Swoon Author Danika Stone: Going the Distance (NaNoWriMo Week Four)

It’s nearing the end of November and if you – like me – have been doing the NaNoWriMo challenge, then you’re probably at the end of your rope. Scratch that. You’ve fallen off the rope and are writhing on the ground. Your elbows are scraped; your knees bleeding. Worse yet, your writerly soul has likely taken a hit.

You may suspect that the last thirty or so thousand words you wrote were utter crap. You might even have deleted a bunch. (Oh god, I hope you didn’t delete them all.)

writing is hard 

Don’t despair. This is a Gandalf post.

No, it’s not a crash-your-party-and-drag-you-out-on-a-road-trip post, (though that sounds fun.) This is a darkest hour of night post, when I remind you why you can do it. Why your story is FAR better than you’ve ever imagined, and that there is, indeed, an end in sight.

Don’t believe me? Well, I’m going to let you in on a secret: You have to keep going. Why? Because you’re the Dr. Frankenstein who’s created your novel, and the scary and awesome thing about that is that YOU are the only one who can finish it.

You just have to keep writing.

*cue dramatic music*

in a galaxy 

Wait. Scratch that. *ahem* Let’s start again.

*slightly less dramatic music*

A few weeks ago, when you started NaNoWriMo, you were in the honeymoon stage. Your tweets were probably full of word-counts and character profiles, your evening hours spent on Pinterest boards of your character’s favorite turkey sandwiches. I even made a cover because… hey! It’s a cover. That’s almost like writing, isn’t it?

 ship wars cover

Ah yes, Week One. It was all rainbows and lollipops and hope.

But then Week Two rolled around.

Yes, yes. You can blame it on too much caffeine (and coffee is probably partly to blame, since dehydration affects the brain). But the bigger issue is that Week Two is where you have to start proving yourself. Your characters have grown from baby ideas with their milk-soft skin to pimply faced antagonists, arguing with you about every decision you make. As veteran writers know, plotting isn’t a road map. It’s more like making a Christmas list, and hoping that your Aunt Millie sends you something other than socks this year.

If you made it through the power-shift process of week two, you’re still writing, but probably not quite the book you expected.


It takes twenty-one days to make (or break) a habit, and Week Three is when ALL your weaknesses come to light. If you’re an early morning writer, Week Three is when you can’t get out of bed. If you’re determined not to edit, Week Three is when you have the urge to revise entire character arcs. Week Three, my friends, is the fire walk, and the only way to get through it is to keep going. Don’t stop. Seriously though, you’ll burn your feet, or – worse yet – burn those pages. (Please, oh please, promise me you’re making backup copies as you go.)

crying typing 

Coming out on the other side of the Week Three trial, you’ll find yourself on the upswing. There’s only a week left. And although I couldn’t hold my breath that long, I know for a fact that I could do a lot of other things: eating only vegetables, giving up coffee, even… *shudders* jogging. A week of writing is difficult, but not impossible. And that’s the key.

gandalf horse

It’s Week Four, my friends. You have one more chance to make a go of this. You just have to keep typing / writing / dreaming / doing. Don’t look ahead. Don’t look behind.


It’s as simple as that.

Every weekday in November, we’ll be including a super special writing prompt at the end of all our blog posts! Check out today’s:

Prompt 11.19

Author spotlight

Danika Stone

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of …

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