets discouraging if you spend a lot of time comparing. *nods*

  4. I guess this is very likely to happen to me if I do NaNo. People are just so fast. Finishing NaNoWrimo in days? A week? That's dangerous work, y'all.

  5. This is very encouraging, Liz! I'm not a big forum person, but one of my favorite things about NaNo is people from all walks of life coming together to write stories. ^ ^

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