Week 2 Blues- A Guest Post by NaNoWriMo Member Alexis
The Week 2 Blues are real. Much has already been said on the subject, but Week 2 of NaNoWriMo is when the initial enthusiasm wears off and you have embarked on what I once heard fantasy author Maria V. Snyder call “the long, cold, hard slog through the middle of the story.” Self-doubt sets in with a vengeance during Week 2, and the inner editor starts up again with a litany of criticisms. Luckily, this whole crazy endeavor has a built-in support system to combat these killers of creativity: the NaNoWriMo community.
In New York City, we have a very large, very active NaNoWriMo community. All month long, the Municipal Liaison team hosts parties, write-ins, and social gatherings where NYC-region participants can meet in person. Attendees hail from all five boroughs and the surrounding areas, including New Jersey, Westchester, and Long Island. NaNo participants who happen to visit NYC during November are also welcomed. The community, while large and widespread, is critical in helping writers maintain momentum throughout the month – especially during Week 2.
Many participants have told me they’ve reached higher word counts during the years they attended regional events, as opposed to attempting NaNo in solitude. The community helps you stay involved and keeps you writing, which is the ultimate goal. However, it extends beyond November 30th; we’ve also seen writing groups, close friendships, and romantic relationships emerge.
We’re lucky that New York City is the land of many cafes, and our public transportation system makes it possible for us to reach each other. (We can even write during the commute!) The ML team also encourages “NYCnowrimo” participants to set up their own local neighborhood write-ins. For the novelists whose schedules or locations don’t allow for in-person events, we have a regional chat room with weekly online write-ins, although there are writers in there every night. And of course there are the official NaNoWriMo forums on the website, as well as an active community of participants on Facebook and Twitter.
Inspiration is fleeting, but I find the collective creative energy of a group of writers more motivating than flipping through a book on technique, at least for the first draft. ParagraphNY, a writing space near Union Square, hosted a Come Write In! event for us this past weekend, and no less than 80 novelists showed up. On a Sunday! If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.
I realize that many regions don’t have the same in-person opportunities that we do in New York, but if you find yourself struggling to catch up with word count, make use of the community in whatever ways you can. It’s there to support you. And don’t worry, Week 3 gets better.
– Alexis C