It’s Week Two of that insanity known as National Novel Writing Month. (Wow, it looks weird to type it all out that way, instead of NaNoWriMo.)
This time last year, I was singing the Week 2 Blues. Which is not uncommon among NaNo’ers. Week 1 goes great: You plunge into this year’s story with eleven months’ worth of pent-up enthusiasm, and for the first 5-7 days, the words just pour out onto the page and everything’s wonderful.
Then you have to surface for your first breath of air, and somehow, after that, it’s hard to get back in stride. The ideas that flowed trippingly from your fingers mere days ago now seem mired in hardening concrete, where nothing short of dynamite can blast them free.
Eventually, things do pick up again, and by Week 3, you’re humming right along (hopefully). But first you have to survive Week 2.
Except, this year, I seem to have swapped Week 1 and Week 2. Last week, I was up to my ears in molasses, and it’s been mighty cold here. This week, it’s as though the story, realizing that something was poking at it, stirred to life, lifted up its head, opened its eyes, and said, “Oh! We’re going now! Right!”
I don’t claim to understand it–
No, no. I lied. Now that I think about it for a minute, I can come up with several possible reasons for it:
1) Story direction: In the past, while I haven’t had detailed plans for each story, I’ve had a vision of where I wanted the story to go, and some of the steps it needed to go through to get there.
This time around, my vision isn’t as clear. I know where the story needs to end up. And I know a few of the things that are going to happen on the way. But the story arcs for the various characters aren’t as well-defined, and my themes haven’t even begun to coalesce yet.
On the other hand, the introduction of some new characters this week, along with some possible intrigue, seems to have helped. Here’s hoping, anyway.
2) Changes in process: I know that in the past, night-time has been my best time for writing. But that’s not working so well this time around. I keep falling asleep instead of writing. So now, I’m trying to get a few hundred words down first thing in the morning, and a few hundred more at lunchtime. So far, it’s working.
3) Changes in health/lifestyle: Two months ago, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and edema. As a result, I am now dieting, exercising, and, per doctor’s orders, trying to spend at least a little time every day on my keyster with my feet elevated. Sadly, placing my body in that position only seems to inspire one activity: sleeping. Which means no more sitting up late and writing all night for me. Which means…see previous point.
4) Family issues: Between a parent on one side having surgery during November, and the ones on the other side deciding to relocate, thus necessitating a trip to Arizona over Thanksgiving, the month has the potential to get “interesting”, in the Chinese sense (as in, “May you live in interesting times”). Squeezing in some writing time around all of that has been/will be a challenge. I’ll just need to remember to take advantage of small pockets of downtime, and when I do get chances to write, do my best to stay focused. Building up a little more of a cushion might help, too.
Obviously, pursuing a goal–whether it be writing or something else–isn’t always easy. But it’s up to you whether the obstacles life dumps in the road in front of you turn into excuses for your failure, or objects in your rear-view mirror on your way to success.
How is NaNoWriMo treating the rest of you?