The NaNoWriMo Epilogue: Miiles To Go Before You Sleep

This post, by Chuck Wendig, originally appeared on his Terribleminds site on 11/30/11.

(Related: “25 Things You Should Know About Your Completed Novel.”)

Maybe you finished — er, excuse me, “won” — your NaNoWriMo novel.

That’s good. You should be beaming. Chest puffed out. Fists on cocked hips. Cheeks ruddy from neighbors and parents pinching them. Your pride is well-earned. Bask in it its triumphant musk.


On the other hand, maybe you didn’t finish — er, excuse me, “you lost” — NaNoWriMo this year.

That’s good, too. I see you there, blustery and stammering — “Buh-buh-buh but how is it good that I didn’t finish what I started? What’s happening? Why is my face numb? Who took my shirt off?”

My message to both of you is the same.

You’re not done.

I know. You want to be done. If you finished, you want to slam it down, freeze-frame high-five yourself, and then go have an egg cream. If you didn’t finish, you want to delete the file, close the drawer, and pretend that none of this shame spiral ever happened. To both of you: bzzt. Wrongo, word-nerds.

You’re not done.

Writing a book is a war. What you just did was experience only one of the many battles in fighting that war: muddy in the trenches, crawling through the ejected blood of your cohorts, the stink of burning ink slithering up your nose like so many grave-worms. Maybe you won this battle. Maybe you lost. But the war goes on, friend-o. The typewriter keeps chattering. The story keeps struggling to be born. The screams of forgotten characters echo (echo echo) across the battlefield.


Read the rest of the post on Terribleminds.