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Participant Pep Talk from Katie R.

​So you want to write a novel. It’s a complicated, labor-intensive, ridiculously difficult endeavor. It’s not going to be easy. The words won’t always come easy. You may write yourself into a corner and need to go back. It would be easier to just quit. Just give up now, and that would be the end of it.

But if you quit now, your story will never be told. Your talent will never be showcased. One way to make it easier is to create a schedule and get into a writing habit. By writing every day, you will find it easier to write more, your story will be better, and you will enjoy writing more.

With the lockdowns all around the world, this is hardly a normal time. However, with your newfound bonus time at home, you can create a new schedule and incorporate writing into your daily routine. Set aside 20 minutes a day to work on your story. Maybe you do it after lunch, or as soon as you wake up, or right before you’re going to bed. By making it a habit, you will remember to write every day, and when you sit down to put pen to paper, the words will flow easier. You’ll know exactly where you want to go.

Writing a novel can feel like a Sisyphean task sometimes. No matter how far you go, you always feel like there’s more. New lore, new conflicts, new characters, new quests. No matter what you do, it feels like you’ll never reach the end. But you can. You will. I believe you can, and the whole NaNoWriMo community believes you can. We’re all cheering you on, we’ve all got your back. But if you don’t go for it, no amount of well-wishing and cheering you on will ever complete your novel. Go for it. Reach as far as you can. Push yourself. Write the next chapter. Develop that new character. Draw the map.

You are setting out to accomplish something few humans in history have ever accomplished, and you’re doing it on a time frame even fewer have attempted. It’s a challenge, to be sure, but the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you’re done is astronomical. It’s a lot of work, but you’ll appreciate it when you’re done. The fans of your book will appreciate the seemingly infinite amount of lore and tie-ins to your story. It will feel more complete. You haven’t just told a story, you have created a universe.

Katie R. was born in November in 2002. She has been making up stories her entire life, and wrote her first book in kindergarten. She has been writing ever since. Her hobbies include writing (she has published two novels and a short story), travel (she has been to 43 US states and two countries, spending weeks away from home most summers) and theater (she has performed in several shows, including Radium Girls and The Metamorphoses). She lives in Virginia.  

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