nanowrimo day 11 – outlier days

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.

NaNoWriMo day 11: 18,193 words

3 thoughts on “nanowrimo day 11 – outlier days

  1. Interesting. I haven’t hit the wall yet. I’ve thought about it, and I’ve had some days where the writing wasn’t flowing like I would have wanted it to, but several days where it’s been a blast. I think part of it is requiring no more of myself than the 1667 words per day that’s the minimum (If I’m in the middle of something and I go over, that’s fine, but if I do 1867 today, that means I only have to do 1467 tomorrow), and part of it is having this novel be based on my honeymoon if my honeymoon involved a murder mystery and Glen and I had access to unlimited cash. Places where we stopped and looked around wistfully during our actual honeymoon are now places where we spend thousands of dollars to decorate the bookstore/teahouse/café our fictional counterparts are planning. And then there are all the anthropological asides explaining certain things from my character’s point of view, which is remarkably similar to mine – she’s also an anthropologist who studies pilgrimage, just older, luckier, and a lot richer. So, I’m actually having a very good time.

    Sorry for the gloaty bits. :-)

  2. I’m totally with you there, C. I’m hitting the wall, hard. I’m finding that I want my heroine to be far more interesting than I am and have witty dialogue and have a fascinating adventure in a place that seems to change from day to day of writing and I’m not sure I want her to be in that place and I only have the vaguest idea of where I want her to end up and I’m not sure that idea doesn’t suck lemons. So, I do the crossword and then bring up the file and concentrate only on the last sentence I wrote and cringe and try desperately not to delete the entire story. Why do you guys think I haven’t posted an excerpt? I will, though… Oh, and one thing: my story has far fewer run-on sentences than this comment.

  3. Heh, I’ve been doing that with my budget. Budget, what budget? I’ve got emails to answer! People to manage! Vacations to take! We don’t need no stinkin’ budget . . .

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