Greetings, dear readers!
It’s the first Friday of the month, and time for A Drift of Quills to get together and chat about books and writing.
You may also have noticed that it is November, and November means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). While Patricia is off flitting about the countryside, Kristie and I are knee-deep into the crazy, wonderful writing frenzy that is NaNoWriMo.
Do you know what that means? Hundreds of thousands of people around the world leap headlong into the challenge of writing a novel (50,000 words long!) in thirty days. (Though if I wrote through Thanksgiving Day, I would probably be stuffed and roasted!)
Writing is a passion. A passion driven by voices we hear in our heads. Driven by stories that need to be told. Don’t be afraid to let them out. Nurture them like they are your children and let them blossom into fruition. Most of all—live your dream.
I love writing—and yet I struggle to write. Last year I let someone convince me not to participate in NaNoWriMo. “You can set your own thirty days any time of the year,” he said. So I did.
And I didn’t.
As a result, I wallowed for a long time in a stinking pit of discouragement and gloom and doom.
The thing is, I like the challenge of that goal, and I like the little competitions between buddies. I like the Pep Talks and the camaraderie and the sense of excitement. So here I am again, pushing up my sleeves and leaping into the frenzy of thirty days of literary abandon.
You might see me around, but then again you might not. The effort is a little intense.
Not for the first time,
I’ve found that my best writing time is at night. I can’t blame Hubby for objecting, so I’m trying my best to reroute my productivity and do most of my writing in the morning. So far, no luck! If anyone has any helpful ideas about reprogramming the ol’ gray matter, let me know!
In the meantime, here are some good ways to get some work accomplished, whether you are a morning person or a night owl:
- Schedule your time, whether it’s five minutes or five hours. Own it.
- Turn off the distractions (tv, phone,
husband—I mean internet, radio, etc.…). Some days I write better with music playing in the background, some days not so much!
- Make sure you’ve got a supply of chocolate within easy reach. And a beverage. I’ve heard water is good for you.
- Do some warm up exercises. Jumping jacks are great if you can handle it, but ten minutes of free writing are also recommended. Try WriteOrDie, if you dare. Or just open up a blank document, set a timer, and write as fast as you can. Content, grammar, and logic don’t matter. It’s very … freeing.
- Take breaks. I know it sounds counterintuitive (“I just HAVE to finish this one scene/word quota/whatever!”), but your body needs to move and that movement can actually provide you with time to work through a scene or come up with something wildly awesome. Mindless chores are the best for that kind of thing.
- When you must stop, leave off in the middle of a scene. Or even as sentence. You probably already know which direction it’s going, and it’s easy to pick up again.
- Before you start a scene, make a quick sketch of what it needs to include. Again, you’re not striving for a Pulitzer here. Just get down the bare bones.
- I haven’t had much success with this, but I like Chuck Wendig’s advice to “Write with your internal editor gagged and shoved in a box.” I need to find a nice, roomy box for my inner editor to kick back in.
- Celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Kristie says so, and I trust her.
- What, you were looking for a nice, even number of suggestions? Ha!
PATRICIA REDINGAuthor of Oathtaker
I admit I’ve never participated in the event known as NaNoWriMo. I can’t even pronounce it, and I have to check other sources for how to spell it every time I need to use the word, or acronym, or whatever it is. Suffice it to say, I don’t know much about it. Still, from what I’ve heard, it sounds like an amazing venture …
The closest I’ve ever come to a NaNoWriMo effort was during a summer week when the rest of my family went camping. Blissfully alone (and, I confess, not lonely), I set out to write the opening of my new story …
… (Read more!)
Author of the short story, Sanguis Dei and a poetry collection, Light and Dark
NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is upon us! If it’s possible that you’ve never heard of it, the NaNoWriMo website says this:
“National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.”
Sound crazy? You bet! But it’s wonderful, too. Why?
… (Read more!)