Many of my readers are heading into their second week of NaNoWriMo. For some, keeping up with the word count is easy like sunday morning, while others have fallen already behind. Some, however, are also considering to give up the fight, knowing they will never reach those 50.000 words within a month. They look at what they have written and whisper: “this can’t go anywhere. How am I supposed to finish this?”. Then, they stare at their word count, wondering how they will make the average of 1.667 words a day. With a frown on their face, they close their document or throw their papers around the room. They have given up.
If you are one of those people, I salute you and congratulate you on the balls to just screw it. However, I urge you to write on. Does that sound like a paradox? Well, here me out.
Yesterday, a good Danish friend linked me a rather preachy post from Reddit. One of the Redditors was having a bad day and was in dire need of some motivational words. The top reply is one bloated piece of motivational therapy, but there’s a concept in there that is worth elaborating on: the zero day. Essentially, a zero day is a day where you have done nothing to work towards your goal in life: you haven’t done a single push-up, haven’t made a single sketch…or haven’t written a single word. Redditor ryans01 points out that, from now on, you should have no more zero days. It’s 11:58 PM and you haven’t done shit? Make a really quick sketch, do a quick push-up or write one silly sentence. That will be something, that will be more than nothing, and that will push you someday towards your goal.
Yeah, I admit, it sounds silly. How am I ever gonna finish that novel when I just write a sentence a day? Well, let me counter that question: how will you ever finish it when you don’t write anything? After all, progress is a slow process. “Great Expectations” wasn’t written in a day, and neither will your novel be written in a month.
So, dear readers, when you find yourself working through that dream project of yours and notice you can’t handle the load given to you (like, for example, those 1.667 words per day for NaNoWriMo), take a deep breath and a step back. Write slower. Don’t go crazy about those fifty-thousand words. But whatever you do: keep writing.
You might not win NaNoWriMo, but you will be victorious. You will have beaten yourself and your laziness.
No more zero days.
Go get ’em, tigers!