Gentle readers, it has been a week.
Empathetic critters, such as myself have taken a hit. Not only from personal issues, but from the rising level of hurt, angry rhetoric, senseless killing, and crumbling ecosystems. So I’m stepping back. I’ve left my social media site for a very restful and cleansing week and have decided I’d like to get back to the other side of this website.
I’m not just here for flowery posts about helping your fellow humans, finding the light, being the better the world needs… I’m also here to inspire you in your artistic endeavors.
Now I don’t know much about all the arts, (Bob Ross, I ain’t), but I know a few things about the written word. What little I do know I want to share, because others shared it with me and boosted me up when I flailed for solid ground.
So today’s post is about writing. Specifically one of the greatest tools I have ever used to get my novels started, finished, and published.
Ladies and Gents, tomorrow begins the 2018 NANOWRIMO (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth).
Nothing will test your writing muscle like being under a 50,000 word deadline in 30 days.
Impossible? Actually no. But it is a challenge.
Precious few of us have the luxury of spending our days with uninterrupted time to dedicate to our writing. Most of us have jobs, children, families, and obligations, which can make the 1700 words a day seem unattainable.
But I’m here to tell you it’s within your reach. And what’s more, it will help you cull the nasty, time-wasting habits that keep you from doing your job as a writer.
When your time is limited, and the word-count is great, three major things happen;
1.) You stop farting around on the internet. Yep. You heard me. (Actually, you just heard my mother speaking through me). When you only have thirty minutes here and twenty there, and maybe ten in the car, you no longer have the luxury of scrolling through the latest cat videos or Pintrest-ing the hell out of your meal plan for the week. Ten minutes, you will learn is enough to get a good few hundred words in if you focus.
2.) You stop self-editing. What’s more terrifying to the creative process than Facebook Life envy? Um…you’re sitting on its butt. It’s you. You are. You feckless human. You who judges the words and sentences while they’re barely hitting the page. We don’t have time for your inner critic. And what’s more and better, the word-count box doesn’t care. It doesn’t care what the words are, if they are grammatically correct, if they contain gaping plot holes, or confusing tense. It just cares that the words are there. Which is all you should care about anytime you write a first draft.
3.) You begin to believe in yourself as a writer, even when things get tough. Somewhere in the middle of the month, when the bar graph is starting to catch up to itself and you’re hitting the doldrums, you’ll start to wonder not just if you’ll finish, but if you’ll ever want to write again. Some days will be bad, and barely a thought will come. When you reach these places of stagnation you’ll somehow find the outright stubborness to keep moving, even if the plot goes a little wonky or you lose/gain characters that make no sense. You’ll get over humps and realize that you are capable. And that, as G.I. Joe used to say, if half the battle.
It’s just words, people. Just a lot of beautiful words.
And, kids, this is your time. Life doesn’t get any longer. If you really have a novel in you, a pile of papers on the back burner that you’ve put off for far too long, this is the time.
It is now.
Go to the website, and create an account, free of charge (though donations are always welcome and needed!)
Hold yourself accountable to your writing.
I’ll be popping in for a few short blogs during November but most of my words will be playing on a different field for the month.
Good luck! I look forward to hearing from those of you participating and drop me a line if you need any warmth or encouragement.
This is the year you write your novel, I can feel it.