>>Dear NaNoWriMo Participant,
>Hi there! It’s Chris Baty again. And if you accepted the challenge in last
>week’s email, you opened a comfortable word-count lead right out of the
>gate, increased that lead in the first weekend, and are now sailing far
>ahead of pace, preparing to plunge into the 20,000s.
>You are looking good, feeling great, and your back is slowly accumulating
>an array of “kick me” signs, placed there by your fellow participants as
>you sprinted past us. A few signs, though, are a small price to pay for
>victory. And you *are* going to be victorious. If you are a day or less
>from 20K, you have everything it takes to win, and win big. Keep it up.
>Don’t slow down. We admire you, even if you made us feel so bad about
>ourselves that we had to put those signs on you.
>But this email is not for those doing exceptionally well. It’s for the rest
>of us—authors with underdeveloped word counts, overdeveloped novel-guilt
>complexes, and sensational procrastinating abilities. Because we are the
>ones who are going to begin having serious misgivings about this whole
>escapade in the next seven days.
>Because it turns out we are too busy to do this.
>Or because a crisis has brought some novel-eating turmoil into our lives.
>Or because our stories are really, really bad, and we’re wondering why
>we’re sacrificing so much of our time to produce a consistently crappy
>It all adds up to the fabled Week Two Wall—a low-point of energy,
>enthusiasm, and joie de novel that strikes most NaNoWriMo participants
>between days 7 and 14. This is when our inner editors, who largely turned a
>blind eye to our novel flailings in Week One, return to see how things are
>going. And their assessments are never kind.
>The plot is draggy. The characters are boring. The dialogue is pointless,
>and the prose has all the panache of something dashed off by a distracted
>If you’re feeling any of these things—or find yourself starting to feel
>them this week—know that nothing is wrong. In fact, you’re likely on
>track for a great NaNoWriMo. Just lower your head, pick up your pace, and
>write straight into the maw of your misgivings. If you are thinking about
>quitting, DO NOT DO IT IN WEEK TWO.
>If you have to quit, do it in Week Three.
>Because if you quit in Week Two, you’re going to miss an amazing
>moment—the moment when your novel begins to click. You’ll miss a genius
>plot twist you can’t foresee right now that will suddenly elevate your book
>from a distressing mess to a sort-of-tolerable mess. And then you’ll miss
>the euphoric breakthrough that follows that twist, when your book improves
>itself all the way to not-half-bad.
>Not-half-bad will make you scream, it feels so good.
>And you know what? The more you write, the better it gets. So make it a
>priority to write in torrents this week. Allow your characters to change,
>and have change forced upon them. Follow your intuition, even if it leads
>away from where you thought your book was heading. And know that writing a
>novel is like building a car. Your only job this month is to create a
>clunky machine that will eventually move people from one place to another.
>If your beast rolls at all at this point, you’re doing great. Pretty prose,
>snappy dialogue, brilliant metaphors—they’re all part of the high-gloss
>paint job and finishing touches we put on *after* the body is built.
>In December, we’ll have nothing but time for adding flames to our hoods and
>airbrushing a majestic eagle or pair of sunrise stallions on the sides of
>our new rides. For now, the 20,000s are calling, and we can’t get
>distracted by the small stuff if we’re going to get there. In the
>challenging confines of Week Two, our books will truly be built. Characters
>will evolve. Plots will unfold. It’s going to be difficult at times, but
>once we make it into (and out of) the 20,000s, everything gets much easier.
>And envious tales of our literary feat-in-the-making will begin circulating
>amongst our friends, family, and co-workers.
>At which point, we’ll probably find a note or two on our backs as well.
>It’ll be awesome.
>Keep plowing onward, brave writer! Good things are coming. I’ll be back
>next Wednesday for some thoughts on Week Three.
>Dreaming about my airbrushed eagle,
>8400 words and counting
>>Dear NaNoWriMo Participant,