-- more form my email because I do so like Chris's style ---
Well, it's Week Four. And our Employment Outreach Team has been working
overtime to finalize a series of important deals on your behalf. The
negotiations with your employer have been tough, but we stuck to our guns,
and managed to secure some exciting workplace rights to help you through
these crucial final days.
Here's the deal: In exchange for a cursory, non-derisive mention in your
book's acknowledgements section, your boss has agreed that
1) From now until December 1, you may devote all on-the-job hours not
otherwise occupied by lunch breaks, coffee runs, or social emailing to
working on your novel. Should your boss teasingly suggest that you put away
your writing and spend some time actually "working," just laugh and wink.
This is just his or her coded way of saying: "I acknowledge and respect your
decision to take control of your dreams and finally make creative work a
priority in your life".
2) Speaking with co-workers can dangerously retard the creative process. You
are henceforth allowed to skip any and all meetings or company functions
that are unlikely to provide comic fodder for your book.
3) Upon completion of your novel, you have been given the green light to
print out two copies of the book on the office laser printer after
everyone's gone home for the night. Your boss also encourages you to spend
several hours surfing the internet, selecting the perfect cover illustration
for your manuscript before printing it out.
For those of you who spend your days in scholastic environments, your
teachers and professors have approved a similar bill of noveling rights,
including reduced responsibilities in the "staying awake in class"
department, and total exemption from the .coming to school prepared. thing.
Also, all final exams have been canceled.
Lastly, in the course of our negotiations, we've spoken extensively with
your family, friends, and significant others. All of whom would like to pass
on the fact that they have come away from these past three weeks deeply
inspired by the can-do example you've been setting.
They would also like me to remind you that they will mock you mercilessly
should you fall short of your 50,000-word goal this week. Your mother is
especially looking forward to reminding you of your novel-writing
shortcoming for the rest of your life.
Ah, Week Four. Where the endgame begins, and things get exciting one last
Happily, we've spent the last three weeks developing the loquacious gifts
that will help us through this week's all-important sprint to the finish
line. Just think of all the lessons we've learned in the last twenty-one
days. In that tiny timeframe, we've witnessed the birth of our plots, the
transformation of our cast, and the emergence of something that -- if you
squint hard -- resembles an actual book. There've been revelations and
breakthroughs; stall-outs and restarts. And more than a few of those blessed
5,000-word days, when we woke up nearly defeated and went to bed feeling
All in all, it's been a hectic, heady month. And now that the month is
drawing to a close, we are faced with one final push.
As pushes go, though, this one is a gimme. Because once you cross the 35,000
word point, you'll experience a dramatic lightening of your load. At 35K,
all pain lifts, and the late-onset symptoms of caffeine poisoning and sleep
deprivation co-mingle to create a warm and pleasant glow in our brains.
Because 35K is the gateway to 40K. Which -- as all NaNo veterans can tell
you -- is just a weekend's jaunt away from the finish line.
For those of your contending with Thanksgiving travel and longwinded
relatives this week, remember: Your novel needs you more than your family
does. Hide a laptop in the bathroom, and cut down on food preparation time
by letting younger family members forage for food in the backyard or nearby
public parks. Uncovering treasure troves of edible acorns and cattail tubers
will make the children feel like a valued part of the family, and will offer
everyone assembled a welcome respite from tired Thanksgiving staples like
turkey and stuffing.
And in seven days, we'll upload our 50,000-word (or much longer) novels, and
dance with joy as NaNoWriMo's overworked team of elves carefully inscribe
our names on the Winner's Page. At which point our friends, loved ones, and,
more importantly, that cute barista from the coffeeshop down the street, can
gaze in awe and wonder at our hulking literary achievement.
"We climbed it because it was there," we will say, the wind blowing
majestically through our unwashed hair. And the paparazzi will close in
around us, their cameras flashing in stuttered bursts as we turn our
monitor-tanned profiles westward towards the Pacific. Where the sun will
slowly set on another NaNoWriMo.
It's almost over, writers. We'll all meet soon enough at the finish line.
Where the champagne will flow like a bubbly river, and our triumphant
ululations will echo across NaNoLand.
See you at 50k!
Official NaNoWriMo novel validation begins on November
25th, and runs through 4 am Pacific Time on December
1. We'll post detailed instructions on how to validate
your novel on the NaNoWriMo.org site on Wednesday,
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