NaNo Day Two: The Return of Writer’s Doubt

It may not be Day Two, it may be Day Three or Day Fouror, even, Day Twelvebut in the recent years I’ve discovered that, at an inevitably certain point in every one of my NaNoWriMo adventures, I start thinking that this was a very, very bad idea.

I start thinking I should give up on the novel, or the stories, or writing altogether. The plot, or the idea, which seemed so brilliant on November 1st, the thing which got me going and made me take the plunge again and course through the first few thousand words like a breeze, suddenly becomes the worst, most wholesomely boring thing I have ever heard of. It starts dissolving into paragraphs upon paragraphs of introspection (my favourite writer’s issue), worldbuilding nobody will care enough about to read through, character design and introduction that get me yawning so hard, not because it’s not even eight in the morning yet, and I’ve been writing for almost a full hour already.

The ‘giving up writing altogether’ part isn’t a joke, either, nor a figure of speech. I’ve just caught myself thinking about that exact thing a few sentences back in the novel. The sudden rush of self-doubt gets so strong that no amount of published stories, no amount of courageous planning, no amount of honing the writing skill over and over through the past few decades could make Humpty Dumpty resume writing again.

And let me just say that in the middle of writing the previous paragraph of this post I got up from the couch, left the keyboard behind altogether and went to clean the bathroom. Sure, we’re having a few friends over this afternoon for our first write in of 2019. But still… you know. Nothing gleames brighter than a Wrimo’s home in November.

It would be a really nice feeling if I could, at this point, include one of my favourite bullet lists with an X number of ways to get yourself back in the game, back in the novel, back in the cursed, yawn inducing paragraph.

But that’s not the purpose of this post. The purpose, which I’ve only recently discovered, when the post was already well underway, is twofold.

One, to take a break from the novel in the early hours of the second day of NaNoWiModoubly difficult as the first day, because you’re commiting to going it again, and even if the first day’s writing could’ve been a fortunate mistake, the second day is already dedicationand write something different, riting, because apparently I’m not all that ready to give up writing yet. To write something personal. (Because writing about lesbians wearing 1940s clothes and setting their hair in pincurls and studying Art History is apparently not personal enough.)

And two, to acknowledge the fact that Day Two Happens. I’ve yet to meet a writer who isn’t prone to self-doubt, at least occasionally. When I write regularlywhich I’ve done for 6 out of 10 past months this year, just a tiny bit more than all previous years combined usualI run on a combo of determination, conscious blindness to basically everything outside the apartment, blatant self-indulgence in the form of characters, settings and problems I’m interested in, and the semi-rational belief that the novel in question will pay off, in the end, whether by being notably less sucky than my previous novel, or by entertaining me for a few months, or by getting positive reader reviews (because that’s a thing that’s apparently possible, once you actually start getting said novels out of said apartment).

Deep breaths, Wrimo, deep breaths. Because, if there’s one thing I know, without a single ounce of doubt, it’s that Day Two will be over soon, and there will be nothing left for you to do than write to see Day Three, when there will be a whole new set of issues, which will make Day Two seem like a walk in the park.

Just hang in there a little longer!