It’s officially the second week of NaNoWriMo and guess what?
I’m in a slump.
This is normal—expected even—but it is always frustrating. The first week of NaNo brings so much excitement that I like to imagine I will breeze through November on pure adrenaline.
Adrenaline doesn’t last that long my friends. Don’t count on it to carry you through. But when the going gets tough, the tough get writing. That’s how that phrase goes, right?
Sure, let’s go with it.
I haven’t fallen behind yet, though there was one day that I didn’t make my word count despite my best intentions. My slump is taking two separate forms. The first is that my writing is simply slowing down. I’m spending more time on getting my 1,667 NaNo words than I took to get 2,668 for Milwordy in the previous two months. That’s a problem because it increases the likelihood that I will burn out. Spending every free moment of my day writing is difficult even when I’m excited about a project, but doing it when I’m not…
That brings me to the second part of my slump: I’m not excited about what I’m writing. This happens to me all the time. Sometimes it’s just me getting sucked into a “the grass is always greener on the other side” mentality that leads me to believe that the new idea I just had is better than the one I spent six weeks outlining. In that case, it’s a feeling that should be ignored and pushed through. That feeling happens with every project, at least for me, and if I never pushed through it, I would never finish anything.
Finishing is good. Finishing is important.
The problem is, I’ve also had projects that were really just not working and weren’t worth spending my time on. The trouble is, I don’t know how to tell the latter from the former. How do I know if I should push through, or stop wasting my time?
If you’ve been following my blog, you might recall that in my last week of using the Snowflake Method to outline this novel, I admitted the outline was broken. So, you know, that doesn’t bode well for the whole “I should just push through” narrative.
But let’s say that it is that my outline is broken and this story isn’t worth carrying on with. What then? Do I give up on NaNo this year? I’m still doing Milwordy, so it seems bizarre not to win NaNo. I suppose that I could count just writing 50k period—whether in the same project or not—as a NaNo win. Be a NaNo rebel. But that’s not the goal I set for myself, so even though I think that’s a totally valid way to approach NaNo, in my particular case it feels like cheating.
Or, I still need over 50k words for Milwordy for this month, which means if I started a new project now, I likely could still get to the 50k in one project. I have other half-finished outlines that I could work off of. That might be courting disaster, I don’t know. But maybe it would be worth it.
But then what about my current NaNo novel? Do I put it away forever? Try to re-outline it for another time? Maybe I should just push through, but ignore my current outline and see where it takes me.
I don’t have a lot of time to decide here, assuming I still want to win NaNo. And I do. But I’m feeling very conflicted.
What would you do? Would you stick it out, even if you were getting that sneaking feeling that this project isn’t the one you should be working on? Would you switch to something new? Would you adjust your NaNo goal to include all words, not just those in one project?
Is this in fact just the expected Second Week Slump that I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill about? Let me know down in the comments. All opinions are welcome!
And how is NaNo treating you this year? Are you hitting a slump, too? Or are you chugging along easily? I hope that whatever you’re doing, you’re having fun!
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