I hear you. I see you. Despairing, worrying, exclaiming that your work or your words are not good enough.
This week is possibly the hardest week of NaNo. The shine as worn off your new story idea, the fun introductory scenes already written, and now you’re here. Stuck. Less than 10 days in and you have nowhere to go, bored with the story you’ve created so far and fearful that you won’t get to 50K.
You will. The blessing of this week is that you’ve realized, if you haven’t done NaNo before, that 50K is a lot of words. A LOT. Not an easy number to get to. If you’re a seasoned pro, maybe the word count isn’t what scaring you, but the lack of fire in your story, the flame has puttered away against the gusts of doubt.
Well put up a wind breaker, because you need to make some fire.
Make your character have to complete a task or challenge in a limited amount of time. Write paragraphs of background story, on how their mother loves cranberry bread or how they used to create snow fortresses with their now dead cousin. Explain, in painful detail, on how to make a potion that cures a hacking cough a minor character has had for two chapters.
Forget the finished product. Forget the second draft, the third draft, the ending, the editing, the publishing. Forget all of that and focus on the challenge: 50K. One Month.
Here are some writing prompts to get you thinking:
- Actions speak louder than words. If your characters couldn’t talk, what would they do?
- Overwhelm your protagonist with more than she can handle.
- A change of scenery can do wonders. Take your protagonist somewhere new.
- Let your protagonist succeed at something through pure dumb luck. Just make sure the pendulum swings both ways.
- You thought that was the enemy? Nope. The real danger lies ahead.
Push through this week. Don’t give up. Keep writing, and your main character will surprise you. I know mine did.