Keep These Things in Mind this NaNoWriMo

It’s only a day away until the start of NaNoWriMo, are you excited? Nervous? NaNoWriMoParticipant-2014-Square-Button can be a fun experience but also a stressful one. Trust me. But don’t fear! Here are eight things to keep in mind during your noveling quest:

 

1. Reading is like Oil

This is a sure fire way to keep your imagination rolling! Read your favorite author’s books and get sucked into their world. Some writers don’t agree with reading and writing at the same time because they feel that the author’s style may seep into their own. However, reading before writing isn’t a matter of imitating the craft of another writer, it’s about keeping your imagination on standby. Read for enjoyment!

2. Keep a Journal Handy

There’s nothing more frustrating than forgetting a perfect scenario, idea, or conflict that would’ve brought your novel to life. Unfortunately, ideas have a way of popping up when you aren’t near a pen or paper. You can eliminate this frustration by keeping an idea journal nearby. It may also be a good idea to keep a second journal around for freewriting in order to shake off the cobwebs before delving into your manuscript.

3. Be Open

It’s a wise idea to be in a receptive mindset in order to cultivate ideas for both current and future manuscripts. Also, try to be open to new ideas that pop up during the drafting phase. Forcing your novel in these new directions could be just the thing your story needs.

4. Be Closed, Too

Negativity can appear from anywhere: from the lips of our loved ones, from our bosses, from our supervisors, from the world, or even from a complete stranger. However, the wellspring of negativity is strongest within us. Heck, writers have even given it a fancy name: the inner critic.

The critic is a major “fun sponge.”  It will find reasons to tell you why every idea you come up with is stupid. Not only that, but it will find ways to make you hesitate or doubt yourself. It’s your job to tell it “no.”

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.

-Steven Pressfield, Do the Work

Don’t get me wrong, the critic is a necessary force when it comes to editing but not with creating.

5. Claim Your Kingdom

When you sit down to write, make sure that it’s at a time and place that is comfortable to you. If you’re a morning person and you love to feel the rays of the sun kiss your cheek when you write—write then! If you like the feel of the carpet under your toes and a nice cup of java in your hands—write then. If you like to write in the dark with the sound of your spouse snoring—write then. Claim you spot and write like Kings/Queens.

6. Be a Time Thief!!

Always use any freetime given to you to write your quota of words. Write during your half hour breaks or as you wait for your kid in the school parking lot. If it seems like you don’t have time to write, try making a point of getting something written in the morning before starting your day. There’s always time…you just gotta seize it.

7. Follow the North Star

What got you into writing? Was it because you hoped you could make money? Become rich and famous? Was it for a loved one? Yourself? Maybe you have something to say or prove?

Whatever it is, make sure that it makes you feel like crap when you quit. Keep it in mind as you write your way through November and let it be your determination. Let it force you to the finish line and, when November is over, let it remind you that this is just the beginning.

8. Lastly, Have fun

Write what tickles your fancy and have devilish fun with it! (I don’t think I can explain that any simpler, do you? 🙂 )

 

Good luck out there, WriMos!

Create like a Child and Plot Without Structure

NaNoWriMo forces us to remember what writing is about: having fun, unleashing our creativity, and coloring outside the lines. It’s the perfect opportunity to break away from plot structure and rekindle our passion for pure imaginative storytelling.

How? By keeping it simple.

Centuries ago, Aristotle noted in his book Poetics that while a story does have a beginning, a middle and an ending, the beginning is not simply the first event in a series of three, but rather the emotionally engaging originating event. The middle is the natural and causally related consequence, and the end is the inevitable conclusive event.

In other words, stories have an origination, an escalation of conflict, and a resolution.

Steven James

I’m no genius; however, I think Aristotle may have been referring to this guy:

fiction

Keep it in mind as you sketch your story these next few weeks. Try to loosen up and plot without following rigid structures. Harness the spirit of NaNoWriMo and create like a child.

Besides, you can always edit it later…

Preparing for the Evils of Camp NaNoWriMO

Hand grenades?

Check.

Squadron of elven archers?

Oh, didn’t see you there.

I don’t know about you, but writer’s block has a tendency to ambush me in gorilla warfare fashion. I can’t afford any surprise attacks during Camp NaNoWriMo. Afterall, camp is suppose to be fun! So I prepared a list of evasive maneuvers that’ll keep me on my writerly toes.

 

  • Read Before Writing

When I first participated in NaNoWriMo I had fun during the first few days. Then after a week I started to slow down and procrastinate. In order to keep myself excited about writing I read for fifteen minutes before committing words to my manuscript. It worked like a charm.

  • Read After Writing

People usually stretch when they’re done exercising. The same should go for writing! I read for an extra fifteen minutes after a writing sessions just to cool down my imaginative muscle.

  • Write Without Restrictions

Having no restrictions on your imagination is easier said then done. But once you write without worrying about the way something sounds you’ll end up surprising yourself.

  • Outlines Aren’t Set in Stone

Don’t waste your energy struggling to keep close to your outline. It’s okay to veer away from it. Welcoming new ideas is a good thing not a bad thing.

  • Absolutely NO Editing

You can always do this after you’re done writing something. But doing it at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Ignore that inner critic, you can do it!

  • Freewrite Often

Freewriting or flash fiction is the equivalent of a warm up before a jog. I just sit back and write down whatever comes to mind. Once I’ve gotten in my creative groove, I jump into my manuscript.

  • Keep A Notebook Handy

I often tell people that I write even when I’m not in front of a computer. It’s true! I’m always—always—thinking up new ideas, themes, scenes, or whatever. But I can’t keep up with every thought. So I keep a notebook (or some device) around to log my flash thoughts into.

 

Do you have any writer’s block surviving tips?

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Looking Forward to Camp NaNoWriMo?

Shrieks!

Camp NaNoWriMo is next month!? I swear time moves faster than a heavily caffeinated radioactive squirrel (in case you didn’t know those move pretty darn fast).

Not familiar with NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it usually happens every November where you challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in a month. Camp NaNoWriMo happens in April and its a virtual creative retreat where you work on whatever project you want. For example, I’ve noticed that other bloggers are talking about writing poetry everyday, others are going to pen new first draft(s) for the month, and others are going to spend the month editing old NaNo projects. But it’s not limited to writing, you could do whatever you want this month. I know someone who’s going to scrapbook April away.

As for me, I’m going to try my hand at penning a new novel as well as finishing the first draft to Restitution (if I don’t finish it in the next week).

So what’s your creative goal for April?

*Picture Credit