After my fabulously victorious first week of National Novel Writing Month, during which I went from 10,000 words to 18,000 words, week 2 has been a struggle. There’s nothing unusual about week 2 being tough, especially since Real Life Happened and caused a hiccup in my new rhythm. But that’s okay, because – after only ONE WEEK, one little tiny week! – I’ve seen a big change in my mindset about writing. As in, I feel weird on they days I don’t write anything. As in, I think about my story in the shower, in the car, while I’m eating lunch, before I fall asleep, as soon as I wake up. As in, I’m getting my writer groove back. And that’s my prime directive this month, so hooray!!
Here’s the day-by-day low-down for week 2:
Day 7: After I posted about how I was starting to lose steam last week, I took a break from the manuscript. During my break, I realized what I wanted to do next, and wrote another 475 words.
Day 8: I took the day off intentionally to try and gain some perspective. Hung out with my brilliant partner-in-crime, cover artist, and may-as-well-be-husband (Zakary Kendall) and had fun discussing weird metaphysical and philosophical aspects of the manuscript. Very inspiring!
Day 9: Real Life Happened. Only wrote about 200 words, but that’s something!
Day 10: 1,500 words, and had fun doing it.
Days 11 & 12: Real Life Ctd. No writing happened.
Day 13: Now officially behind on NaNo word count for the month. However, it was a productive day. I cleaned up my desk area (gasp!), hauled out multicolorful things (i.e., crayons, sharpies, etc.) and paper and arranged them neatly in the middle of the living room floor, and wrote out questions I want/need to explore in my manuscript – about the protagonists, antagonist, plot, world, conflicts, and turning points – as well as some helpful exercises from Donald Maass’ The Fire in Fiction, which is an awesome book and every writer should own it and Donald Maass isn’t paying me to say that, I promise. Now I have a bunch of questions and prompts in multicolored sharpie taped up above my desk, and a crap-ton of art supplies and paper ranging from index cards to welcome-mat-sized conveniently located in the middle of the living room floor. Because shiny colors make me happy, and help me write, okay?!?!!!
Day 14: 3,000 words. Whenever I felt stuck, I doodled for a while, answered one of my note card questions, or researched something and jotted down notes about it. At around 2,000 words, I took a couple hours’ break – dinner, 1960s Dark Shadows episodes, and chinchilla playtime. And then came back and wrote another 1,000…which brings me almost back up to the overall official word count goal for NaNo – and more importantly, moved my book forward!
Day 15: Geared up and ready to rock! …As soon as I finish this coffee.
Things I’ve remembered this week: 1. It’s not that hard to find enough time to write 250-500 words in a day. 2. Taking a break is sometimes more productive than working. 3. One type of creativity usually boosts another, which makes a nice little positive feedback loop. 4. You do not have to write everything in order. If you’re trying to get the story to move on to the next point, but you’re not sure how to do it, and you’re not that interested in the part you’re trying to write, chances are the reader won’t be either. You’re not experiencing writer’s block – you’re experiencing writer’s instinct! Run with it! Run with it to the next bit you think is going to be so cool you can’t wait to get there. 5. First drafts are for fun. Rewrites are for making everything tie together coherently.
I feel you. I missed two days of writing in Week 2, because I intentionally took my birthday mostly off (11/10) and then Life Happened the next day. But I got back into the swing of things on Thursday, and now I’m at 23,000 words, with the rest of Sunday to catch up completely. Will have to investigate the Donald Maass thing – haven’t heard of that particular book, but I’ve heard good things about his stuff in general.
What’s saving my bacon is my MANDATORY SCENES LIST. Which are one-sentence descriptions of scenes I know I want to include, which I’m super excited about writing. When I get stuck, I either work on a mandatory scene, or I extend the scene I’m in so that it moves me closer to one of the mandatory scenes.
Totally agree that the biggest thing has been reactivating Writer Brain. The story is always there churning in the back of my mind.
Good luck with Week 3!
I love your idea of the mandatory scenes list! I saw you mentioned it on FB, and when I got stuck yesterday, I was like, “Okay, just gonna skip to something I know I want, like Kat said!” 😉 Good luck with your Week 3, too! =D
I’m SO HAPPY and excited to see projects by so many writers whose work I like moving forward! T just gave me an idea for a short story I want to write and I’m excited about that, too. A story with Mr. Sugar and Mrs. DiMarco in!
Oooooh, another Mr. Sugar!!! =D