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Hump Day

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 15

Total number of words written: 25076

Words Written Today: 2898

Coke consumed: 1 can

Chocolate consumed: 3 squares Smarties chocolate

Yes, I know it’s not Wednesday yet, but I’m not talking about midweek hump day, I’m talking about mid-NaNoWriMo hump day. It’s day 15, the halfway point. Looking at my word count this morning I was sitting just over 22,000 words, which meant I needed 3000 today to catch up to where I needed to be at 25,000 words–halfway to 50,000. The only day so far where I’ve written that many words in one day was on day 1 when motivation was extremely high.

The last few days have been tough for me in terms of word count. Over the weekend I was suffering from bad dizzy spells which was making it hard for me to do anything that required concentration, including writing. I have not made the daily word count goal (of 1667 words) since day 10. Yesterday and Sunday I only just scraped half of that.

I knew yesterday was going to be a bad day for writing, and despite knowing I had fallen short of where I needed to be for that day already because of a dismal weekend, there was nothing I could do about it. I was just too busy. Shopping that took most of the morning, a quick lunch, then pick up son from kinder, then only a short break before we had to go to my son’s play rehearsal. Back home just in time to cook dinner. I had basically resigned myself to the fact it would be my first 0 word count day. But then my competitive nature kicked in. I was tired, but I propped my laptop on my knee as I watched TV and thought, even if I only get a sentence or two, it’s still something. I just couldn’t go to bed knowing I had written 0 words for the day. As it happened, once I started writing the words kept flowing and I ended up with over 800 before I gave in to my tiredness and went to bed.

When I woke up this morning I knew I had a tough job in front of me. I wanted desperately to be at 25k at the halfway point, but it meant 3000 words today to get there. By 10am I had written 1000 and I thought to myself, “maybe I can do this after all.” I took a break, did some jobs for the farm, then set up my laptop at the dining room table over lunch. I wrote another 1000 words. Somehow I had found renewed motivation and my story had found new energy. I took another break, did some housework, then sat down and wrote another 800. I hit 25,000. I felt like channeling my inner Dora the Explorer and singing, “I did it! I did it!”

Now I’m over hump day, I’m just hoping I can keep up momentum all the way to day 30. I’m looking forward to tomorrow as I’m going in for my glucose test. No, not looking forward to getting my blood taken, but I’ll have one whole hour of waiting to myself in the waiting room. Instead of taking a book like I usually would, I’m taking a notebook and pen. 1 hour of peace and quiet with nothing to do but write.

P.S. Note the minimal amount of chocolate I consumed today 😀 Banana lollies and caramel popcorn totally don’t count.

P.P.S. The temperature just hit 30 degrees celsius. Even the heat didn’t deter me today! (Though right now it’s starting to hit me hard, so I’m glad I got all those words out of the way before it did hit me.)

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3 Symptoms of the Week 2 Blues (and How to Cure It)

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 10

Total number of words written: 16283

Words Written Today: 250 (so far)

Coke consumed: 1 can

Chocolate consumed: 1 fun size Crunchie, half a cup of Milo–by which I mean just dry Milo, no milk or hot water involved (so far, but it’s only 2pm) (have sadly run out of milky ways) I should probably also mention the caramel popcorn and starbursts, but technically they’re not chocolate 🙂

In NaNo land there is something known as the ‘Week 2 blues’ and unfortunately it seems to have hit me the past few days.On top of that, it’s been a super busy week in Mummy land. I’ve had antenatal appointments, immunisations for Miss 2 (which turned out to be much more of a drama than it was supposed to be), an afternoon at the cinema with a group of playgroup mums and the usual weekly shopping trip. I’ve just signed my son up for the local Christmas play, so we’ll be attending rehearsals for that every week, the first one was on Monday. I also decided this week the fridge was in desperate need of a cleanout, not to mention the cupboard under the sink. And November’s calendar is filling up fast!

Sunday and Monday were both low word count days. On Sunday I consumed at 3 cans of Coke, ate a great deal of chocolate and ended up getting KFC for dinner, but still didn’t get near the daily word goal. I did go to the movies in the afternoon, though, and even though I lost a few hours writing time, I think I needed that break and to get out of the house to reenergise.

Since there’s nothing I can do about life’s happenings, I’m going to focus on getting over these week two blues.

The Symptoms:

1. Motivational high of week one has pretty much all fizzled out. All the excitement of going into a new story, all the buzz of new ideas, that spurred an initial surge of words spewing onto the page has died down.

2. It’s getting harder to push words out onto the page. You find yourself staring at the page, letting distractions take over. Whereas in the first week the words seemed to flow onto the page easily, this week you feel like you have to pry them from your brain.

3. You know where you want your characters to go, but don’t know how to get them there. You have your plan, you know what your next plot point is, but trying to get them there has you stumped.

