It’s the second week of NaNoWriMo! Here are my tips to help you through this week and get closer to 50,000 words:
Week 1 is the time to experiment and chase shiny new ideas, but Week 2 isn’t. During Week 2, it’s important to focus, to have a plan for surviving the more challenging weeks to come. This might mean ignoring the shiny new novel idea you just had, or it might mean restructuring your outline, or creating a plan for moving forward. However it looks for you and your process, make sure you’re committed to it.
- Ignore your inner editor
I’ve noticed that Week 2 is when I start to recognize problems. During Week 1, everything is exciting and new and full of potential; but by Week 2, I’m starting to notice all of the things that aren’t working—the plot holes, the weak characterization, the scenes I needed to include earlier, the things I could have improved. It’s tempting to go back and edit the pages I already have, to try and fix the mess before moving forward. But once you let your inner editor loose, you might never move forward. Revision is likely to be an incredibly lengthy process, and while it’s arguably the most important part, it’s not one that you have time for while trying to write 50k in 30 days. So, instead of going back to fix all of problems, just make a note to yourself. Keep an ongoing Revision List of things that to come back to later so you won’t forget them, but don’t do anything about them right now. Keep moving forward.
- Try something new
If you’re starting to feel stuck or losing momentum, try doing something new to keep the enthusiasm going. Maybe you can try out writing by hand one day to see how it works for you. Try working in a different location. Try writing to music or ambient noise or nothing at all. Do something different from your normal routine and see how it goes. It might not work, but that’s okay. It’s not yet so late in the game that trying new things could lead to disaster, but it’s early enough to find a new routine or process that will help you throughout the rest of the month. Do whatever you must to keep that momentum and excitement from Week 1 going.
- Don’t look ahead
I think Week 2 can sometimes be the most overwhelming week in NaNoWriMo. The excitement has worn off, and the nervousness has set in. You might be looking ahead and seeing just how many more words you have to write, or you might be realizing that this is harder than you thought it would be, or you might be falling behind and already feeling defeated. At this point, I think looking ahead to the rest of the month just makes this nervousness worse. Don’t think about how many more words you still have to write. Instead, focus on what you’ve already written, and relish your progress. You’re writing a novel! Enjoy it!
- Take it one day at a time
On a similar note, don’t get caught up in worrying about your word count, whether you’re behind or ahead. Instead, focus on what you can do today, right now. How much can you write today? Have you written as much as you possibly can? If not, get to work! Take it one day at a time and make each one count.
How is your NaNoWriMo going? Have any tips for Week 2? Let me know in the comments!
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