The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad – Week Two: The Revival

Good morning afternoon? evening? I don’t even know anymore because I’m writing this at 10:22 on Monday night, Cyberspace, and welcome to the end of NaNoWriMo, Week Two!

Last week, if you remember correctly, I asked you all a very important question. A question so deep and intricate that it probably blew your fragile little brain meats.

I asked if u were ded.

And the reason I asked this was — naturally — because I, myself, was ded.

and if you are not currently aware, ded is the new writerly slang for dead. obviously. (GET WITH THE TIMES, CHILLINS)

To be perfectly honest with all of you, I’m pretty sure I was dead by the fourth day of NaNoWriMo. I leapt into the month with the mindset that every. single. waking. minute. of every. single. November. day. I was going to be writing. And when I wasn’t writing, I would be working on Christmas presents. And when I wasn’t doing that, I would be writing some more.

With a little bit of extra writing on the side, naturally.

And somehow, in all of the excitement and anticipation and thrill of the month, I completely forgot about the one thing that every single person needs.

Rest.

That’s right, folks. I am apparently not a cyborg, because by day four (or whatever day it was [I can’t even remember the first week of NaNo, guys. {#help}]) I was completely and utterly burnt out. My creative well was dry, my mind was a foggy blur of stories and butterflies and possibly a hallucination or two, and I really just did not feel well. At all.

I’m not sure if you guys have ever suffered from writing burnout before, but I can tell you right now that it is draining, crippling, and honestly just makes you feel like a wadded up potato for about a week straight.

Not to mention the fact that any and all productivity takes a deep and downward spiral the minute the burnout hits.

And while I would love to think that my mind could handle non-stop writing for 30 days on end (#ALLOFTHEWORDS), it is my sad reality to finally discover that, alas. It cannot.

And let’s face it, my fellow marshmallow friends — nor should it.

The world has programmed us into believing that we need to be more.

We need to write more.

We need to read more.

We need to blog more.

We need to be more productive.

We need to do this and that and that other random thing we forgot about and more, more, MORE.

And when it comes down to NaNoWriMore, we need to write MORE WORDS. MORE STORIES. MORE EVERYTHING.

And I believed it. I believed that annoying little voice that told me I had to be more until, eventually, it got to the point where I felt guilty — literally guilty — for not doing something “productive”. Week One of NaNoWriMo speaks volumes on that head.

Last week was one of the absolute worst writing weeks I’ve ever had, and that, astonishingly, is not an exaggeration.

I don’t even remember half of it, but I can still taste it.

In my head.

(this sounds weird, but IT IS THE TRUTH, OKAY?? [also it is gaining on 11 o’clock pm, so HAHAHAHAHAHA — sleep-deprived metaphors, anyone???)

And while the first week of NaNoWriMo was quite literally one of the most terrible writing weeks I’ve ever had to suffer through, I now realize that it served to teach me a very important lesson.

A lesson that I, in my inspirational glory, shall now impart unto you:

If you’re like me, writing is your passion. Sure, you have a boatload of other things you love doing — flaying your fingers on the violin, reading good stories, playing Pokémon and Zelda and Mario — but writing. Writing is your dream. It is your drive. It’s the thing that makes your heart beat to a slightly disjointed and warped — yet perfectly unique — rhythm.

it is what sets your inspiration on fire and sends you spiraling downwards into a pit of swirling insanity hahahahahahahahahahahahaha–HACK

Writing is the air that you breathe.

But sometimes, it’s easy to forget that writing is also work.

And sure, perhaps you just love writing SO MUCH that it isn’t like work to you, and that’s absolutely wonderful! Keep doing you, Bob. But even if that is the case, there’s still the issue of how doing too much of any one thing can be extremely toxic to your mental health.

And there is such a thing as mental health, folks.

Let’s look at it logically, shall we?

Work, whether we like it or not, is good for us. Work helps us grow as individuals. It teaches us. Strengthens us. Makes us better and more knowledgeable humans.

