NaNoWriMo: Week Two, or Getting Over the Slump
Week Two of NaNoWriMo is notorious for being the most difficult. For me, this is especially true considering I’m about five days behind on my word count and currently trying to push through my belated Week Two blues.
I almost gave up entirely last night. My story seemed pointless, my characters dry, my plot nonexistent. I’m not still sure whether I’ll actually cross the finish line on November 30th, but I’m going to try to push through, at least for a little while longer.
Here are a few tips I’ve picked up on getting through this hurdle, whether you’re writing a novel for NaNo or on your own. I think there’s a point in most projects where it’s unclear whether it’s worth going on, giving up, or starting over. During NaNo, this happens in Week Two, but it can happen any time.
1. Don’t start over. This is the hardest thing to resist doing. I actually tried this the other day, but got so frustrated with the amount of rebuilding and development needed for the new idea that I decided to go back to my original idea. There’s no guarantee that a new idea will be any better or easier than the one you’re working on now if you see it through.
2. Skim what you’ve written so far. This is contrary to most of the NaNo advice out there, but it’s actually something that has helped me. I went back over what I’d written (without editing) just to reassure myself that it’s not all bad and remind myself what I’m trying to do with the story. I think writing without looking back is a little dangerous. It’s easy to imagine everything behind you is a wreck and a waste of time, but that may not be the case.
3. Take a day off. Or at least take some time away from the project. Go for a walk or a drive (but be sure to bring a notebook or tape recorder just in case you get new ideas). Hang out at the park. Watch a movie. Recharge.
4. Remember that it’s a draft. Just keep writing and fix things later. Make notes on ways you want to change your characters or plot when the month’s over.
I hope everyone out there makes it over the Week Two slump. I’ll be right there with you.