Reflections from Week Two of NaNoWriMo 2016

By Ash Thoms

The second week of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has come to a close! At the end of the 14th of November, the word count for each participant should have been 23,333. It is unbelievable to me that we are almost half-way through November, much less half-way through this writing challenge.

While week one was interesting in its own right, week two had its own set of challenges to address and lessons to learn. Here’s a brief overview of what week two of NaNoWriMo has taught me:

  1. Writing a continuous story is really hard.
    • I am, by nature, a poet. I write short, spoken-word poetry. My poems don’t blend together to create a bigger story; they stand on their own and don’t need external information to make sense. What I’m writing for NaNoWriMo has to be fluid. It has to make sense as one whole and not as individual parts. There has to be continuity. While the outline I mentioned last week has been helpful, I also have to make sure my voice remains the same throughout the work. I have to ensure that my ideas flow in the way I originally planned in the outline. So far, NaNoWriMo has been an exercise in writing something other than what I normally write, and this has taught me a lot about the writing I don’t normally engage in.
  2. Motivation is a finicky creature.
    • Writing everyday has been challenging. Some days I don’t feel like writing, or I don’t think my ideas are as good as they could be. Some days sleep just seems way better than spending two hours writing at the end of my day. What has consistently gotten me through to this point is the idea of NaNoWriMo being a challenge. A challenge proposed by my friends, initially, but now it’s a challenge to myself to see if I can do it. I want to disprove the part of me that says “you cannot possibly accomplish this.” That desire is keeping me going, even when my motivation isn’t as strong as I would hope.
  3. I don’t have to write in the middle of the night.
    • I always knew this. It isn’t new information that I have the capability to write in the daytime. I’m writing this in the middle of the afternoon and nothing bad has happened because of it. However, I have always held myself to the belief that I am a more creative and interesting writer when the moon is out and every other human is asleep. In an effort to address my lack of time management skills that I mentioned last week, I started writing in the morning or when I had short periods of free time during the day. My writing has been just as good and just as creative as it is normally when I write at night, disproving my fear that I am only a conditionally good creative writer.

We’re almost halfway there. As of the time that I wrote this blog post, I had written 24,000 words. I have 26,000 left to write this month in order to complete the challenge.

I know I can succeed, and I am excited to do so.

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