Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNo - What I Have Learned Thus Far, and The Perils of the Week Two Slump.

Week Two of NaNo has arrived; the week that seasoned NaNoers say is often the hardest.

There's some truth in that for me; my wordage is definitely down, and the words I write are coming with more effort. Now, that's mostly down to the fact that my non-writing life is on the busy side this week, what with helping my parents move house and volunteering in my six-year-old daughter's class (made Christmas puppets with them Tuesday, and I'm going along on an excursion to the beach with them tomorrow. Cute and fun, but it has absolutely confirmed my suspicion that there is NO WAY I have the patience to be in charge of a class of twenty-four little people. Their teacher deserves a medal!)

But some of the slow down in words is due to me starting to work on scenes that I haven't outlined as thoroughly as the ones I wrote last week. But thinking I knew better, I ignored the lack of a good outline today and pushed on with the writing for a little while; which, in hindsight, was silly. What NaNo has taught me is that (a) I need, NEED, to outline - with pen and paper, too - to get over my fear of the blank page and to get my imagination firing, and that (b) if I don't, I'll just edit my existing work to death as a particularly exquisite form of procrastination.

So, outline I did, sitting in the car while I waited for the kids to get out of class and by George, I think I've got this next scene nailed! Onwards for me ... erm, on Friday. The beach excursion is tomorrow, and I think I'll come back from that incapable of doing anything but lying down ... and, just possibly, opening a bottle in order to pour myself a restorative wine. (g)

I know a lot of people have criticisms about NaNo. Fair enough, too. But really, NaNo is what you make it. And for me, it's shown me a great deal about how I write, and what I need to do in order to write the best I can, and in the most productive manner. All good, I say.

How about you? Are you hitting the Week Two slump? And what, if anything, has your NaNo experience shown you about your writing?


  1. Ahh, I wish I was at the beach [g]
    WI'm still going steady, but only because I force myself to start and promise that even if the first two paragraphs are dreck, I won't stop. Usually by then I've limbered up enough that I can draft something proper and not cringe when I come back to retype it...

  2. I had three very slow days (I wrote maybe 700 words)--mostly due to family crises and resolutions.

    I'm back on again, having written over 4k words today and feeling really good about it.

    Keep up the good work, and just so you know, I've heard that week three is a ball.

  3. Rach, we are so alike. I've found the exact same thing- I must, must, must outline first to get the most from my story. And for me, when I change one plot element, I need to work through everything that happens afterwards to make sure it's all sensible before I commit to actually *writing* my new ideas. Saves grief if I work out it's not feasible.

    Sandra- I've been taken down by family crises this week and ended up with a similar word count for the three days before yesterday- and a great comeback last night, too. It's a good feeling. Looking forward to week 3!

  4. Deniz - the beach was fun, if exhausting. Perfect weather, but man, the responsibility of looking after other people's little people is quite stressful! I found myself doing head-counts every five minutes ... which was quite a challenge, seeing as they managed to spread out all over the beach! Thank goodness they were all dressed in bright colours, is all I can say ...

    And yes, pushing through those first few paras is the way to go. Keep up the great work you're doing (I'm in awe of how much you get done seeing as you write long hand and then type it all up. Amazing!)

    Sandra - you've done fantastically, coming back with that 4k! Sounds like you've well and truly managed to avoid the week 2 slump. And week 3 is a ball? Whoo-hoo, can't wait! :-)

    Claire - let's hear it for outlining! (g) Ah, part of what I love about writing is hearing what works for other writers, and what doesn't. I never cease to be amazed by just how many ways there are to bring a book into existence.