Writing: NaNoWriMo, The Fourth Week

“You need three things to become a successful novelist: talent, luck and discipline. Discipline is the one element of those three things that you can control, and so that is the one that you have to focus on controlling, and you just have to hope and trust in the other two.” “• Michael Chabon

As I sit down to write this check in, there are six days left in November, which means there are only 6 writing days left in NaNoWriMo. I hope that this does not induce any hair pulling, cloth tearing, or gnashing of teeth when those words are read. 6 days left is still six days to write.

According the calendars, as of the 25th, your word count should be around 41,667 if you’ve stuck to the standard daily goal of 1,667, which will easily sail you into 50,000 territory on the 30th. I’ve been lucky or bullheaded enough to have churned out some decently high numbers, particularly at write-ins, and I’m sitting at a comfortable 41,950 on the 24th, despite the fact that I haven’t written a word in my novel for 2 days. I can’t afford to let that drag out to a third leisurely day of cooking (and then consuming) gargantuan amounts of food. I am nothing if not inherently lazy, so any break in my forward momentum tends to become an outright retirement from action. I’ll be back at the desk tomorrow and I have two write-ins to host before the end of the month, so I feel pretty confident that I’ll hit the goal. Whether or not I will have finished the novel ““ well, that’s something else all together.

It is common and tempting for NaNo-ers to throw in the towel before the 30th because of a low word count or general exhaustion with the entire process. Life doesn’t stop during November. The actual process of writing a novel is a lot less romantic than the idea of being a writer. It’s easy, in daydreams of being a Successful Novelist, to overlook the sweat that it takes to get to that place. But the work that you’re doing now, in this concentrated form, is the same work that Stephen King or Agatha Christie or Raymond Chandler had to do to get their books out of their heads and into someone’s hands. Take heart that you’re traveling the same path as your favorite writer, whoever that may be. Keep it in mind as you sweat through these last few days, whether you reach the finishers circle or not and just keep with it.

As always, I want to hear how you’re doing ““ how’s your word count? How are you?

I’ll have one more NaNo post for next Friday, for a final check in.

Bonus Tracks: Actual, tangible novels that began life as a NaNoWriMo project.

By [E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

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