NaNo…No…No…Okay. Why Not?


So, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year, because my optimism and reality really should finally meet up and have a cup of coffee.

The idea is to write at least 50,000 words in one month.  That’s 1666.66666667 words a day.

Here we are on day 2, and I’ve got 620.

And I’m stuck.  Just no words.  Blech.

What can I do about this?  This question isn’t just for fellow writers, but any of my artist friends.  If you have a story, a painting, a song to work on, what do you do to get out of the rut?  Is the pressure the problem?  Do you work better under pressure, or do you freeze up?

I’m keeping it south of the border on the radio today, with the classic ranchera “Una Página Mas,” by Ezequiel Peña.  One more page…

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7 Responses to NaNo…No…No…Okay. Why Not?

  1. CJ Jessop says:

    I’ve only signed up for NaNo twice, and both times I failed miserably. On a normal day, I have no problem writing more than 1667 words, but if it’s NaNo, not a chance. I think I sabotage myself, or something. Sorry, I have no words of advice, other than just to write and not think about the word count.

  2. Jim says:

    Kinda funny that you posted this topic right now, because I’m currently in a rut with some video editing, and I’ve been working on it for the last couple hours.
    I took a bunch of video over the summer of building home made targets and a target stand for shooting. There’s about two hours of video that I need to dwindle down to about 20ish minutes. I know that the more interesting and humorous I want to make the video, the more work I’ll have to do to make it so. However, if I don’t put in that work, the video will be less interesting. So I’m trying to find the right balance. And even w/o trying to make it interesting/funny, it’s still a lot of tedious work. As much as I enjoy taking video and going through the editing process, I struggle to approach projects sometimes because I know what a monumental task it can be. Even for something only a few minutes long, it take several hours to finalize a project.
    So for me, at least with what I’m working on right now, it’s not so much a creative block, as it is a “fuck, I do not want to sit here for the next six hours splicing and dicing and adding captions and titles and fades and whaaaaaa! whaaaaaa! I need new diapers and my bottle filled whaaaaa! whaaaaa!” Basically, I just don’t want to do the “work” part of it.
    My solution is blunt. I force myself to sit down and just DO THE WORK! I think the same approach could be taken when it’s a creative issue. JUST DO IT! The end result might suck a bit, but as long as you’re not on a deadline you can always go back to it when you are feeling more inspired. Also, again, if you’re not on a deadline, you can step away from the project for a few hours, or days even. Don’t think about it, don’t do anything about it. Watch a tv show, go to coffee, join the Navy. You know, distract yourself for a while, and chances are the creative issues will just work themselves out naturally.
    What I do find particularly annoying is feeling inspired and energized when I am no where near the project I’m working on. My best ideas, and motivation to actually do the work, always seem to come when I’m at work, or twenty three thousand miles away from my computer.
    Anyway, that’s my suggestion, JUST DO IT! Force yourself. Get it done.

    p.s. please don’t tell anyone over at Nike that I said “Just Do It”. I can’t afford to get sued right now…

  3. Yanette says:

    Hi there. I’m guessing that the date 02/11/2013 is the English way of saying November 2nd. (I’m English and live in the US, so I was confused for only a short minute).
    I’ve looked at the whole NaNoWriMo thing and even contemplated it as a way to bust through a block or a slump. But you know, the commitment to writing is such a pressure-loaded way of being in the world in the first place that I’ve chosen to shun the added pressure and stick with the writing process I know and (mostly) love, embracing its peaks and troughs, blocks and slumps. I imagine that the starting gun/race track/finish tape buzz of the NaNoWriMo experience works for a lot of people and it’s a terrific idea. But for me, a regular routine (one that includes sleeping, eating, a walk on the beach, and an occasional air ticket to a distant location) is the surest path to productivity. I’ve been doing it a long time. I love trying new things to shake up my world, but if it ain’t broke then I don’t plan on spending precious time away from my writing desk to go fix it.
    Good luck to those out on the NaNoWriMo track, though!

  4. I don’t know what it is about NaNo that stumps me every year. Every year I have such good intentions, ideas, but a la hora de la hora, nothing gets written, not a single word. So I am of absolutely no help to you in the understanding of your issue, George. I suppose a practical suggestion would be to keep trying. Knock the words out until you find your feet, and maybe that slow but sure start will gather momentum. Tortoise and hare sort of thing. Good luck!

  5. Andrew Urquhart says:

    Number one rule; don’t make a word-count goal for each day. Write until you cant stare at the page for another second every day and you’ll hit that 50k in no time 🙂 Best of luck!!

  6. JC Hemphill says:

    What works best for me is finding the emotional core. Not just identifying it, but finding a way to empathize with it, make it my own. There is no better fuel than raw emotion. That stuff could launch NASA rockets. Plot and characters are only present to convey those emotions and are nothing without them. Of course, that is easier said than done.

    I’m also doing Nano for the first time. Good luck with yours!

  7. ED Martin says:

    Procrastinating is my biggest problem. If I can make myself sit down and write, I can hit whatever word count, no problem. But there are just so many distractions! I went to a write-in last Friday, and if I stopped typing one of the women at my table would tell me to keep writing. That helped. When I’m by myself though – no idea how to make myself write.

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