NaNoWriMo: Top 5 Tips To Get Through Week Two

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For the record: This NaNoWriMo thing is a roller coaster. After a little cross-eyed slump from week two, I found my mojo and rustled up some fresh ideas on how to ramp up the tension as I head into the middle of the The Book. I had to get real with myself about how my characters would behave. Not how I would love to see them portrayed on screen, but in real life. Or in fiction life, rather. I had to get out of my thinking rut in order to push forward with all this breakneck drafting.

Facing a similar dilemma either in NaNoLand or in your normal writing life? Here are my top five tips that got me through this week and back on track with The Book.

Get Outside

I know, it sounds a little counter-intuitive to leave the comfy confines of the couch and laptop to work on your project, but that’s exactly what will help you. The problem with holing up in the writerly cocoon is that it can lull you into a repeated thinking pattern. There’s no input from the outside world to help inform your writing. Go for a walk, a hike, a window shopping afternoon, something. Your brain will keep your writing project whirring in the background, it can’t help itself. I always find getting the blood pumping with a good brisk walk is the oxygen overdose I need to come up with some new ideas.

Hang out with other writers, or as I like to say – attend a NaNoWriMo support group

My friends and I met for a few hours last week to help each other with the obstacles in our writing paths and to run our ideas past each other. Unlike a writing group, where you’re looking at what you’ve already done, meeting up for a brainstorming/developmental editing session is helpful to keep you drafting. It goes back to the idea of having input from the outside world. Sometimes when you meet, you won’t feel like you’ve gotten an answer to your dilemma. That happened to me this past week, but as I reflected on the conversations surrounding my friends’ projects, ideas came to me in the following days.


Never underestimate the power of tea

Or coffee, or other warm drinks as the air turns chilly. You know, like hot toddies, hot buttered rum, Irish coffee, that sort of thing. It’s cold out there and you just went for a walk and met with your friends. You deserve a little refresher and a few minutes to reflect on the ideas the muse brought you.


It’s the oldest trick in the book and still a good one. When I feared my project was going to go from spying and lying to a full blown Harlequin romance relationship drama, I got a little freaked out. While relationship dramas among characters can drive the plot and complicate things, that’s not the focus of the book I’ve set out to write. Freewriting about those fears helped me to see options to avoid the Disney Romance trap. I also free wrote a bunch of scenes that were playing on infinite repeat in my head. Those scenes that I thought were Oh So Romantic! which helped me get them cleared out of there so I could get back to murder and mayhem.

Sit down and write

The idea of being a writer and having a stack of books to your credit is quite lovely, yes? Accepting your Pulitzer Prize is too, huh? Yes! But that book isn’t going to write itself. After the walk, the developmental editing friends luncheon, a few hot toddies, and your freewriting session, you have only one thing left to do. Write. Sit down, lock the door, turn off the phone, get off FB, and write. Only you can write the story that you have to tell. I’ve never heard of a Pulitzer winning ghost writer, so this one is on you. Get cracking, friend.

17,071 words to go!