Thursday, 11 November 2010

I must, I must...

I must improve my NaNoWriMo wordcount.

During week one of National Novel Writing Month, I carved myself a regular writing slot. Once the children had been delivered to school and my husband to work, I would sit at the computer with a coffee and write for a couple of hours. I was not only achieving the suggested daily word count of 1,667 but bettering it. For the first time in the history of my NaNoWriMo attempts, I was ahead.

Week Two is notorious for being the week when most of the lunatics, I mean contestants of NaNoWriMo falter in their attempts and gnaw through more than one pencil (not sure if that metaphor works for keyboards...). I was ahead though, hair flying in the sweet breeze of success. I laughed at the thought of anything going wrong with my progress just because we'd hit the second week of our challenge.

On Monday morning, I found a rash on my daughter's neck and my son had a fever. The doctor was called and my daughter was diagnosed with an unidentified virus. "It's nothing serious," said the doctor, "but best to keep her off until the rash has faded." A day of nursing grumbly children ensued and no writing. I shrugged off the change in routine and decided that I'd write once they were in bed. By midnight, I'd only managed 500 words.

The next morning, my son was much better (I'm still wondering if he'd simply been holding his head against the radiator to get a day off school. Cynical mother? Me?) but my daughter remained at home, alternately scratching her rash and moaning that she was bored. Once again, no writing was had until my demonspawn, sorry, angels were in bed. And once again, by the time midnight tapped on my shoulder, I had not met my required wordage.

Yesterday I decided that enough was enough and setting my daughter up with things to do (and instructions not to scratch), I sat down at my computer to write, fingers poised, notes at my side. Not a lot happened. I typed some more of my novel but not much, maybe a couple of hundred words. I had a coffee, put a wash on, then returned to the computer. Again, I managed another two hundred words before hitting a wall of mind and finger silence. After twenty more minutes of stopping and starting, I decided to write more that evening.

I put my novel out of my mind until the children were settled in bed, my tea was eaten and I had a glass of wine to hand. In the first hour, I managed about a page of text. I was still only halfway through my daily word requirement and worse, I needed to write another thousand words on top of that to catch up with that the NaNoWriMo purple line (fellow NaNoers will know what I mean by that). So I got another glass of wine and pushed on. The entire evening was conducted in a similar way, start, stop, wine, start, stop, read notes, start, stop, stretch legs. I couldn't seem to get any real flow to my creative juices. The well of my creative juice was drying up at an alarmingly speedy rate.

Then it struck me, like a Hammer Horror villain with a very big axe. It was the curse of Week Two! Nooooo! Did I run away screaming or hide behind the cushions though? No, I did what most NaNo writers do on an hourly basis. I checked my wordcount, checked my notes and ploughed on. You see that's the thing about a curse. It only works if you believe in it.

The trick to suriving Week Two is simply this. Be realistic, forgive yourself any lapses and just get on with it. Don't fear Week Two. Embrace it like the knowledgeable teacher it is. If you can survive these seven days, then you're well on your way to your 50,000 words.

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