Week two is the hardest weeks in NaNoWriMo. The euphoria of week one has worn off and the real world starts to rare its ugly head. The work of writing can easily get overshadowed by the work of getting on with all the things that need doing; laundry, eating three meals a day, spending time with loved ones, showering regularly. I thought I was immune to week two blues but I found myself struggling.
I wish it had something to do with my novel but that seems to be alright. I have reconnected with the basic idea and although I know I am leaving gaps in my writing a Boeing 747 could fall through, I know I am getting the basic idea down. I can patch up and pad things later on – that’s what December is for after all. But even with such a wonderful feeling about what I’m writing I still found myself distracted towards the end of the week and lost two days to feeling overrun and overwhelmed.
There is a silver lining. Because I was ahead on my word count, the loss of two days of writing has had not affected that. I am still on target for my daily word count because I opted to do a 10,000 word challenge last weekend. I only managed 7,500 but I wasn’t exactly sad about that. But still...
Week two brings with it question – hard questions. The most common being, “Why exactly am I doing this?” I never thought to vocalise any of those questions before but when I look back at my old word count charts, it is clear that there is always a crisis somewhere between day 5 and day 15. Somewhere in the midst of my literary marathon comes the desire to pack it up and move on to something else – something easier. I haven’t done it yet – not in the 6 years of doing NaNoWriMo. But when I stopped to ask myself why this year, I learnt something really important about Creativity in general and NaNoWriMo specifically:
“Getting through [a creative challenge] is not a matter of talent, great ideas or even divine inspiration (although they help). It is about resilience, courage and the strength to keep going even when you don’t want to. Art is created mainly because artists are too stubborn to quit more than anything else. And I AM an artist.”
So I’m still going on and perhaps I have left the dark clouds behind or maybe I haven’t. What does it matter? I have a novel to write and I will write it until I reach my target. But I am lucky enough not to be doing this alone.
I have come to appreciate the Forums on the NaNoWriMo page. I hardly ever used to participate in them but I have increased my activity there slowly over the years. I love the shout outs and the challenges and best of all I like the sense of comradeship I find there. It is a place to find and give encouragement and keep track of the greater accomplishment of thousands of other people meeting their creative challenges same as I am. Strangely enough, giving or receiving encouragements seems to work the same way for me – I get a little more enthusiastic about writing my novel and that’s always a good thing.
So week two might not be celebratory but I faced a challenge and came out on top. If that’s not something to be grateful for then I don’t know what is. I just hope week three is a little kinder to me.
Word count: 23,810
Mood: Tired :-p
Listening to: Michael Bolton – Only A Woman