NaNoWriMo – Week 3 Pep Talk – Halfway Point!
Today is November 15th, which marks both the halfway point of National Novel Writing Month and the first day of Week 3.
Week 3 is the week of numb shock. Perhaps you’ve written more than you ever have before. Perhaps you can’t believe how far off course your characters have taken the story you intended to write – and you love them for doing so. Or maybe you just can’t imagine how you’ve managed to sit down and write EVERY DAY for the past fourteen. Week 3 is where the seed of hope planted on November 1st starts to unfurl into a tiny leaf of OMGamIreallywritinganovelinamonth?!
If you made it through Week 2 and you are still writing or at least still want to write, congratulations!
I’m totally serious, so I’ll say it again: CONGRATULATIONS.
Writing a novel, as you may have realized by now, is not an easy task. Writing a novel in 30 days is even less easy, especially if you’re not in the habit of writing every day. Making the time to write on a regular basis requires discipline, dedication, and sacrifice, and if you’ve figured out a way to do that this month, bravo! You’ve taken the first step toward embracing your creativity and giving it room to grow. I fully believe that inspiration can “strike,” but your creativity is always with you. Like a muscle, you have to stretch it and exercise it. Why sit around waiting for inspiration to hit (hit, strike – inspiration sounds violent!) when you can tap into the well of creativity that’s always inside you? If anything, I hope that the past two weeks have shown you that “inspiration” and “writer’s block” are really just stories we tell ourselves to put off reaching for the dreams that seem a little scary or out of reach. Creativity, imagination, and the ability to learn are not things we give up when we grow older; they are always with us. But you have to make time to be creative – not “take” time or “find” time. That’s one of the other lessons of NaNoWriMo.
As of today, you’re halfway through. (In terms of time, if not word count.) If you feel behind, you can still catch up! Go to write-ins, follow @NaNoWordSprints on twitter, accept a dare (or twelve) from the forums, find a nemesis. (A “nemesis” is someone you have a friendly rivalry with, and you always try to stay ahead of their word count. Trust me, it helps!) Can’t make it to a write-in? Lots of regions have chat rooms. NYC certainly does, and we have an online write-in every Wednesday night.
Write-ins give you the opportunity to meet other participants who can cheer you on and help you hash out ideas if you feel a little stuck. Sprints are a great way of focusing your attention and making the best use of your writing time – especially if you feel you don’t have a lot of it. Dares and prompts get the creative juices flowing in ways you never expected. A nemesis can prompt you to write 11,000 words in a single weekend, like I just did. Anyone can sit at home and (try to) write in solitude; the beautiful thing about NaNoWriMo is that you don’t have to. There’s a built-in community/support group with all sorts of resources to help you grow as a writer and creative individual. My nemesis-driven word count – and spending Saturday with a participant who moved to New York from Europe for the month to do NaNoWriMo – enforces my feeling that this undertaking is more about the community than the writing. My advice to you is to make use of all of it for the rest of the month.
Again, congratulations. Take a moment to celebrate how far you’ve come since the month began. Whether you’ve written 5k or 45k, celebrate that achievement. Clap for yourself. Do a little dance. Eat a piece of chocolate.
And then get back to writing.
Alexis, NYC ML