NaNoWriMo Update: Second Week Slump

I went to bed last night behind on my word count for the first time since NaNo started. I knew what scene I had to write and what my characters were supposed to be doing. But finding the words to make them do the thing…that was another story. Behold, ladies and gentlemen: the dread perils of NaNoWriMo Week 2!

The second week of November is a notorious stumbling block for many Wrimos. It’s when the excitement of a shiny new challenge begins to wear off and the reality of writing day after day, after day starts to set in. Pantsers begin to wish they had plotted. Plotters wonder why their novel is not behaving according to the bounds of their outlines. Friends and family start to whine about being neglected in favor of your novel. And the Halloween candy you stocked up to fuel your word frenzy is running dangerously low. The good news is that if you can get through week 2 with your wordcount in tact, you’re in great shape to plow through the end of the month. The bad news is…well, all the stuff I’ve already said.

The biggest thing you can do to help you get through the slump of week two is plan for the next few days, or revisit your plans now that you’re in the thick of things. This applies to both your story and your schedule. Last night, when I realized that I was stuck in some story quicksand, I stepped away from the computer and jotted down some bullet points of what was going to happen in the next few scenes. It wasn’t a formal outline, just a freeform response to the question, “Okay, what happens next?” Earlier in the month, I also looked at my calendar and picked out a couple days when I didn’t have any work meetings and took those as work from home or personal days.

Obviously not everyone can schedule days off from work to work on their NaNoWriMo novel. But chances are, there are pockets in your schedule where you can fit in some writing. And with a week of experience under your belt, you’ve gotten a feel for how long it takes you to reach your daily word count. Seek out these times during the week and be ruthless with blocking them off.

The other, and probably more important, thing you can do to push through this week is to forget the daily word count for a minute. Yes, slow and steady is the best way to get to your 50K finish line. But if your options are between 500 words a day and NO words a day, go for the 500 words and then plan out larger chunks of time when you can make up the difference.

How is your NaNo week two going so far? Are you still on track with your word count?

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