Now that I’ve made it past Wednesday of NaNoWriMo Week 2, I think it’s safe to blog about it.
All of the “pep talk” emails I’ve received from NaNoWriMo this week have been about overcoming “The Week Twos” as though it’s some kind of a rash, and if you just keep rubbing some kind of ointment (don’t you just hate that word?) all over it, it’ll clear up in five-to-seven days.
I say this as though I have no idea what they’re talking about, but I do. Last year, Week Two was an uphill battle for me. I got to the middle and I started to struggle with my characters, the story, and my abilities as a writer. That’s when I started having a crisis of faith. I know that people struggle through that “mid-point” (it’s not the true middle, but it has that feeling). Last year, I struggled in the middle of NaNoWriMo. I struggled through the actual middle of the novel, I struggled through the middle when I was editing the paper copy, and now I’m struggling through the middle of the second revision. I totally understand the concept of “Week Twos.”
That being said, this November has, thus far, been going very well for me. I hit the ground running, and I haven’t looked back. The first two days were easy because I was working with material that I’d already written as a sort of short story. Day three began new material, and while I’ve felt more often than not that I wouldn’t make it to my 1667 words, I’ve made it there and beyond every single day so far. In fact, I’ve written over 2000 words each night. The only exception to this was tonight, actually, and that’s only because today (Wednesday) was my birthday, I’m tired, and I wanted to write a blog post, too. I’m far enough ahead that I felt okay giving myself a little break tonight and only writing 1800 words.
When I hit that 1667 word mark each night, I push myself to keep going a little further, telling myself that even if it’s crap, I can revise it later. That’s the point, right? To just generate words as coherently as possible? To keep learning about the writing process and how we individualize it? To just write?
A combination of pushing and planning has given me a nice edge. The suggested word count for November 11, according to the NaNoWriMo website, is 18,334. As of this writing (Nov. 11 at 2:20 a.m. EST), my cumulative word count (updated for 11/11) is 21,415. That puts me at almost two full days ahead. If I keep up this pace, I’m slated to finish my 50,000 words on November 25. That’s Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., and that, at least, is consistent with what I did last year (I finished at 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving, then got upset when I slept through most of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You can’t win ’em all, I guess). The Week Twos haven’t really affected me. I’ve maintained my pace. I have no real and solid idea of where my story is going, but every day I manage to come up with something. Some days it’s easier than others.
Where I’ve failed is in my attempt to also edit last year’s novel at the same time. It hasn’t been a total failure because I have worked on it. I just haven’t worked on it as consistenly as I would have liked. Even though I don’t like it as much as my current project, I still won’t let it go unfinished. I have every intention of coming back to it and finishing that draft.
In the meantime, though, I’m going to ride the enjoyment wave as far as it will take me. I’m using Scrivener this year to write my novel, and it’s totally changed the experience for me. That’s another post for another day, but suffice it to say that the features are all created with writers in mind. It allows me to do things that Office just won’t. It’s a lot more fun to look at, too. My story continues to interest me (most of the time, anyway), and I feel like a stronger writer than I was this time last year. All good things, and hopefully they stay that way.
Maybe everything will catch up with me in Week Three or Week Four, but I don’t think it will. If I can get myself to write over a few days out of town, I’ll consider Week Two a total success*.
*I do not, however, consider this blog post a part of Week Two’s success, mostly because I wrote 1700-some words right before I wrote this, so my brain is functioning about as well as a dead possum in my head. Also, I’m too tired to go through and smooth it out. I just didn’t want to leave anyone hanging with bated breath, losing sleep as they wonder how NaNoWriMo is going for me (since I know that obviously happens all the time) :) .