Writing Advice: Keep Going


This weekend, I attended two write-in events for National Novel Writing Month. A write-in is basically a gathering of writers where we do almost nothing but write. This is why it’s so important to find your writing region via the NaNoWriMo website. There are special regions with Municipal Liaisons throughout the world who help facilitate these events for NaNoWriMo participants. My region is in the Chicago suburbs and I’ve been attending events with the writers in these regions for about four years now. People who come to the write-ins are the serious NaNo participants. We want to be on track to win at the end of November, we want to be a part of the community, and we want to win the prizes offered at these write-in events.

Throughout the event, word wars are held and you can get prizes for winning these word wars. What is a word war, you ask? Well, a word war is an agreed upon segment of time during which participants type like crazy people to add words to their novel and beat their fellow writers. The person with the most words when time is up is declared the winner and they get a fun prize. And while the prizes are fun, of course, the real reward for these word wars is that you’ve added so many more words to your finished product. You’ve gotten closer to the final goal of 50,000 words and you’ve (hopefully) advanced your characters through your story.

Each write-in that I’ve been to has been about three hours on average. During those three hours, all I do is stare at my computer screen and write like a mad person. In between, there is some friendly chatter, but mostly we’re all about the writing at these events. And though you’re sitting the entire time and basically only moving your fingers across the keyboard, writing for three hours straight is tiring.

Since I attended two write-ins this weekend, that means I spent six hours out of the forty-eight hours you get in a typical weekend working on writing. That’s amazing to me and that’s what November is all about. But by the end of that second three-hour interval, I was beginning to feel discouraged. I was getting a headache, my arms were tired, and my back hurt from hunching over my keyboard. I’d already won my little prize, what more did I need to do?

Folks, I’m proud to tell you that I pushed that bad attitude aside and kept on writing. As a result, I am now 8,000 words ahead of where I should be at this stage of NaNoWriMo. That means I get to slack off for a few days!

The moral of this story and the reason I’m telling it to you is that the drive to keep going pays off in the end. If you’re stuck at an odd moment in your story, keep going and it will resolve itself. If you’re feeling tired, but know that you have a few more good paragraphs in you, just keep going. Keep going and eventually you’ll reach the end of your story.

Then it’s time for editing!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


6 thoughts on “Writing Advice: Keep Going

  1. Yvonne Zipter November 19, 2012 / 10:13 am

    Love the word wars concept! I can’t wait till next year, when I hope to be more on top of things and get my act together in time for NaNoWriMo. Good luck with your novel!

    • Editor November 19, 2012 / 6:14 pm

      Thanks for your kind words! I hope you’re able to participate in the crazy experiment that is NaNoWriMo next year. 🙂

      • Yvonne Zipter November 21, 2012 / 9:20 am

        I just need to figure out something to write that’s NOT a historical novel: that just takes way too many research materials to make participating in a write-in feasible. But I’ve got a year to think about it. 🙂

      • Editor November 21, 2012 / 5:04 pm

        Ah, very true. Or, if you’re going to write something like an historical novel, start researching in August! 😛 Indeed — that’s the good part of finding out about NaNo right now, you have a whole year to ponder and brainstorm.

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