If you’re paying close attention, you might have noticed that up until today I was blogging my NaNoWriMo progress once every two days. That was no coincidence; my evil plan had me finishing a chapter every second day, with 15 chapters in all. That worked until yesterday, a day when my productivity crashed so hard I actually fell behind the projected schedule, despite an early lead. I was no longer just Not Exceeding Expectations; I had entered the realm of Falling Behind.
It’s what WriMo founder Chris Baty calls the “Week Two Wall—a low-point of energy, enthusiasm, and joie de novel that strikes most NaNoWriMo participants between days 7 and 14.” And boy, does he get that right. I’ve been avoiding the novel like it was some kind of thing people avoid all the time, choosing to do anything else instead of work on it. Because that’s what it had become: work. Even space monkeys couldn’t help me out of this pickle, because it wasn’t so much about not wanting to write, but more about not wanting to suck.
Aha, you say, but the second rule clearly stated that no one reads this draft, so why worry? But you forget the same thing I did: I’m reading this draft. Even if I tell myself not to, even if I never actually go back to previous days’ work, there’s a part of my mind that remembers all the steaming crap I’ve written, and it asks me every day, “Wouldn’t you rather do something you actually enjoy, rather than write more steaming crap?” And that’s a hard one to answer, so I watch Lost or catch up on podcasts, or do any one of the hundred entertaining timewasters I have at my disposal. Last night K and I watched the first three episodes of the new Doctor Who. (I like them, BTW.) Each time it’s easy for my Inner Editor to make the case for anything but space monkeys, and each time I feel worse afterward for passing up another opportunity to write. I can see how that could spiral into not writing entirely, giving up on bloody WriMo and getting back to my life.
But never fear, dear reader. I’m not going to do that. I might be a day behind (or a few dozen words behind, or whatever the frak metric I’m deciding to use today), but I’ll keep plugging ahead. That same progress page that showed me cratering yesterday gives me a new daily total to shoot for, and it’s only a few words per day more than I would have needed otherwise. Besides, today my characters discovered a mystery that I don’t know the answer to, so I’m really interested in finding out where it leads them. If that happens to require writing 19 more days’ worth of steaming crap, so be it. The gloves have come off.