The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad: The Final Pep Talk

Happy Tuesday, Cyberspace, and welcome to the final pep-talk for The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad!

I think I can honestly say that this has been — by far — the oddest NaNoWriMo I have ever experienced.

Sure, there was the Epic Fail of 2015, and the Peculiar Disappearance of the July Camper.

And, of course, let us not forget that one Camp NaNoWriMo wherein I tried tracking my progress via hours instead of words. *dramatically salutes my brain’s rather untimely demise*

But out of all the bizarre NaNoWriMo seasons I’ve gone through, I must say that November of 2017 really takes the cake.

This month, I wanted to finish my second draft. It didn’t seem like that much to ask for, really. I had a plan. All I had to do was rewrite 1 chapter every 1.5 days. Easy, right?



Some of you might remember that a long, looong time ago, I mentioned how I was going to be writing a How To Survive Your Second Draft blog post — a post that has still failed to see the light of day on this here blog.

However, I — as always — have a relatively valid reason for this.

And what is this reason, you might ask?

Well. . .

How can I possibly write a Second Drafting Survival Guide when I, myself, have failed to actually survive my second draft?

‘twould be would a catastrophe, my dear beans. And thus, this has been the problem which has plagued me for centuries months. This is the doubt which has inhibited my ability to give any solid and quite possibly exceedingly inaccurate advice on how to write a second draft.

But after enduring this single month of struggling through the second half of this quite awful book, I have realized things, Cyberspace. Many things.

Terrifying things.

Things that no mortal man should ever know.

And while I still have not yet cultivated enough information to write a detailed survival guide that would actually be worth reading, I do have one piece of advice that I would like to share with all of you before this month is officially over.

And so, without further ado, allow me to present to thee the final installment of —

Kenzie’s Weekly Pep-Talk!

You have written words this month. Many words. Beautiful words. And perhaps, with a tiny splash of luck from the writerly muse, you have actually completed your self-determined goal.

But for some of you, your first draft is not yet complete. For some of you, no matter whether you’ve written 20k or 80k, your story has only just begun. Even now, as you smash face-first into that glorious finish line, your characters are stuck in the middle of a werebear attack, your villain is discussing his future nefarious plans with his psychiatrist, and your sidekick just lost his right leg due to contracting tetanus in the previously mentioned werebear attack. Right now, within your story’s world, your characters are still very much alive. They are breathing. Living. Waiting until you sit back down to finish the story that they are dying to tell through you.

And for all you happy first-drafters out there, all I can say is that you are doing amazing. You might still have a long, winding, bumpy road in front of you, full of potential plot holes and devastation interesting surprises, but you are far too close to the finish line to give up now. Finish the book. Write the words. Put in the time to get the work done. Because where you are right now, my friend, is only the beginning of even deeper and immortal pain your writing journey.

However. There are also some of you out there who have actually finished your novels this month. You’ve written that final scene, typed The End, and have irrevocably washed your hands of the madness that is your first draft.

But though you may be celebrating with trumpets and confetti as of right now — though the cookies may be flinging and the cheers erupting, though the angels be singing and the tears of joy be falling from your twitching eyeballs — those chimes of victory you hear on the horizon will soon morph into the ominous gongs of death.

Because guess what comes now, my dear friend.

Yes. That is quite correct.

The second draft.

*initiate ominous music*

My fellow writers, when you have finally burst forth through the folds of the first draft, only three things await you on the other side.



And more death.

And sometimes, if you are EXTREMELY lucky, you might find some mental/physical torture lodged deep within the crevices of the aforementioned death.

But never you fear, dear bean, for I am here to guide you through this most treacherous journey.

Or rather, to guide you through the rather small portion of this treacherous journey that I have already barely survived through.

Yes. It is true that I have not yet conquered the second draft.

Yes. It is true that my experience with my second draft will probably be drastically different to your experience with your future second draft.

Yes. It is true that 9 times out of 10, I have absolutely no idea what I’m even saying, and therefore my advice should probably never be trusted by mortal humans above the age of 82.

Yes. I have failed NaNoWriMo. Repeatedly.

But none of these microscopic setbacks should ever dissuade you from following my sage advice. After all, I am a master when it comes to advice-giving, are I not? And therefore, it is merely my allotted place in this world to pass my expert knowledge unto you, my smol apprentices and future fellow corpses.

