I was going to post this last week, while I was dangerously close to flatlining. Before you break out the defibrillator, I’m not talking about reaching for the light in the tunnel. I’m talking about the very-dreaded Week Two of NaNoWriMo. Just like crashing from a caffeine-sugar-adrenaline bender, Week Two is when things can go quite terribly wrong.
I’d say that the worst outcome of Week Two is flatlining (and back pain). This is when you stop writing (and you go on a mad hunt for Icy Hot), and your handy dandy word count graph ends up looking like this:
Quick recap of how that month went:
- day one: I can totally start the month with 7,000 words already written. That’s not cheating, right?
- day two: Look at me, staying on track like a boss.
- day three: Day of productivity and words and awesomeness! I’m a CHAMP!
- day four: I can take a day off. I’m, like, super far ahead. Like, seriously.
- day five: Time to work again! Class-A effort, folks! This is easy peasy.
- day six and seven: I can take it easy. I’m not even at that line where I’m supposed to be.
- day eight: Queen of Limbo! I’m going to stay just next to that line, like a LIMBO GOD, and I’ll coast through the rest of the month on perfect schedule.
- day nine: I’ll just write extra lots tomorrow.
- day ten and eleven: Wait, did I actually take away a couple words? That’s the opposite of progress!
- day twelve: Well, now I’m just floundering. I can still catch up. All I need is a repeat of day three (see day three above).
- day thirteen and fourteen: I added, like, twenty words. That counts, right? Right?!
- day fifteen through thirty: #ragequit #slump #organicchemistryisreallyhard #meaningoflife?
So. Week Two can be doom-inspiring. And that’s where I was last week. I hit day twelve.
Cue dramatic splay of emotions: Anger (AHGGHHHH), Depression (I’m never gonna finish! Sad face), Regret (Why O why did I try writing in bed again?!), Pain (Writing in bed or hunched over my laptop is NOT a good way to keep your dastardly vertebrae aligned), and Determination (I’ll make it up tomorrow, no matter what!!!!!!!!)
With an infinity of exclamation points guiding my sense of determination, I hit the next day like a barrel of bricks: red-faced, square-shouldered, put together, and immovable (PS: I’m really glad that metaphor panned out, because I sorta threw it out there and ran with it like a… another good metaphor).
At the end of that evening I was just barely scraping by, overcoming the word count goal by about a hundred words.
A very fair huzzah!
That’s when I wanted to do this post, to share the difficulties of Week Two and encourage others to see it through (PS: the second half of that sentence rhymed).
However, since I was mid-slump (and mid-hunch with back pain), grasping at straws and manically pulling together words into sentences, I didn’t allow myself the time to write anything else (including blog posts).
The troubles I faced in Week Two which directly related to my struggles with producing words:
- Transition of the plot. I knew where I wanted to be in a few chapters, but not how to get there. And for some stubborn reason, I wouldn’t allow myself to skip ahead because the transition would be important.
- Fizzling energy. Fun fact: A diet of caffeine, coffee, coca-cola, hot tea, and various food items does not a healthy Rebecca make. Remember that quip I made at the top of this blog post? “Just like crashing from a caffeine-sugar-adrenaline bender, Week Two is when things can go quite terribly wrong.” Yeah, that was less of a simile, and more of a cause-and-effect relationship.
- Things and Life and Stuff. Work, shopping, planning laundry schedule (finding quarters), and worrying about still-broken car.
What helped me get over it and keep writing:
- Music/movies: Give yourself background noise that you can ignore or listen to as your wandering brain requires.
- Ginger ale. Or an equally fizzy drink without caffeine. Sometimes the bubbles help keep you alert without making you crash and without putting you in a daze.
- Find a new place to work. Not bed. Not bed ever. Especially not with an electric blanket and soothing music. Try a table with a evil-good-posture-forcing chair (good for avoiding back pain). Or try a
coffee shopginger ale place.
I got through Week Two, hit a buzz of productivity over the weekend, and am once again ahead of the curve. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t slip and fall flat on my face in Week Three, Four, or in the post-November Weeks. It does mean that I get to pat myself on the back and charge onward!
If you’ve fallen behind or if you’re barely keeping up, just try not to flatline! You can always recover. And as long as you’ve written a single sentence this entire month, then it’s been a success!