Today is the beginning of the second week of National Novel Writing Month. This is usually the part of the month when you start to question your sanity and hate your novel. For many people the second week of Nanowrimo is when they begin to question the quality of their writing and the point of their book. Some years I myself run into this brick wall of self-doubt. Other years, I don’t.
There are a few ways you can handle these feelings of being stuck. If you’ve got a lead already, you can stop for a day and think about what you’re going to do next more carefully. You can try doing something completely different to get you inspired. There is a story in you that needs to come out, and that story deserves to come out. Like any creation process it isn’t easy and it isn’t clean. It is, however, entirely worth it, if only for the sheer enjoyment of holding the final product in your hand.
When you hit that brick wall, stop and ask yourself why. Ask yourself how you can make writing this novel again, or how you can make it make sense again. Ask yourself what you can do to mix up your routine and get inspired. Remind yourself that you have a story worth telling, if only to your computer. That story needs to get out of you. It needs to exist, somewhere. In order for that to happen, you need to write your novel.
Remember that you can write a book in a month, or at least most of a book, and that something is better than nothing. Don’t give up your race to 50, 000. Even if you can only write a couple of paragraphs today, don’t stop working on your novel. Keep trying to write in the small spaces in your day, keep trekking towards the 50, 000 word finish line. It’s not impossible. We all underestimate ourselves sometimes. And it’s not unrealistic to think that the words you are writing aren’t that great. But the essence of the thing, the act of creating a novel, is a beautiful thing. It’s hard and tiring and sometimes bloody, but every novel is a work of art.
And you know what the great thing about a messy first draft is? You have all the time in the world to turn it into a beautiful masterpiece.
So this week, try to dodge the brick wall by reminding yourself that you are awesome. And if you hit the brick wall, remind yourself that you’re awesome again and that nobody said writing a novel wouldn’t hurt, pick yourself back up off the ground, walk around the brick wall, and keep moving towards the finish line. We’re all cheering for you, especially those of us huffing along the path with you.
Now get writing!