I found myself using running metaphors last week.
Writing my daily NaNoWriMo 1.6K words was demoralizingly difficult. It felt just like starting out on a long run: I was stiff, it hurt, I didn’t wanna, and only kept going through stubborn will power. It was grueling and not at all fun.
Since I am new to NaNoWriMo, I didn’t know that the struggle of week two is a well-discussed phenomenon, so I tumbled into the abyss completely unprepared.
Last week was difficult for other reasons too. Harp lessons were especially arduous. (I am convinced that all harpists are secretly Cirque De Soleil contortionists or Time Lords.) Also, one feverish cat needed regularly force-fed, and another cat ate one of my psych meds and needed emergency care. I even had a key QI consulting milestone to reach.
Despite all of that, I was able to get the writing done anyway. I reached a 16-day writing streak and am close to 30K words.
I can’t adequately express how empowered this achievement makes me feel.
If I can write productively during a week like this, then I can count on being able to be a productive writer period. I didn’t know that about myself before, and it is a happy discovery.
I was able to get here by strategically employing known motivators as well as benefiting from dumb luck.
By logging my data into the NaNoWriMo website, I was able to let my slavish devotion to hitting targets drag me along.
My inner Girl Scout's need to meet my commitments was harnessed by my daily NaNoWriMo Instagram update. I did not want to be in a position to say the X-day writing streak had been compromised. I did let myself whine a little on Insta, and was intrigued to observe that the whiney posts got fewer likes. Still, I’m all about emotional honesty, so I will keep on whining as the situation demands. Otherwise wouldn’t it get boring?
My daily reward for hitting my writing goal was to find a fun picture to represent the latest X-day writing streak on my Instagram update. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, and I really looked forward to picking out a picture on the tough days.
I was tempted to go esoteric for some of them but held myself back. For example, I wanted to use a picture of Eleven from Stranger Things for day 11 or a picture of a quinceañera dress for day 15. I abstained but had fun dreaming about it.
Dumb Luck Motivators
Retrospectively, I went out and read about the hell of NaNoWriMo week two. I found some tips and tricks, some of which I had unknowingly employed last week. Next year, they will be slotted into the ‘Known Motivator’ category.
Chloroformed My Inner Editor
I know this is kinda the point of NaNoWriMo in the first place, but Ms. Inner Editor was still there, causing trouble and slowing me down. To survive and get through it last week I honestly stopped caring if what I wrote was any good. I was just marching for volume. You know, it was really refreshing to be completely free from her and allow my subconscious some breathing space. I came up with some really fresh ideas without the filter.
Pursued Some Ant Hills
This means writing things you want to write, not things you feel like you should be writing. Aimee Bender tells us this could be our unconscious trying to speak to us. I let myself come up with crazy hypotheticals that will likely never be relevant to the story and then crafted them into scenes. For example, I allowed myself to write about how my protagonist would totally blow it when she met her love interest’s mother. But you know what was interesting about that? I stumbled upon a new aspect of world-building for the Seep!verse that was really cool, and I am going to keep using it. I think I might not have discovered it otherwise.