NaNoWriMo: The Week Four Meltdown

We are so near the end of NaNoWriMo now, and as of today I’m officially in panic mode. I’ve currently got 39,852 words (so I’m behind again) and I’ve realised that if possible I need to try and wrap everything up on Saturday. I’m probably going to be out all day Sunday and writing on Monday feels a bit too close to the deadline for me to be comfortable with the idea. That’s okay though, I’m still pretty confident that I can get to 50,000 words in time, that’s not what’s worrying me.

The thing that’s left me feeling completely overwhelmed is my realisation this morning that there is still so much of my story left to write. So, so much. I’ve been aware from the outset that 50,000 words does not a novel make. Most mass market books (and especially first novels) sit in the bracket of 80,000-100,000, so I knew I probably would still have a bit more to write once November had finished, but I didn’t realise it’d be so much. Out of my seventeen planned chapters, I’ve only written three completely. There are four that I haven’t even started on at all, and for the remaining ten I’ve only written one or two scenes for each chapter where I’ve planned to have between three or five. I know this is probably a good thing to have a bigger story at this stage, but it’s all starting to feel just a bit too big and it’s starting to freak me out. I’m a short story writer, I can’t cope with things on this scale! I’ve spent all of today just panicking and not writing anything because I don’t know where to start and there are bits that just don’t make sense, and the thought that I’m going to have to edit this at some point and bring it all together is completely terrifying. HELP!

I am aware that this is all very silly. I know I can still get to 50,000 words, and I’m trying to just focus on that as my goal for now, but I had it in my head that at 50,000 words it’d be ‘done’ and now it seems like there’s still a whole mountain left to climb. (And anyone who knows me and has heard tales of all my holiday adventures will know that I do not cope well with mountains!)

I just need to get on with it, and I know I just need to get on with it but I’m still sitting here writing this instead of trying to get on with it! At the start of the month, 50,000 words and writing a novel seemed to be one and the same thing, but now they’ve separated and it’s a whole new challenge. I know that I can write 50,000 words, but now I don’t have the same certainty that I can write a novel. I guess I’ll just have to try it and see. I have The Fear (which to be honest always happens right before a deadline), but this time The Fear is stifling me a bit instead of spurring me on. I’ll get to 50,000 words by the end of November, and take it from there. But first I’m going to have another cup of tea and some chocolate hob nobs. And maybe watch a few more videos of kittens, and feel sorry for myself a bit more.

See also NaNoWriMo: The Week Three Ramble, What To Do If You Get Stuck During NaNoWriMo, and Ten Things I’ve Learnt From NaNoWriMo So Far.