Week Two: Hurdles of Week 2

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Running the Hurdles of Week 2


A runner can run and run and run. A writer can write and write and write. But when a hurdle appears, the runner unexpectedly has to leap, and sometimes the landing isn’t pretty. When a writer stumbles into an unexpected hurdle, it’s also not pretty.

But that’s why NaNoWriMo is special. It gives you the energy, motivation, inspiration and determination to jump over those hurdles. Here are some hurdles you might face in Week 2, and how to sail over them with the grace of an Olympian!

Hurdle #1: You’re already behind more words than you’ve actually written.

Strategy: Muster up your energy, drink caffeine, stay up late, get up early, find some write-ins and add Writing Buddies to your profile so their little purple bars will cheer you on.

Hurdle Size: This is the smallest hurdle of week 2. Don’t even stress, sweat or worry about it. Pick up the pace and bounce over hurdle #1.


Hurdle #2: Your lead character is boring or unlikable.

Strategy: Motivate another character to take the lead. What character do you want to run alongside with? Who do you dream about at night? Recasting time!

Hurdle Size: If you have an outline or did lots of pre-planning and your lead character just isn’t turning out the way you envisioned, then this is a medium sized hurdle. Take an hour to replot with a new fabulous lead. This is still a minor hurdle that can be accomplished with a hop.


Hurdle #3: Nothing’s happening.

Strategy: Inspire your novel’s characters with an inciting incident, a disaster, an evil iceberg, a demon love child, a time shift, clothing that vanishes, stones that rain from the sky, trees that talk to humans, a kiss that stops the planet’s rotation, a squirrel habitrail that runs through Chris Baty’s living room, a Bohemian Rhapsody, or simply a “Meet cute” between a boy and a girl.

Hurdle Size: Waist high. This will take a running leap because you have to be a bit creative. But if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, you are loaded with creativity. Open the faucet and let it flow into those flying fingers.


Hurdle #4: Too many obligations! Family, work, chores, holiday shopping.

Strategy: Maintain your determination and remind your family that this is for the entire month and not just a week. Spend 5 minutes delegating chores instead of 3 hours doing them yourself. The best way to avoid doing chores is leave the house! Go to a write-in! Go to a coffee shop on the corner. Commune with a quiet post-office bench (you’ll win a sticker for “Writing in an unusual place”).

Hurdle Size: Tall, really tall! At some point before November 1, you gave yourself permission to obtain a pole vault and whack anything that got in your way. Now you need that pole to vault you over this hurdle. For November, for one small month per year, writing is your priority. Don’t forget it!

Best of luck from your ML who is 8,000 words behind, enjoys her Nessie obsessed woodsman much more than her lead, has characters roaming the Scottish wilderness with nothing to do, and sadly, has the cleanest kitchen in Pasadena.

Tonight, I’m bouncing, hopping, leaping and pole vaulting over all these hurdles. Who’s with me?

A quick shout-out to Chris Baty

Thank you for 13 years of inspiring the world to define its hurdles and for motivating us to leap over them.

Sara McBride
Los Angeles Co-ML
Participant since 2004

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