NaNoWriMo Log #2: Week 2 Blues

Nia Simone McLeod
Nov 16, 2020 · 3 min read
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

This is a weekly log as I attempt to take on NaNoWriMo during November 2020. NaNoWriMo is a yearly writing challenge that dares writers to write 50,000 words (a novel) in a month. In these logs, I’ll discuss the ups and downs of my writing process: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 |Week 4 |

I spent most of Week 2 exploring the possibilities of my novel’s plot. This is both deathly terrifying and very exciting. Act 1’s outline was detailed and semi-strict. Act 2’s outline, on the other hand, left a lot of room for creativity.

Relying on your creativity alone is like bungee jumping without securing the harness. When you’ve got inner critics lurking in the back of your mind, it’s even scarier.

For instance, I spent a lot of Week 2 progressing the main romance between my main character and her love interest. Through their interactions, I’ve realized that both of them have the personality of generic-brand mayonnaise.

While writing these chapters, my inner critic is saying: “If you can’t write the story perfectly the first time, what’s the point in writing it at all?

In my mind, there’s a constant fight between creativity and perfectionism. One side tells the story while the other picks it apart.

Every writer on planet Earth has said that first drafts are supposed to be terrible. So, why am I expecting to have a crystal clear plot, characters, theme, etc. as I write my first/discovery/vomit draft?

This inner conflict dampened my mood during Week 2. I wasn’t excited to write. But, once I made time for writing the story flowed like water.

Every day during Week 2 I got over 2000 words. By some spark of magic, I got a whopping 3656 words on Wednesday, November 11th. If I give the story permission to present itself, it reliably shows up.

Freelance Writing vs. Creative Writing

With NaNoWriMo, there are no expectations. I’m able to write whatever comes to mind. No judgment, no editing, nothing — just me. Shifting from the freelance writer brain to the creative writer brain feels awkward and unnatural. This is ironic because storytelling has always come naturally to me ever since I was a kid. It’s funny how your brain changes through repetition.

Being creatively freed takes a lot of getting used to. But, it’s all about showing up and doing the work.

What’s Going on During Week 3?

I’m still dealing with my nagging inner critic — but I’m learning how to better manage them. I visualize my inner critic as being like Angela from The Office, but a lot more condescending. (You may be wondering how that’s even possible. I promise you — it is.)

Every time I write, I face my inner critic telling me that I’m not good enough. But, I’m going to keep showing up. I visualize this as me smacking my inner critic in the face. Sorry, Angela.

Week 2 (11/8–11/14) Word Count

How did your second week of NaNoWriMo go? Are you dealing with those Week 2 blues too? Let me know what’s up with y’all in the comments section below.

________

Subscribe to my newsletter for a new, curated list of creative inspiration from people of color every week.

Buy me a coffee to directly support the publication and newsletter!

Nia Simone McLeod is a writer, content creator, and pop culture enthusiast from Richmond, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram for more dope digital content.

oh, write

A Black woman’s writing journey.