Monday, November 08, 2010

National Novel Writing Month: Dispatches From My Living Room #5

--by Hanje Richards

Having made it through the first week of NaNoWriMo, and having kept up the pace required to make the 50,000 word goal, I am feeling pretty good. I am not sure that I am ready to say I have been a novelist for one week, but I am can say that I am writing a novel.

I did not accomplish as much during this past weekend as I had hoped. I am on pace to finish on time, but I had hoped to create a bit of a cushion of words over the weekend. It didn’t happen. I had a couple of other commitments, one of which required time and preparation, and I also needed to do all the normal weekend things.

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, cautions that Week Two can be the most difficult for many participants. He calls Week Two “Storm Clouds, Plot Flashes and the Return of Reality.” But he also tells us that “ Week Two hurts so bad because you are making huge strides in your book, solving years worth of plot and character problems in one week.”

Baty also says: “Still no plot, still no problem. If you meet your word count quota over the next seven days, you’ll have a much, much clearer idea of what your books is about by the of the week. Allow change and plot will happen.”

Additionally he says, and I think this is very important: “Staying reasonably sane is the week’s ultimate goal. If you have to take on some word debt to keep burnout at bay, do so.”

Although I have been religious about writing every morning, some days writing more than the goal, some days writing less, I found myself looking for excuses to avoid writing the past couple of days, or at least to justify my lower word counts. I suspect for me that this is going to be a week of struggling to keep up the pace. It may be a week of struggling to keep focused at all.

I don’t have any way to actually know this, but I am guessing that Week Two is when a lot of people drop out of NaNoWriMo. The blush is off the rose, the excitement of becoming a “novelist” has paled a bit. The realization that writing is just plain old hard work has probably occurred to you more than once, and comfort in the form of food, rest, TV, distractions of any and every kind seem more appealing than ever.

If you are in the Bisbee area, please join our NaNoCon Circle on Tuesday morning from 10:00 am to 11:30 am where you can share experiences, triumphs and stumbles with others who are working on the same goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. (We meet in the Copper Queen Library Meeting Room). The Copper Queen Library is also making the Meeting Room available for several hours a week to anyone who would like to use that space for NaNoWriMo writing.

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo or have participated in the past, we would love to hear about your experiences -- on my blog, on the Copper Queen Library's, blog, or on Facebook.

Here’s to the next seven days (Week Two) and the next 11,669 words!