So here, on this sacred page, I shall disclose the tiniest tidbit of advice that I have gathered over the past 28 days in regards to writing (or re-writing) a second draft:

Don’t rush it.

I think I’ve probably said this time and time again, but trying to rush a story is literally the worst thing you could ever do for your book. I came into this month determined to finish my second draft in one month, but as the days progressed into weeks, I quickly realized something that put a damper on my entire sunshiney and extremely deluded outlook on life.

A first draft takes time, but a second draft takes your soul and left lung and possibly both your kidneys even more.

I wrote the first draft of everlost in 6 months, and I’ve been working on this second draft since April.

That’s eight months of second drafting.

And sure, I haven’t been working on it consistently throughout that timeframe, but still — I’m already two months past how long it took me to first draft this thing, and I still have about 13 chapters left to write.

But the curious thing about second drafting is that now you know what you want this story to be. The first draft was for exploration, a chance to blast every single bit of creativity you had onto the page and see what clicked. But when it finally comes time to second draft, you know more about this world than you’ve ever known before, and you want the words on the page to actually reflect the vision you see in your head.

And this is a very difficult balance to create.

Now, I know that there are many ways to write a second draft, and that my way (which is to completely rewrite the entire book in a linear progression [#hahahaha #helpme]) might not be the way that you want to go.

Some people say that many smaller rounds of revision are best, while others opt for lesser drafts, but with larger-scale revisions within each version. The important thing to remember here is that there is no right or wrong way to write — there is only the way that works for you, and the ways that work for others.

But no matter how you plan on tackling the second draft of this book you’ve created, my advice still stands.

Don’t rush your story.

Books take time to create, whether you’re a fast writer, a slow writer, or somewhere smack-dabbly in the middle. In the end, it doesn’t matter how lengthy the story is, or how fast it took you to whip it up. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 50k in 30 days, or 20k in 8 months.

It does not matter whether you’ve been published by the time you’re 18, or if your debut comes out when you’re 81.

What matters is that every time you sat down to write, you sat down with the mindset that you were going to pour your very best into the words you wrote. What matters is that at the end of the 3rd draft, or the 8th draft, or the 50th draft, you have a story that you are proud of, that you worked tirelessly and seemingly endlessly on — a story that you gave everything you had, and finally — after countless sleepless nights and cloudy moods of contemplation — conquered.

What matters is that you love it.

And everything worth loving is worth waiting for.

First Drafters, remember to love your story while you write it. Remember to live and breathe every single word you write, simply because writing is what you were born to do.

And Second Drafters, when you go to edit the words you’ve written, don’t forget to hold on to what made you fall in love with this story in the first place. Something kept you clinging to this world, these characters, this alternate version of the universe that your mind created. All you have to do is remember what it is.

Love yourself, love your story, and I can promise you that at the end of this amazing journey, you shall have in your hands a book that you can be proud of — a book that you can stuff into someone’s gnarled face and say —

“See this? It’s mine. Not yours. MINE.

And then run away, cackling into the night like the demented psychopath that you undoubtedly are.

. . .

. . .

. . .

This has been. . .

Kenzie’s Weekly Pep-Talk!

Well, guys, that’s all I’ve got for today. It’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching the very end of NaNoWriMo, isn’t it? I thought I would get a lot more accomplished this month than I actually did, but you know what? I’m proud of what I’ve done over the past 28 days. It definitely isn’t as much as I had hoped for, but it is something, and that, sir, is amazing.

But enough about me! How has your past week been? Did you get a lot of writing done, or have you slowly been coasting to the end of NaNoWriMo (like me) whilst trying to build up your creative inspiration to end with a bang? Are you excited for NaNo to end, or sorry to see it go? And most importantly of all, are you prepared for the twist reveal on Thursday? (#I’mNot)

Let us talk about ALL OF THE NANO things down in the comments below, and also fling cookies at each other’s faces to cheer everyone on as we head towards December First like a runaway trainwreck. (because flinging cookies is fun. obviously.)

As always, until next time. . .

