If this is your first year Nanoing, you may not be prepared for a little thing that happens when week two rolls around. This week is notoriously difficult, for everyone. You’ve run out of your initial rush of enthusiasm, you’ve probably blown through that beginning part of your story that you could visualize really well, and you’re not yet to the murky plot points you see in the future. Maybe you’re behind, and feeling discouraged.
First off, know that you’re not alone. Everyone gets the Week Two Blues. It’s just part of the natural pacing of Nano. Week 1 is fun while you’re high on adrenaline and coffee, but Week 2 is when reality hits in. I can’t offer perfect solutions, but here are some general tips to keep yourself from sinking.
1) Don’t give up.
It can only beat you if you let it, so just keep setting that time aside, keep putting pen to paper or fingers to key pads.
2) Don’t get depressed.
You’re not a bad writer or uninspired or a total failure at life. In fact if you’re feeling the Week Two Blues, that’s because you’re doing the right thing. I’ve heard real, honest-to-god-published authors talk about this happening at a certain point on each of their manuscripts, too. So it’s not just you, and it’s not just Nanowrimo. It’s part of writing.
3) Don’t start over.
Around now you’re losing enthusiasm for your current project, and all those other story ideas floating around in your head are going to start looking really nice about now. That’s because they’re new and unexplored. Don’t give in. Stick with your current story, and focus on pushing past the block. If you’ve already started over, don’t panic, but don’t let it happen again. You and your story are in it to win it.
4) Don’t be afraid to write some shit.
One of the reasons this week is hard is because you’re getting to the middle section of your story, and middles are always difficult. You have to keep the pacing going without giving away too much too fast, and if you’re not an obsessive outliner, chances are you’re not sure what happens in this section, or what happens next. Don’t be afraid of it. On the Nano website there are a lot of people offering up prompts, like “have your characters go out for ice cream.” Don’t be afraid to have your characters do something random for awhile. It will help you learn more about them, and will help keep the words flowing, even if it doesn’t end up contributing directly to the overall plot. Don’t be afraid to write the same scene more than once, if it didn’t work the first time. It’s not cheating, and it doesn’t lessen your worth as a writer. It’s a necessary part of the process. And it still counts towards your daily goal.
5) Don’t isolate yourself.
Cook dinner with your hubby or go out for drinks with the guys. Find a write-in in your area, and try to bust out some words around like-minded people. Staying high on coffee, locked alone in your room, is not going to make you feel better, especially if you’re hitting some creative blocks. Take a walk. Go ice skating. Read a good book. Do something to recharge your creative batteries.
6) Don’t stop writing!
Don’t let the Week Two Blues paralyze you until it’s too late to bounce back. Don’t let yourself become so distracted with the problems you’re facing, or the creativity you’re lacking, or how far behind you already are, that you stop moving forward. Even if you’re a week behind, you can make it up. There will be days of wild inspiration where you catch yourself up. Just keep writing.
I hope these tips are helpful, and that you don’t let Week Two get you down! Trust me, if you can get through this, Week Three is awesome.