Week 2 blues: how am I gonna be an optimist about this (a nanowrimo pep talk)

Nanowrimo post!

I am so original! I`m a writer! I write! I write about writing! I realise that on the internet, which is totally not used ever for the sake of writing about writing, this is a very original and important milestone. Groundbreaking. 

No really, just hear me out, okay?

Or don`t, and go back to writing your nanowrimo novel. You probably need your time. And your focus. Especially now that we`re in week 2.

Oh dear, somebody send help and save me from week 2. Maybe do my writing for me? Just, you know, open my head like that scientist guy in the Nightmare Before Christmas, and then pull out all the words and put them into, err, actual words. On a screen. Or paper. I`m okay with paper.

I am way ahead of schedule for nanowrimo. Waaaay ahead. As in, ahead of my own schedule ahead. I just stopped writing (in favour of Tumblr, twitching, and this blog post. Not in that specific order per se), and clocked in at 22.356 words. That`s about 4.000 words ahead of nano schedule, and about 3 days ahead of where I planned to be.

“But Charlotte, surely this is a good thing?” I can hear you wonder. And yes, yes it is. I am happy with this progress. What I`m not happy with, is the crash that was sure to come. There`s two reasons to crash in nanowrimo: running out of steam, and week 2. They often come at once. They did this time for me.

I`m at that marvellous point in my novel where I wonder why I`m even bothering. My novel is a mess, I haven`t been keeping up with my own developments, my plot holes are so big all the airships I put in my novel are going to fall right through it, to be lost forever in the supermassive black holes most people just call a `plot hole`. I forgot about certain characters. My apologies to Bastet the cat, who showed up out of nowhere and has disappeared again a few pages later. I only realised she disappeared until, well, now. I haven`t looked it up specifically, but I`m guessing she disappeared around 15.000 words ago. Oops.

Basically, I just wonder why anyone would ever want to read this piece of what-on-earth-is-this-I-don`t-even. Why would I even want to write it, why am I doing this to myself? Is the added stress to an already stressed to the max daily life really worth it?

The answer is, and always will be: YES.

If you`re in the same situation as I am, and chances are very likely that you are, then listen to these words (speak them out loud so you can actually listen to them, okay):

Writing your novel is worth it.

(You can stop talking out loud now. Don`t want people to think you`re a total weirdo.)
By all means take a step back. Take a step away from your desk even. Cook yourself a nice meal. Hang out with some friends. Make those friends cook you a nice meal. Learn to juggle. Ride a unicycle. Or a unicorn. Whichever you find first.
But once you`re done, go back to writing, preferably the very same day. You don`t have to keep up that insane speed from week 1, because let`s face it: that`s destructive and we need you to not fry your own brain.

But go back to writing. Those characters aren`t going to like being cooped up in your brain. They need the freedom of the page, they need the freedom to develop and grow. And you need to give yourself the chance to meet your characters, and to live the adventures. To write the story.

Even if you don`t do anything with your novel after you`re done, that`s fine. Just keep writing.

I did nanowrimo last year. I wrote a crime novel set in New Orleans. I`ve never been to New Orleans. I don`t even read crime novels, but I wrote one. It was a very bad novel. I tried editing for about a week, then decided I couldn`t be bothered. It`s still on my hard disks (and Google Drive and online and everywhere), waiting for me to open it and start working on it. I probably never will.

But I got a chance to meet my characters, and they`ve become a part of me that I will carry with me. The fact that I did it, that I wrote an entire novel in one month, finished it (on time) is an achievement no one is ever going to take away from me again. Despite all the odds, despite everything that happened IRL, I finished my novel. And I`m going to do it again this year. Because last year`s work, the struggle and the loss of sleep and the stress because of characters disappearing and wordcounts and “oh god I`m bloody insane”? It was worth every bad moment to finally see those word counts crawl up to 50.000, and then passing them. It was worth every bad moment to witness all the good ones, to meet the new characters and watch everything play out in ways you never thought it would.

So keep going. Push through week 2. We`ll reach the halfway point this week, and after that the end will be in sight soon, and you can see the horizon you`re paddling towards on your little boat on the ocean of words. (Look! You might even learn how to do cheesy metaphors along the line.)

Keep going. Your novel is worth it.

(PS: title is casually stolen from Bastille`s Pompeii, which is also one of my writing-songs this year`s nano.)

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One Response to Week 2 blues: how am I gonna be an optimist about this (a nanowrimo pep talk)

  1. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up: Pacific Power Rangers | The Chindividual

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