NaNoWriMo veterans refer to this week as the second week doldrums – the time when many participants fall behind on their word count goals and then begin to stress over it, or even quit.
I’ve done it in the past.
But so far, so good this time around. The goal by the end of the day is 18,336 words. I just passed the 19,000 mark. My story arc is coming together. I know where it’s headed. Conflict is higher than expected. And the characters are settling into their roles nicely – even surprising me once in a while.
And when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about the characters and their world. The creative juices have nowhere else to go but on the page as I finally sit down to write in a restaurant or coffee shop each night. And I think that’s been a key factor in making more progress than I have in the past.
Some writers never talk about their work in progress. I’ve never been one of those writers, but then again, I've written primarily non-fiction, and that's a different animal. So I decided to keep silent about this novel, based on a theory I wanted to test.
When you experience a tough situation and talk it through with a friend, you release all your angst and then feel better afterward, right? What if that applies to writing fiction? What if talking about a work in progress releases all of your creative angst and then you haven’t nothing left to draw on when you sit down to write?
Writers are curious creatures. We find all sorts of excuses not to write. So we come up with theories like the one I proposed above to trick ourselves into producing words. NaNoWriMo itself is a trick designed to get us to produce words without worrying about revision or whether it’s good enough or not. Keeping my book to myself is the trick I’m using this year, and so far it’s working.
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.