NaNoWriMo: Encouragement For the Weeks Ahead

*Originally Published on I Came For The Soup… November 6, 2017

The first week of NaNoWriMo is behind us with many more blessedly ahead. Some of you have achieved your daily writing and creative goals while others may have missed your designated marks shy of a few words.

No worries. You will achieve your goal if you stick with it. Consider the first week of NaNo as your glorious warm up.

The fact still remains that when we set out with a great goal and miss our intended marks at the very start, we tend to lose momentum or even the courage to continue. Our plans seem not to be as ‘plausible’ as they were before…and then we drift…staring at our computer screens too afraid to make music by clicking the keys of our keyboards.

Can we really do this? Can we conquer our vision for NaNoWriMo? Everyone else around us seems to be doing just fine.

I would like to take this time to give you a bit of creative advice especially in moments when our creativity seems to get the best of us and cause knots to form in our bellies as well as our creative thoughts.

MY ADVICE AS YOU PRESS AHEAD

  1. My advice to you is to simply breathe: We as humans, have this tendency to back ourselves into corners of overwhelm. Our overwhelm is sometimes the result of negative imaginings that have nothing to do with the truth. If you feel yourself going there, take some deep breaths and reclaim your thoughts with calm.
  2. Take pauses when you need to. Take a few steps back if you are feeling overwhelmed: Some of the best solutions to our roadblocks are creating gaps by stepping away from the problem. By doing so, we are able to see what is before us from a different vantage point and gain other solutions. By stepping back from your nano project, you are able to reclaim the joy of the writing adventure by seeing it for what it is, an adventure!
  3. See other Creatives as community not competition: Sometimes when we are racing toward a finish line we tend to turn our eyes and focus on those around us. Let’s make it a point to no longer see other creatives as competition but community.

Be encouraged by what your neighbor has done and take hope in knowing that you can do it too but in your own unique way.

Don’t give up! There are several full weeks left ahead. Keep your focus, keep your peace, and keep writing!

“We work in the dark — we do what we can — we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” ~HENRY JAMES

 

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 5 of Countdown)

There are now less than 24 hours left before the worldwide writing frenzy of NaNoWriMo begins! Before you begin, I would like to give you my last token of creative advice.

CREATE A SOUNDTRACK FOR YOUR NOVEL

Now, I imagine that this may have you thinking of soundtrack in the same way one thinks of a movie soundtrack. Well, that is not exactly what I am referring to here.

Movie soundtracks are designed to lead the audience in a specific emotional direction while watching the movie unfold. If a romantic scene is on the horizon, cue the sexy music. If suspense, then in comes the music that gets your pulse racing.

mobile-phone-iphone-music-38295

With the soundtrack for your novel,  collect tracks that get you into the head of your characters and reminds you of the spirit of your story as a whole.

Now there are songs that you can gather that help you to build certain scenes, similar to the way movies do, and those are helpful as well.

For me, I generally have specific songs for each of my characters. This helps me to keep every one authentic. Writing a novel in 30 days can cause a bit of character confusion if you are not careful. Soundtracks per person can help eliminate that.

HOW TO USE THE SOUNDTRACK:

Remember music is a muse. When I need to let my mind rest and my fingers stretch from a long stint of typing, I use this time to sit back, close my eyes, and listen to the songs that I’ve gathered that reminded me of my characters and my plotline.

This way, even while resting, I am still allowing my imagination to keep working on the story.

Think of it as an imaginative interlude and meditation. And trust me, it helps a lot.

A COUPLE OF BONUSES!

If you have time, check out sample chapters to my next novel, but FIRST EVER 30-Day Novel, WARDEN  (eBook and Paperback COMING SOON!)

Check-in next week for  The Muse in the Music, just to give you a deeper dive into how music shapes our creative process.

BUT…

Should music not be the muse and medicine that you need to keep in tune with your characters (pun not intended) then try this writing prompt that I created, Coffee With Character…or Tea. The exercise is all about getting to know each individual character in your story on a more personal level.

