Hundreds of thousands of writers are in the middle of National Novel Writing Month, or what is affectionately known as NaNoWriMo—where writers have signed up with the goal of completing a novel draft of 50,000 words.
If you are among the participants—or if you decided to tackle a nonfiction project during the same month, tapping into the resources and momentum of NaNoWriMo—you’re heading toward the middle of the month and, presumably, the middle of your project’s draft.
The middle is hard. A lot of people stop in the middle of things.
How were you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions back in July?
How about some hobby or craft you started but stopped about halfway through, that’s boxed up in the garage or basement?
The halfway point is critical, because you know what it took to get to that point, so you know you need at least that much effort to finish.
It can feel overwhelming.
It’s easier to just stop and shelve the project. Click save. Say you’ll come back to it someday, but you know you probably won’t.
Some people have trouble just getting started.
Some people have trouble finishing.
When you’re stuck in the middle, you have to keep pushing through the middle. Keep the pen moving or, you know, the fingers tapping.
If you’re in the middle of a project now, or you’re envisioning some of the half-finished drafts of poems, articles, essays, or novels, sitting on your hard drive, open a file today. Open the current project or dig into your archives.
If you’re halfway through—if you’re stuck in the middle—you can begin again. You can finish.
On Saturdays I post a writing quote—something to encourage you along the way. This past Saturday’s quote came from Ausonius.
Begin, for half the deed is in beginning;
Begin the other half, and you will finish.
Begin the other half, friends. Begin—keep going—and you will finish.
Ideas from this episode:
- The middle is hard; it’s where a lot of people stop.
- NaNoWriMo participants are about halfway through their projects, and they can celebrate their progress; everyone should celebrate their progress if they made it to the middle.
- If you’re halfway through any writing project, begin again—by beginning again, you will finish.
- Write in the Middle of Everyday Distractions: 7 Strategies for Getting Back on Track
- Write in the Middle: Yes, You Can Maximize Distraction-Free Writing
- Write in the Middle of Chaos
- NaNoWriMo stats
- How the Cuckoo Found Its Voice
- #1: Just Get Started (podcast)
- #14: Progress, Not Perfection (podcast)
- #21 One Thing Every Writer Needs to Succeed (podcast)
- Writing Quote – Begin, for half the deed is in beginning
* * *
Book Discussion – The Art of Memoir
Do you read or write memoir? If so, you’ll enjoy the book discussion of Mary Karr’s recent release The Art of Memoir. On Saturday, I launched with questions about the preface, and on Tuesday we’ll dive into the first three chapters.
Join the conversation Tuesdays at my Facebook page: