“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” – William Faulkner
We’ve completed our first full week of NaNoing. For a lot of writers, the first week tends to go very well. You’re full of vim and vinegar. The plot feels fresh. You still like your characters. Not everyone leaps out of the gate at full speed — I’m a slow starter, myself — but the phenomena is common enough that Chris Batty, NaNoWriMo founder, notes it in his writing guide, No Plot? No Problem!
He also notes that most people start having issues in the dreaded second week, which is where we are headed into. The first blush of excitement is over and the daily goal might feel like an albatross about your neck. Maybe you have plot holes or no plot to have holes in or you just really want to veg out on the couch with a lap-full of kittens and watch downloaded Lifetime movies. The temptation to throw in the towel and say “maybe next year” will be strong. Resist it. If you default to next year, then it will be the year after that, and maybe the year after that, but maybe never. This is time for you. This is your time to be selfish and antisocial and get that book down on paper. Don’t stop moving. Like a shark, you need to keep swimming. (Yes, we all know that sharks don’t need to keep moving or they die, but you’re also not really swimming, so let’s just go with this analogy.)
If you’re stuck, rewrite one of your scenes from the viewpoint of a different character. Send your characters on a trip to the zoo. Add a kitten. Kill someone off and bring them back. Write a scene with your protagonist on their first day of school. Browse Pinterest and write a scene about an image that grabs you. None of these words might be included in a final, edited version of your novel, but the point of it is to keep your momentum going. You might find your story taking an unexpected turn, or you might find out something about your characters that fleshes them out for you.
Keep going. And remember that editing is for December.
I give you permission to respond to this post and update us on your progress before getting back to your novel.
Inspiration: Published NaNoWriMo Novels
(Are you still here? You should be writing!)