For instance, knowing your character likes to wear red socks on Monday may not be something you add to the story itself but it is something that helps you, the writer, build the world of their personality. It’s an intimate nuance that sheds greater light on their behaviors.

As laughable as it may seem, a person that specific with something as trivial as sock color will be less prone to certain behaviors, while apter in yielding to others.

FINAL 5-DAY CREATIVE ADVICE RECAP

So here is another brief recap of NaNo Tokens:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest reader’s eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage. (Click HERE for full article

TIP 4. Keep a “SPICE RACK”  of ideas  and scenes in a separate word document

TIP 5. Create a playlist that reminds you of your characters and plot, that you can meditate on during downtime.

BONUS: Check out my debut novel, NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, my first published piece born from a 30-day writing marathon like NaNoWriMo, both in eBook and Paperback.

NG 3D JPEG
eBOOK AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON!

Most importantly, just have fun. Write because you can. Write because you want to, and write because your imagination is worth the time to share!

Cheers! and Happy NaNoWriMo!

“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.” ~DORIS LESSING

 

HOW TO TACKLE NANOWRIMO: MY ADVICE TO YOU (DAY 4 OF COUNTDOWN)

*Revised from October 2015, 2017

Token 4: KEEP A “SPICE RACK”  OF IDEAS  AND SCENES IN A SEPARATE WORD DOCUMENT

Years ago, when I first started blogging, I made mention on my creative ministry site, I Came For The Soup, of separate documents that I keep alongside each novel that I work on which contains ideas, scenes, etc pertaining to that story. Now to be clear, this document is NOT an Outline. It is what I call a ‘Spice Rack.’

pexels-photo-256318Assuming (again) that you are already a seasoned writer, I am pretty sure you are familiar with the process of your creativity ‘jumping ahead’ of your story as you write it. For example, you may be working on chapter five when suddenly some thrilling scene pops in your head that has nothing to do with the current flow of the story BUT it somehow fits, like a glimpse into the future. You just don’t know where.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS SCENE?

If you are smart, YOU WRITE IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY! and you store what you have written in the, you guessed it, spice rack document. (And when I say write it down, I don’t mean write ABOUT it, I mean actually WRITE it as if that is where you are in the novel. This will save you time later and give you the full feeling of your characters’ future selves.)

These scenes may not fit immediately into the storyline, but they do count toward your daily word count and overall word count goal. As you continue writing you will surely find out that this ‘homeless’ scene you took a pause to build early on around ‘chapter five’ was actually the climax of chapter twenty-seven! (Glad you wrote it down when it came to you, aren’t you? )

WHEN DO YOU USE YOUR SPICE RACK?

Keep in mind that writing a novel is kind of like making soup from scratch. You have all the basic ingredients, but as the stock is cooking there are times that you taste test it and find that it just needs something to give it that little extra kick. What do you do? You go to your spice rack.

As you grow deeper into your novel during NaNoWriMo, you will draw toward moments where you just feel like something is missing. This is where you open up your spice-rack-document and grab one of those seemingly out of place bits of writing that you cranked out of nowhere.

For me, there were conversations, heated ones, that my characters who hadn’t even met yet, were having somewhere in the future, and as I kept writing I subconsciously built my way into each one of those Spice Rack scenes.

I have actually been doing the ‘Spice Rack’ since I was fourteen years old…I am now old enough to have a fourteen-year-old.

So here is another brief recap of NaNo Tokens:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest reader’s eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage. (Click HERE for full article

TIP 4. Keep a “SPICE RACK”  of ideas  and scenes in a separate word document

BONUS: Check out my debut novel, NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, my first published piece born from a 30-day writing marathon like NaNoWriMo, both in eBook and Paperback.

NG 3D JPEG
eBOOK AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON!

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” ~JODI PICOULT