NaNoWriMo: Week Two Pep Talk, Part 2


As some of you may have experienced already, Week Two can be a brutal one. So that is why you are getting not one, but TWO pep talks this week.

Veteran Wrimo Jessi wrote this up for us to emphasize that as challenging as life may be sometimes, we can still make our wordcount and finish with 50,000 words by the end of November. She has every year for the last eight.

So without further ado, here’s what Jessi has to say!


I think I can say with a certain amount of confidence that I expect a disaster to happen -every- year in November.

I realize that’s not very positive thinking, but during NaNo, you need to prepare yourself for the worst. Week two – the hump week, the week where people give up and give in to not finishing – is upon us. For many people, this week is a struggle. I want to tell you, however, that you can do it. No matter what live throws at you, you CAN finish NaNo.

In 2008, my NaNo was off to a bad start from day one. I had come down with a terrible case of strep throat just days beforehand. I spent my first week high on cold medicines, sucking ice, drinking tea, and trying to find the energy to write. That was also the year I finally worked up the nerve to attend my first write-in – and the year I realized what power writing in a group can have on you.

Of course, that was the year that one disaster wasn’t enough. The last week of the month, my beloved cat Wyn had his second bout of feline cystitis. I spent the last four days of NaNo in and out of vet offices. Wyn pulled through with flying colors, however, and so did I – I managed to write about 55k that year, sealing another NaNo victory.

So if I can write with strep throat and a sick cat, you can get through that second week.

In 2009, disaster struck again about halfway through the month. It started with my food tasting weird – not bad, but not quite right. It evolved into me convinced I was having a stroke – it looked like my face had gone a bit lopsided. My wife and my hair stylist comforted me, but by the time I attended our Thursday-night write in, the right side of my face was completely numb. My smile was one-sided. I couldn’t close my eye. I spent the write-in half in tears, especially when a member of the group told me I “probably had Bell’s Palsy”. The doctor confirmed his guesses the next day – I indeed had Bell’s Palsy, a temporary paralysis of the face that had affected my right side. The rest of NaNo became a whirlwind of headaches and doctor’s visits and general lopsidedness.

Despite this set-back, I was determined to not let anything stop me from writing. I managed to pull through and finish not only 50,000 words, but the very last words of my novel by November 30th. It was a huge victory, my best year of NaNo yet, and I had half a smile to prove it!

So if I can write with half of my face numb, two MRIs, a CT scan, a root canal, and a lot of drool – you can get through the second week. I promise.

If you hang out on the forums and have seen my post about backing up your novel, you already know my Tale of Woe for 2010 – a failure to back up my novel on my part resulted in me losing 12,000 words on day 3. While nothing medical happened that year (thank goodness!), it was still a huge setback. I cried. I sent Sara messages telling her I quit, I gave up, I didn’t want to write anymore. Friends rallied around me and kept me going, and I managed to get it all back – and once again, I managed to hit that magical 50k by the end of the month, despite a setback in the beginning.

So if I can finish 50k after deleting a quarter of my novel, you can get through week two – and three, and four.

Disaster will strike someone this November – the odds are not in my favor! – but you need to keep going. You need to persevere. NaNo is a battle of wills, it’s about writing word after word, no matter how bad they may sound, no matter what is going on around you. It’s about carrying that notebook so when you’re stuck at the vet’s office or in the neurologist’s waiting room, you can get those extra words out and never give up. It’s about backing up your novel, carrying it with you, and never losing a single second that can be spent writing.

If disaster does strike you this November, work through it! I know you can – your MLs, Sara and Christie, are here to help you get through it – and as a long-time NaNo vet and Expert at November Disaster, I’m always here to talk to.


We miss having Jessi here in person, but she is here with us in spirit and you can also find her on our forums and in the chatroom! Thanks for your words, Jessi. I know they’ve helped me out this week.

I hope this inspires those of you who are struggling (and even those of you who are not) to join us at one (or both) of today’s write-ins today! We have the library write-in at 12pm and the write-in at Dillons at 2pm.

And remember, at the end of Week Two we get to celebrate surviving at our Halfway Party! It’ll be this Friday, November 16th at 7pm at Johnny’s North. I’ll post an RSVP form on the forums this week, so if you think you can make it, let us know!

Wishing you all fast fingers and bountiful muses,

Sara and Christie

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