The first of November seemed for all the world to be a day like any other.
For me, however, it was anything but. I was on the edge of my seat, writing as fast as I could to get started on National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The challenge I committed to was the same that thousands upon thousands of people across the world also put their minds to.
Fifty thousand words in a single month is no easy feat. It is no secret that you have to be a little mad to commit to something of this magnitude, but I have been successfully completing NaNoWriMo for years. I didn’t think anything could go wrong.
By day sixteen, I knew I needed help, so I went to my local library – Sutherland Council Library, to attend one of the write-ins they had been hosting since the beginning of the month. There I got to meet some great people – and power through a fantastic number of words.
It wasn’t enough.
Fast forward to day twenty-seven and I knew I was in deep trouble. I was over twenty thousand words behind. I had to make a choice – do I give up, call it a month and let myself smoothly sail on through the deadline without another word written? Or do I write twenty thousand in just four days?
On the fateful last night of November, I cracked my sore knuckles, sighed and then submitted my story for a count on the NaNoWriMo website – just over fifty thousand. I did get questions from people, though. How did I manage five thousand in a single day? How did I do that four days in a row?
The short answer is wanting it enough. The long answer – bribery. I had to force myself to achieve mini deadlines, one after the other. I went to a café and ate breakfast – with a salted caramel hot chocolate. After I had finished, I could still smell that chocolatey goodness, taste it on the back of my tongue. I needed more. But I had hardly written a thousand words yet… so I forced myself. Fifteen hundred more later, I was sipping on sweet and satisfying victory.
I was desperate to try out a new game that was running a beta for those who had pre-ordered, yet my word count was dismal, so I forced myself. I powered through some twelve hundred words and got to play my game. The true brilliance of it all was not just in receiving some kind of divine or magical motivation. You have to be in the right place, under the right circumstances, for motivation to materialise. If you’re surrounded by distractions, you can’t write.
It’s no wonder that a library held such motivation for me, too. Every prospective author wants to have their name on those stacks one day, so what better way to motivate yourself? If it hadn’t been for my time spent at my local library at Sutherland, I doubt I would have made it to my goal.
How can YOU write five thousand words in a day? Get in the right space. Surround yourself with the right people (or lack thereof, whatever works). Bribe yourself. Want it enough. There is no magical formula for everyone, but there is a magical formula for you.
So the question you need to answer is… what inspires YOU?