So how am I supposed to get past this week two slump? I know other NaNoers who have simply quit, deciding NaNo just isn’t working for them this year. Some have changed stories and gone into a new idea with renewed motivation (I did this last year). Some have decided to take the pressure off by not worrying about the word count and just writing what they can, when they can.

I still love my story idea, and I want to keep on, so here are some ways I’m going to try to tackle the week two blues that have worked for me in the past.

The Cure:

1. Stay focused on where I want my story to go, but also let it surprise me with plot twists and extra details. My characters have just found the first clue to a conspiracy that I had not planned at all. It was an interesting surprise and a nice addition to build upon my plot.

2. Push past the ‘writer’s block’ by just writing. Write or Die has been a big help with this in the past in getting from one point to another.Wordwars/wordsprints are helpful too, and there are always NaNoers around on Twitter who are up for some word wars.

3. Decrease distractions by writing on my laptop (which has only Word programs and is not connected to the internet).

I am so grateful for that week one padding I built up when my motivation was still high, it has helped a lot this week. At the moment I’m trying to keep just ahead each day. I find if I think, “I only have to write 900 words tomorrow to reach the goal”, it gives me motivation going into the next day, because the goal isn’t as overwhelming as staring at the prospect of writing 1667. And then when I’ve hit the goal, I think, “Well now it’s only 700 more and I’ll have written 1667”. It breaks it into chunks, which makes the goal seem easier to reach.

Author Jody Hedlund has a great post on writing after the initial passion has fizzled: How to Keep Writing When the Honeymoon is Over

How is everyone else going? Have you been hit with the week 2 blues? How are you coping with them? What strategies are you using to keep on going?

My 2 Year Old Whip Cracker

NaNoWriMo Diary – Day 5

Total number of words written: 10231

Words Written Today: 2121 (so far)

Coke consumed: 2 cans

Chocolate consumed: 6 fun size Milky Ways, 4 squares Marble chocolate, bowl of ice-cream drizzled with chocolate topping (so far)

As it stands, day one was my best day in terms of word count. Day two was pretty good, considering my morning meant getting child one ready for kinder and dropping him off, followed by playgroup for child two and a trip to the library, meaning my morning was a complete write off. But in two days I had managed to reach the day three goal. Things went downhill a bit after that.

On Thursday morning I managed only 70 words before breakfast, and I was lucky to get that. Dear daughter was having a rather demanding morning and every time I put fingers to the keyboard I was pulled away by whinging, nagging, fighting, or sometimes just plain old wanting a chat. I gave up trying to type. I also realised, after the last two days of writing, it was time to get stuck into some housework as the toys were taking over and the washing piling up. Between bits of housework, when the kids were playing nicely, I slipped in a sentence here and there. With a burst in the afternoon and another big burst after the kids went to bed, my Thursday word count wasn’t looking so bad after all.

Friday. Oh, Friday. ‘Twas really not a good writing day. I woke up tired. No words at all before breakfast, despite being up quite early, as my brain just couldn’t think straight enough to put words on the page. Got a little bit written after taking son to kinder and before I had to take daughter to her swimming lesson. Then to the in-laws’ for lunch and an afternoon spent with my hubby’s sister who was visiting with her family from interstate. Got a little writing done before cooking dinner and a bit more after kids were in bed, but went to bed early with only 800 words under my belt for the day. Was thankful to have that extra padding from previous days.

Which brings me to today. Although Saturday is my ‘day off’ from housework, I was worried with the expected hot temperatures I wouldn’t get much writing done since I don’t cope well in the heat while pregnant (brain turns to mush). So I endeavoured to get as much writing done as possible before it got too hot. But I found my story had hit a point where I wasn’t sure how to push forward, so the writing was slow. On top of that, my motivation was low after receiving a short story rejection in my email (one I had been feeling quite positive about). I found myself procrastinating on the internet, but my husband was my saviour (though he doesn’t know it). He wanted to watch a movie on the computer, so I transferred my story over to my laptop, which not only had no internet to distract me, but also only has Wordpad, which doesn’t show the word count like Word does, so I couldn’t obsessively keep checking my word count. I ended up staying on my laptop for the rest of the day and as a result hit 2000 words for the day, pushing me over the 10000 word mark in total. And the heat turned out to be not so bad after all, I managed to keep the house relatively cool, plus the dining table is a much cooler place to write than the computer (as that room gets quite warm in the afternoon).

As for the 2 year old whip cracker… Sitting at my laptop, and getting a wee bit distracted, I started singing along to the children’s show that was on TV. My daughter, who was sitting opposite at me, looked at me with the sternest of looks and jabbed a pointed finger at my laptop as if to say, “Stop singing, keep writing.”

Point taken.