• Alyssa Rogan

NaNoWriMo Week Two Check-In: A New Mindset

It's been just over two weeks since NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) began. Last week my brain had exploded with thousands of words in just the first few days (quite a rare feat for me). At the same time, I struggled with feeling passionate about my project because I'm not quite attached to it and doubt how much I actually like writing for myself anymore. This week's a bit of a different story.

Despite my slight lapse in word production during election week (for obvious reasons), I've managed to catch back up. The chart below shows that I'm on pace to finish on November 30th, although my goal is to finish on November 29th since I started a day early. Anyway, I'm proud of how far I've come. I'm halfway there!

In terms of passion, I'm feeling a little more optimistic. I've definitely gotten into a rhythm and feel as though I understand the voice of the characters and the tone of the book, but the thing that's revolutionized my thinking is not calling this a book at all. It just doesn't feel like a book. Why? Maybe it's because I'm writing it for no one but me. Maybe it's because I did almost no planning beforehand. Maybe it's because I'm not following the Three Act Structure.

Whatever the reason, what's kept me motivated is calling this not a book, but a project. A free-write, if you will. A stream-of-conscious writing session. The lack of structure lends itself to these definitions, and I have no problem with that. Who says I need to write a book?

Although I'm itching to get back to my previous book, I have to think of this thirty-day writing exercise as beneficial. I'm learning to write under a strict deadline, just like writing professionals do. It's also reinforcing the fact that I need to trust my gut and creative power. Just when I think I'm gassed out, I always find more ways to, um...pass gas. I mean, I tell myself to write a few more words and end up writing a few thousand words more.

What's helped me produce more words than I thought possible are these things called writing sprints. You set a timer for five or ten or twenty minutes and write until time is up. You take a break for a few minutes and start again. There's no single way to structure writing sprints, but I typically do twenty-minute sprints and five-minute breaks if I do them back to back.

When I'm busy though, I might do them sporadically throughout the day. They're great if you have little pockets of time but can't block out two or three hours of your day for writing. I also joined a few writing sprint live streams on Youtube and follow along with whatever they're doing. It's always nice to have some company!

Thanks for reading! Please check in next week to see how week three goes!

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