Likewise, carrots are good for our physical health. Carrots are delicious. They are vegetable. They are yum.

And they also help strengthen and improve us physically.

Now, even though carrots are delicious and are technically “good for us” physically, if all we decided to eat for 30 40 3000 days straight were carrots, we would all turn into mushy orange alienesque beings that grow weird, feathery green things out of our scalps.

Basically it would just be a very unhealthy scenario, okay.

In the same way, if all we did for 30 40 5,000,000 days straight is write, our brains would squish into mushy potatoes and rotted brain cells and we would all eventually die.

probably.

HOWEVER.

If, in addition to our yummy carrots, we eat some broccoli and green beans and a couple burgers and possibly 3,000 cookies, we’ve suddenly adapted a healthy (#sohealthy) diet — one that works for us, instead of against us.

#logic

And so, taking into consideration this brand new epiphany, I changed up my writerly mindset during week two.

Yes, I wrote. I wrote every single day. I wrote as mush as I possibly could, whenever I possibly could. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, but I also took time to do other things. Things that I loved. Maybe I didn’t love these things as much as I love writing, but they were things that I still loved, all the same.

I flayed my fingers a bit on my violin. I learned both parts to the Euros and Sherlock duet from Season Four of BBC’s Sherlock. (yes, yes, I am obsessed.) I popped in some earbuds and listened to music that inspired specific scenes in my novel, and before I knew it. . .

I was writing.

But I wasn’t just writing. No no, I was doing something much, much more than that.

I was having fun.

It has been a long, LONG time since I’ve had fun while writing, Cyberspace. Yes, I love it. Yes, it is my passion. Yes, it is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.

But to have fun while writing is a feeling that’s gradually grown foreign to me over the months. Writing has become like a job to me, almost a chore. And while I would love for my full-time job to be writing someday, I still want to have fun doing it.

And so, after talking it through with one of my absolute FAVORITE people in this entire universe, (hi, mom! *waves*) I’ve decided that I’m not going to stress about finishing the entire second half of this draft in one month.

And here’s why:

My favorite thing — my absolute, tippity top favorite thing — about writing is it’s constant, unexpected ability to surprise you.

Plot holes snap together like puzzle pieces without the slightest struggle, characters begin to live and breathe on the page after days of trying to fit them into a stuffy little box, worlds expand before your very eyes as your fingers fly across the keys.

And the best surprise of all — the one that gives me tangible thrills of excitement — is when the story is finally, and quite unexpectedly, finished.

The first draft of everlost was completed at 1:00 in the morning on a Sunday.

Seriously. 1:00 am.

And there are literally no words to describe the excitement and nervousness and elation that I felt at that very moment whilst sitting hunched on my little bottom bunk in the pitch blackness.

Sure, I had known that night that I was going to stay up as long as it took to finish the draft, but I hadn’t set a date as to when I needed to finish it. I just. . .knew.

And I want that to be the same with the second draft, as well.

(also, quick shoutout to my amazing and wonderful and beautiful friends who stayed up with me through that entire night just to cheer me on through the finish. Y’all know who you are, and I love you guys. Seriously. You da best.)

And so, I have decided to change up my goal a bit.

But before you go squealing in detestation and throwing your rusty pitchforks at me, no. I will not be changing it on the actual Dare Squad board.

That would not be fair to those of you who are eagerly awaiting my epic and certain failure.

(not to mention the fact that I kind of want to try all of these dares, hahahahahaha…ha…?)

Instead, it’s just sort of a head-goal. A goal that I’ve set in place in my mind, simply for my own personal use. I haven’t told a single soul what it is, and I’m not going to say it now. This goal is for me, and me alone, and if I actually manage to hit it — YAY! We shall all squeal and eat cookies together.

And if I fail, well. . .

Oh well.

But as far as anyone outside of my head knows, my ULTIMATE SUPER SUPREME goal is to hit the end of this draft by November 30th. And in a way, that’s still my main goal.

