You are now half way through week two of NaNoWriMo. (I hope you’ve been using our calendar.) You should have around 17 000 words. This is where the enthusiasm wears off and the ‘what the hell was I thinking’ kicks in. Whatever you do, don’t quit.
4 Ways To Power Your Way Through Writer’s Block
1. If you are behind
Take a deep breath. You can catch up. You need to make a plan to spend more time writing. Send the kids to Grandma. Book a golf game for your husband or better yet, take yourself somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. You need a big session to catch up. Once you have written as much as you can, recalculate your daily word count for the rest of the month and adjust accordingly.
2. If you are stuck
Even if you have planned your writing you may still be stuck, and if you didn’t plan you are probably adding new characters and new settings on every page, but very little is actually happening in the story. Take a step back. Remind yourself what your story is about. Write a three-line description of your story using this formula to keep you focused:
[Character’s name] + [inciting moment] + [story goal] leads to [intriguing question]
For example: Paint It Black by Janet Fitch
Josie’s boyfriend commits suicide. She wants to find out why, but that means dealing with his crazy controlling mother. Should Josie let herself be lured into a life of riches by the woman who destroyed the man she loved?
For example: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
After her divorce from Tom, Rachel becomes obsessed with Megan, a woman who she sees from the train every day. When Megan goes missing Rachel is determined to find her, but can she remember what happened during her blackout? In short ask yourself, who wants to do what and why? Then print it out, stick it to your wall and when in doubt go back and ask yourself if you are answering the question. [Read: 3 Lines That Will Help You Write A Better First Draft]
3. If you are going crazy
Yes, this can happen. Do not underestimate the task at hand. It is huge. You need to take care of yourself. Don’t neglect your diet, your exercise and your sanity. Make sure you spend enough time away from your writing. In short, once you have hit your daily word count get away from it for a while.
4. If you hate the writing
This can also happen. The shiny new idea has become dull. Remember almost every writer hates their story at one point, but don’t stop. You’ll love it again, but you have to write through it.
- Rewrite a big scene from a different character’s viewpoint.
- Jump ahead to a scene you are excited about. You don’t have to write scene for scene.
- Rewrite the character biographies.
- Write the ending. You can always change it again later.
Happy NaNoWriMo. You can do it.
If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg.
by Mia Botha
If you enjoyed this post, you will love: