This week, Becca Campbell gives you some tangible tricks to beating the monster of Resistance, the big bad boss of week two.
Congratulations You made it to Week Two. Yay! Now, can I rain on your parade? No? Well, here I go anyway…
I’m going to be bluntly honest with you. Week two is the worst week of this challenge. It’s the week your story hits its halfway point—that slogging, muddy middle where you have no idea how you’ll make it to the end.
Week two is when you lose your buffer of surplus words (if you even had a buffer). It’s when you run out of ideas. It’s the point where you realize that everything you’ve written is total garbage. It’s where your story suddenly derails because your plot-train jumped the tracks and ended up at the edge of a cliff, barreling ahead over nothing but thin air at a hundred miles an hour.
And should I even mention the outside forces trying to pummel you off track? Your boyfriend starts asking why you’re too busy to answer his texts. Your friends remark that you’ve gone AWOL. Your neighbors complain that the grass in your yard is a foot high. Your wife asks when you’re going to get groceries because the fridge is empty, and oh, by the way, have you fed the kids today?
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls these forces “Resistance.” Week two is when all these forces of Resistance come to a head. Suddenly, it feels like every living creature in your world does not want you to write that book.
Week two is when most writers quit.
There’s only one way to make it through week two. You have to make a decision to fight Resistance.
I’m not saying you should break up with your boyfriend, tell your friends to shove it, curse your neighbors, or abandon your family. But you do have to protect your story. You’re going to have to fight for it like a puppy playing tug of war. You have to sink your canines in and refuse to let go. You’ve got to be determined to defeat Resistance.
I’ll be straight with you: without that determination, you won’t make it into next week.
Do you want to be one of those that gives up this week? Or one of the proud few who barrels ahead through the mud, through the rain, past every roadblock that Resistance puts up? That refuses to give in no matter how many hurdles you have to leap? Decide now, because it’s up to you and only you.
If you’re going to overcome Resistance, you need to stay on your toes, to keep savvy, and to be ready for anything it throws at you. You absolutely CANNOT slack off this week. Next week, sure. Take a day off if you want, even two. But not in week two. This is the critical hour—the moment of truth! Don’t give Resistance a foothold.
Resistance is going to come at you this week, and you’re going to need a plan to combat it. So think about what you can do now, before it strikes.
Maybe you’ll bring your lunch to work and write over your lunch break instead of going out to eat so you can see your boyfriend in the evening.
Maybe you’ll give up your favorite show for the entire week so that you can juggle both writing your story and seeing your friends.
Maybe you’ll spend a little extra cash and pay for someone else to mow your yard (clean your house/watch your kids/deliver dinner) so you can spend an extra hour or two writing.
Maybe you’ll forgo an hour or two of sleep every day so that you can work when Resistance is snoozing away (read: your family is asleep).
This is where you have to get creative. I know you’re creative because you’re a writer. Don’t say you aren’t creative—because you are. What creative ways can you find to squeeze in a few little moments for writing? Here are some of my own wild ideas. Take or leave them:
- Take your laptop with you when you go to the bathroom. (Gross? Maybe, but hey, writing a book takes sacrifices! Lysol, anyone?)
- Dictate your story to your phone or tablet when you’re driving/exercising/cooking/doing chores. Find an app for dictation or use Siri. Really, you can do this during any activity that doesn’t require high concentration or socialization.
- Give up all social media (except to post in the JuNoWriMo Facebook group once a day). How many minutes do you think you spend watching funny videos or scrolling through random Facebook posts? You’ll be surprised at how much time opens up when you give this one up.
- Don’t begrudge even 5 minutes. I see people posting online all the time that they don’t have time to write. Are you kidding me? If you had time to log onto Facebook or post to Twitter, you had time to write! With even just a quick, five-minute sprint, an average-paced writer can get a hundred words in. Some people can get even more than that. If you collected all those little 5-minute windows throughout your day, how many words could you achieve?
It’s only a week, after all. You can handle anything for a week. Life will go back to normal soon. But this week you need to fight with everything you’ve got.
Make a Decision
What will you do when Resistance strikes? I want you to stop right now and think of a plan. How can you fit a little extra writing time into your day? Make a list—what are three creative ways to fit in more writing time?
Now, I want you to sink your canines in. You’re going to do these things this week. You won’t let go of your story, no matter how much Resistance puts up a fight.
One last thing—I’m going to challenge you to write twice a day every day this week. I’m dead serious about that. I want you to put two solid writing sessions into every single day this week. I don’t care how you come up with them, but come up with a plan. Do it now.
You got it? Twice a day is your ticket to beating Resistance this week. Like brushing your teeth. You wouldn’t let cavities win, would you? Don’t let Resistance win either.
The good thing about writing twice a day is that you can’t ever get very far from your story. Twice a day means you will never go a full 24 hours without diving into your book. Your story will never get cold. This is critically important to finishing this week. Keep that story boiling-lava-hot. Write twice a day.
Now get out there and show Resistance who’s boss.
Becca writes New Adult (college age) fiction that’s typically Urban Fantasy but often ranges anywhere from Science Fiction to Thrillers. Her writing typically involves a bit of the fantastical with an emphasis on relationships. She is addicted to thinking up cool, super-human abilities and the tragic downsides that go along with them.
You can start reading her Flawed series for free.
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One Reply to “Pep Talk Week 2: The Dreaded Week Two Blues”
These tips are all terrific. I’ve especially found that using small amounts of time helped me so much. I was challenged by the fact that there were a couple of days each week where I simply did not have a block of uninterrupted writing time, so by setting low goals for those days (500 words or less, just something on the board) and using the 5 minute increments of time I did have, these days did help contribute to my overall total.