I know that every time week 2 rolls around I start to get down on myself. I hate the week 2 blues during NaNoWriMo. This is what I always find to be the most challenging week and I believe this is typically when you see a noticeable drop off in word count updates, participation, and enthusiasm. I know that personally, this is the week I see a marked decline in the number of people attending write-ins and I can’t help but wonder what I could do differently as your Municipal Liaison to support you during this week.
The problem is, I’m in the exact same boat as you. I find myself hating my plot. Or maybe I’ve written myself into a corner. Or I realize that all my carefully planned plans have been derailed and I can see the gaping caverns that are also called plot holes. It’s hard to see the finish line when you know you’ve got to hurdle the grand canyon of plot holes, right?
So, what can you do? What should you do? I know many people will throw in the towel. I’ve done it before. You’ll make the excuse of “the writing was bad” or “I don’t have time” or “I’m too far behind.” And that’s okay. The fact is, you’ve made it farther then most people. But what if you want to finish? What if you don’t want the excuses to be the reason you quit? I’m sure there are a lot of you reading this post, wondering what you can do to make it through?
If you’ve been fortunate enough to have had an amazing week 1, then you’ll probably find that you have a little bit of a lead. This year, I’m TWO whole days ahead of schedule. But, I still look at my stats chart and I notice that the word count bar is not jumping quite as high. I’m making the minimum to keep ahead but not doing much to lengthen my lead. My week 2 blues is hitting me full force.
In the past I’ve tried to power through. What this means is I take the time to write every day, even if I only do a couple hundred words. Because that is 100 fewer words I’m going to struggle to write in week 4. I strongly encourage you to make the habit of writing every day, even if it isn’t as many words as you want, because that is how you’ll keep the motivation going.
But what if you’ve written yourself into a corner? Or you can’t seem to look past the plot hole to the finish line? Now is the time for more drastic measures. If you are the kind who doesn’t have to write chronologically then jump to your climax. Write that part of the novel that really gets you excited. The part that you’ve been dying to work on but your characters haven’t caught up to. Renew yourself with the part you really love the most.
If you’re like me, jumping around doesn’t work. I cannot just go to the climax and start writing it. I work in order from start to finish. I wish it was otherwise, but it’s really not. I write the way I write and I’ve learned to accept that and work with it versus against it. My strategy when I’ve written myself into a spot that is hard to get out of is I either force my characters to go on a journey. One year, my MC was caught in a convent and had no way to rescue her best friend. So, I changed things on the fly and decided to make her go rescue her brother instead. She sneaked (is this even a word? My auto correct said “snuck” isn’t a word) out of the convent and went on an adventure.
My other strategy is when I know where I want them to be but I haven’t figured out the details of “how.” I will often write a note to myself. I offset it with either one set of parentheses or double parentheses so when I go to edit I just have to ctrl+f (to find) the set and I can see where I need work. This is sort of like jumping ahead, only I’m still working very chronologically.
So, let’s say my character is at home, working on homework and is grounded. But he needs to sneak out to get to the party but there are some crazy hurdles (he is being tailed by his CIA guard and they report directly to his mom, the president). I can’t think of a way for him to get out. So, instead I write the following “((MC needs to sneak out and away from CIA follow; figure out a way when editting)) Joshua walked into the house party and looked around for Andrea. He couldn’t believe that the plan worked, but he had finally made it.”
Was that the greatest writing? No, but it got me where I needed to get to continue writing. Push hard to get to some action and you’ll find that the writing flows. Don’t get bogged down with the nitty gritty.
What do you do when you’re stuck or the week 2 blues hit you like a tsunami? Share your ideas in the comments below!
P.S. Back-up your novel today!