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You're in the home stretch now
Eleven days till the end of NaNo. How ya doin, pal?
warning: flashing gif at the end
At this point in the process, if you’ve been diligently hitting your daily word count, you’re probably pretty tired. Maybe your wrists hurt. Maybe you have a headache from drinking too much coffee and not enough water. (Drink some water! Hydration is important!) Maybe you’ve hit a wall, or want to give up. Maybe your characters feel flat and the story feels silly and you’re wondering why you’re doing this.
If you are in this place, this is where I come in to say: you are doing great. It’s OK to want to quit, to feel like this isn’t worth pursuing. Like any creative endeavor, it’s absolutely worth pursuing: any promise you make to yourself deserves to be kept. And since we’re entering the home stretch and also a major American holiday, success—hitting fifty thousand words— will hinge on whether or not you can manage your time well and keep yourself going.
So maybe today, take stock of where you are: what’s your word count? Do you have a cushion? Is there a way to give yourself a cushion so that you don’t have to plan on doing any writing on Thanksgiving? Are you able to block out extra time on the day after Thanksgiving to write more, to make up for it?
Take stock of your surroundings, too. Is your writing area clean? Do you have a collection of old coffee mugs growing new life in them around you? Clean up your area as best you can and take the dishes to the sink (or the dishwasher, if you are some kind of emperor.)
Take stock of your body. Are you stiff? How’s your posture? I cannot say it enough: go drink some water. Maybe go outside, and take a stroll down to a park if there’s one nearby. If you’re in New York it’s a beautiful day today, and it’s finally starting to feel suitably autumnal, so it’s a perfect day to amble about and think about your story.
Speaking of your story, now might be a good point to reread some of it — crucially, not all of it (because that would take too long.) But maybe go back ten or fifteen pages and see where you are in the story. What’s working? Is there a scene you’ve been putting off writing? Decide today to either write it or leave it out; if you’ve put it off this long, chances are you don’t need it in the first place. Is there a scene you’ve been saving for a particularly difficult day? Write that scene today, as a reward for having made it this far.
This week, Becca and I wrote up some tips for what happens next—after you’ve hit fifty k, after you’ve celebrated and put your banner up on social media and bragged to all your friends and family, and it’s time to turn the words you made during NaNoWriMo into a novel. It’s been really fun putting together this material for you, and I’d love to hear if you’d like to see this kind of thing more often—downloadable resources, targeted themed months, things like that.
Maybe you haven’t started NaNoWriMo, and aren’t interested in doing it this year. That’s OK—like I said in Week 1, it’s a pretty bonkers endeavor, and writing a novel NOT in a compressed time frame is already a pretty daunting undertaking. But if it’s something you’d like to try, you still have eleven days left. Maybe that’s not enough to hit fifty thousand words, but it’s enough to get something down. And something is better than nothing! Maybe you won’t NaNo, but if you start today and write 1500 words a day till the end of the year, you’ll have a novel by 2022. And that’s neat.
As I said above, no newsletter next week! Becca and I might do one last live as a wrapup to the month, but Becca has an extremely delicious-looking Thanksgiving menu to put together, so I predict she’ll be busy!
THIS WEEK IN HOCKEY
As of Thursday night, the Capitals were the only team in the league to be yet to receive a fighting major, which I think is pretty special, considering how Tom Wilson lives absolutely rent-free in the heads of half the NHL. And in signs we truly are in the most deranged timeline, the group that owns the Pittsburgh Penguins is on the brink of selling the team—to the group that owns the BRUINS. This feels truly accursèd and also something that delights me, because I know it will make Crosby sulk, and after Crosby suplexed Martin Fehervary into the boards in a blatantly dirty move that (of course) received no discipline, I want him to suffer.
Please stop closing forums and moving people to Discord by Luke Plunkett (Kotaku)
But I simply do not care, because a) I don’t work for these companies, and b) I’m more interested in looking at the long-term damage this is doing to the internet. Forums and Discord are apples and oranges. Users aren’t being moved from one similar thing to another, they’re being shifted to platforms with fundamentally different ways of approaching discussions.
The Fight of Meghan Markle’s Life by Sofiya Umoja Novel (The Cut)
On October 26, a new report was released that detailed the way in which attacks made by Twitter accounts had fueled harassment and hate aimed at Meghan, the duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, the duke of Sussex. According to analytics service Bot Sentinel, these troll accounts were not bots, just highly coordinated: 83 accounts, with a potential reach of 17 million users, were responsible for 70 percent of the negative and hateful content generated about the couple.
Grandma Does Have A Favorite, And It’s Not Her Adult Child by Jenny Zhang (Gawker)
The study — published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B— used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure 50 grandmothers’ brain functions when they each viewed photos of their grandchild, an unknown child, their adult child, and an unknown adult. The neural snapshots showed that most participants had more activity in brain areas involved with emotional empathy and movement when they were looking at photos of their grandchild.
This has been A Faster No, a dispatch on publishing, writing, books, and beyond. You can support the newsletter here. If you purchase a book from any of the links to Bookshop.org I get a small commission at no cost to you. I am available for developmental editing and editorial assessment services via Reedsy.