Bonus, NaNoWriMo, Week 3 Pep-Talk

Are you NaNo-ing?  I wasn't going to this year. I had participated in Camp NaNo this summer, but then the week before I changed my mind. (I'm sure that never happens to you either. :D )

Anyway, I've been participating with NaNo in one form or another since 2008.  In all that time I have always participated with the Isle of Skye in Scotland, which added a few more small groups there and became a more conglomerated and infamous Scotland Elsewhere.  And you are thinking - isn't Detroit, Michigan a bit far away from Isle of Skye, Scotland?  Why yes it is! (If you don't believe me you can Google it.)  The Detroit SE group is thousands of people, all over, and there are good people and MLs here - I just never really felt deeply a part of it (more so over the last year when some of the group formed a FaceBook page).  I hope NaNo will consider breaking it into smaller chunks soon.

The Isle of Skye was small when I started there - it was a friendly, homey place, due in huge part to the ML - MarieRex, or Anastasia.  She seemed a bit older than the average NaNo-er but never felt ancient. She was extremely hands on, and full in with NaNo. She never seemed to want to publish a book, she just seemed to enjoy the annual challenge and being able to help others along the way. She would sometimes mention knitting and a shelf full of NaNo hard work.  My feelings and enjoyment of NaNo have been shaped greatly by Anastasia. We lost her last year, just before NaNo and apparently us fine, lost, bunch of lambs had no leader this year, so everyone just pitched in, in remembrance of our beloved MarieRex.  So, here is my pitch-in, the Week 3 Pep Talk.  If you are NaNo-ing this year, feel free to chip in. If you are looking for a Week 3 Pep Talk - Scotland Elsewhere has you covered.

Welcome to week three of NaNoWriMo.

If we were hitting the equivalent of week three in your story, we’d be at the mid-point, this morning.  And as James Scott Bell describes in his writerly help book: “Write Your Novel From the Middle”, this is the “mirror moment” for your main characters.  This is that time, in the middle of the story, where everything changes and your main character needs to take a moment to reflect about where they started, who they are now, and where they're going. (PS This mirror point can also inform your ending – so if you’re looking for clues about how your fabulous story is gonna end, take some time and reflect with your characters, so you can predict how and why your ending will be amazing!)

This week, your characters’ story goes down, down, down, into the very depths of despair, right before they decide enough is enough. (At which point they decide to kick butt gloriously on week four and fight their way to a big finish.)  NaNo kind of does the same thing on week three.  It is usually this week that you'll find yourself in one of three, often compromising positions:

1) You completed your word counts on every day, you completely on top of things, and your magnificent story is flowing into the world. Well except that you killed off your main protagonist, and minor character has taken over. And you have NO idea how to end this thing.

2) Things are probably normal (like “real world”) meaning you had your ups and downs and you’re probably a little behind or struggling to keep up at this point.  Sometimes your story’s taking detours, and sometimes your word flow is only fitting in between coffee consumption and potty breaks, but you’re fairly confident that you can wrap up your 50,000 words (even if they are slurred and blurred).

3) You are completely behind.  So far behind that you're thousands of words back sounds like an easy day.  Your story may not be going well, life got crazy, and now you’re wondering if it is worth the stress or the hassle to even bother to try anymore. Can I really make up 10 or 20k in a few days? I will never catch up there is no way I am going to be able to conquer 50,000 words. I may just have to try again another year.

Let me stop you right here.  It is completely possible for you to finish, even if you're 25,000 words behind.  Just don't give up! However, in my opinion, even if you don't reach the 50,000 words but you've worked on your writing consistently, it doesn't make you a failure, because you didn't give up and you made it all the way to the end. And the super, deep secret to NaNo is?  It’s to try to write every day. If you do this for the majority of month, the odds are very high that you've created a new and wonderful habit for yourself. So don't get hung up on the word count. The story is still out there and you are still here.

This mid-way point this is your chance to decide how both your story and your story’s story are going to end. What I can tell you is that if you can fight your way through all of the obstacles that you're going to encounter this week… You my friend ARE a writer.  A NaNo hero, just like the hero in your story!

You've got this! And if you ever think you don't, come back here to the forums and we’ll set you straight. Now, since there are only heroes and writers among you, I expect great tales!  Don’t forget to let us know how your week is going. Let us cheer you on. Let us help you cheer your characters on.  Let us help you through the deep dark.  Unlike your stories, where you are absolutely supposed to torture your characters, you my dear writer friend have friends.  You don't have to write it alone.  Now, back up and NaNo on with confidence!

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