I just have a smaller goal apart from that now.

One that I might actually manage to hit by November 30th.

Basically, this November, I’m returning to the joy of writing. I’m returning to the excitement and the thrill and the stardust days. I’m returning to when I actually had fun while writing, and, guys. . .it feels really good.

But alas. That’s enough blechy information about me. You didn’t come here to listen to me rant and rave over my past week. You came here to talk about your stories and your progress and ALL of the lovely things you’ve done in Week Two of NaNo!

However, before we dive into all of that delicious discussion, there’s just one thing that I know you all literally cannot survive without. And that one thing is —


Kenzie’s Weekly Pep-Talk!

I ate a snail once.

. . .

It tasted like a slug.

. . .

. . .

. . .

This has been. . .

Kenzie’s Weekly Pep-Talk!


I’m so good at pep-talks, guys, wow.

In all honestly, though, my fellow Squadians, I think my words of inspiration for this week would be to just have fun this month.

Sure, you might look back on the words you’ve written in the past 30 days and think. . . Wow. This is really quite terrible. #oops.”

But just think about that for a moment. Wouldn’t you rather have a page full of terrible words that you wrote while having immense amounts of fun, than a page full of terrible words that were written with loathing and sleep-deprivation and burnout? Wouldn’t you rather have fun with your story than slug through every single sentence?

I know I would.

It’s completely your choice, Cyberspace. This is your November. Not anyone else’s. How you live through the days is entirely up to you, but I sincerely hope that you join me on this path of returning to what we love about writing.

To those of you who are completely crushing your NaNo goals, you guys are totally ROCKING it!! Keep going, my smol beans! You’re fantastic and amazing and deserve ALL OF THE COOKIES!

And to those of you who, like me, might be a smidge behind (or perhaps a thousand leagues behind, but whatever) don’t you ever give up. You might not hit your goal, but if you try your best, and you simply have fun, and you write as much as you can and as much as is healthy for you, I promise that you’ll be able to look back on this month, not as an epic fail, but as a month that had sunshine. A month that had miracles.

A month that had joy.

You’re doing amazing, my friend. I promise.

You’ve got this.



talk to me, peasants!

That’s all I’ve got for today, Cyberspace! How has Week Two of NaNoWriMo been treating you? Have you written ALL OF THE WORDS, or are you stumbling just a little bit behind today? Are you feeling discouraged? Did KENZIE’S WEEKLY PEP-TALK give you mass amounts of inspiration?

It totally did, what are you talking about.

What are some of YOUR Week Two epiphanies? Have you crushed or created any plot holes in the past seven days? HAVE YOU BEEN EATING YOUR COOKIES??? (I’m looking right at you, Jethan) Whatever your second week of NaNoWriMo has looked like, let us talk and discuss and cheer each other on about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below! I haven’t been as active on here as I’d like to be as of late, but I’m definitely reading and responding to all of you guys’s discussions. (It’s just taking me a while. Hahahaha…haha…#oops. [I’VE BEEN WRITING, DON’T JUDGE ME.]) You Squadians are seriously making this NaNo a true month to remember. Y’all are the best.

Oh! And before I officially sign off, there is just one teensy tiny little update I wanted to mention! A couple of you have said that you — like me — have changed your goals slightly. WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, by the way! Don’t you restrict yourself in any way, sir! However, I wanted you guys to have the option of having your NEW goal posted onto the Dare Squad board! Because it’s super fun to see your goal on a board, just saying.

So whether it’s increasing your goal, or just switching up your project a bit, if you would like your new, OFFICIAL goal posted onto the finalized board this Sunday (November 19th, aka DARE TIME, WHOOO!) then go ahead and simply tell me your new goal down in the comments below! I’ll be sure to have everything sorted out and fixed on the board by this Sunday! And don’t forget to come back on the 19th to check out the dares! You shall not be disappointed…

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

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