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*



47 thoughts on “The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad: The Final Pep Talk

  1. “…my smol apprentices and future fellow corpses.” This made me laugh. xD
    And it was a big, real pep talk this week! I think I am hyped to get back to writing and get this thing done!
    Soon, soon it will all be over. I’m at 68k right now and less than halfway through my story and my outline has been thoroughly busted. However, I’m planning on focusing on Rob’s side of the story so I can finish with a stronger draft. Instead of slapping together a new story right at the end cuz I need a break. But a lot of the scenes with Rob I’m familiar with, so it should be doable. Even if my present middle changes them all…. <:o

    I have written 12,712 words this week. I need 6,944 more words. Over these last 3 days. I'm slightly tempted to panic, but 6k seems doable enough to me. If it were just above 7k it would feel more daunting.

    I'm looking forward to the Thursday Twist, even though it is likely to Doom me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can do it, you can do it, you can do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      68K is amazing and you are a wizard. GET THIS GIRL A CROWN!!! Also, the outline aaaaalways gets busted. No worries.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Awww!!! I am pleased to have made you laugh!! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!! #missionaccomplished I know, right?? It was quite shocking. I just sort of started writing, and something actually INSPIRATIONAL came out. Apparently I can actually inspire. WHO KNEW. EEEK! I am so happy to hear that!! You’ve got this, Jethan!!!! I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!

      I agree with Kate. ALL OUTLINES GET BUSTED. Even Second Draft outlines, which is kind of annoying, because SHOULDN’T I KNOW HOW I WANT THIS STORY TO GO BY NOW??? XD Oh my word!!! 68k is PHENOMENAL!!! You are doing fantastic!!! And awwwww!!! I love smol Rob… I bet he’s happy to have parts of the story revolve around him!!!

      OH MY WORD YOU ARE SO CLOSE!!! You can do it!!!! I know you can do it!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s quite fitting that the other pep talks were nonexistent and silly, and then the last one was the real one. xD

        It just…feels like I’ll forever be adding new stuff to the plot and make it convoluted and unwieldy, when will it all stop?! *Doesn’t want it to stop, wants to discover ALL the things!*

        I AM AT 70K NOW!!!!!!!

        Rob is not happy. All of his clear scenes are the dramatic, sad ones. APPARENTLY I CAN ONLY WRITE CRYING OR ANGRY PEOPLE RIGHT NOW!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the advice Kenzie! This is the first time I’ve ever really um… made a second draft, so it’s a bit interesting to actually be doing it. One thing I found is how horribly awkward it is. I was rewriting it, and I just started moaning/laughing and put my head down on the table. It was one of the most awkward things to read. I had tried to make my main character have a boyfriend and I apparently can not write romance. At all. I know you said that on one of you earlier posts, and I was like “Yeah, me neither, but I think it’s working.” Yeah, it was not working. I changed it so now the boyfriend is just her nerdy friend, but it was kind of bad. I think it’s really fun to go over what you’ve written and say “Oh yeah, I remember writing that,” and other things like that. I don’t know if I’m exactly rushing my second draft. (I’ve only edited for 7.5 hours and I’m already about a quarter of the way done) or if my story is just short. :) I had to cut out an entire chapter because it literally made no sense for the rest of the book. It’s a very interesting process. Hope everyone else’s writing is going well! One more day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww! You’re welcome!!! It’s probably not the greatest advice in the world, but it is my advice nonetheless. XD OH MY WORD, SAME!!! This is my first Second Draft, too!

      Yesss! Reading through your own writing is SOOOO weird! It’s like you love it yet hate it at the same time!! XD ROMANCE IS THE WORST AND I APPROVE OF THE NERDY FRIEND. Honestly, nerdy friends are SOOOOO much better, anyway!!!! XD

      WHOA. DUDE. I am like so jealous of how quick you are!!! I’ve been working on my second draft for MONTHS and I’m only like 3 quarters of the way through!! TEACH ME YOUR WAYS!!! XD And you’re definitely not rushing it!!! Some people are just slower or quicker writers than others! It all boils down to each individuals process, and there’s no right or wrong speed or way to write a book! (But, you know, if you wanted to trade writing speeds, I’d totally be up for a switch…XD)

      OOOH! Cutting chapters is the best!!! I haven’t gotten to do that quite yet, but there are some chapters I’ve had to completely rewrite and strip down to the bare bones so that I could build it back up… That was odd… XD



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