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NaNoWriMo! NaNoWriMo!

Haven

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Anyone planning on joining again this year?
http://www.nanowrimo.org

We had a support thread last year, https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/nanowrimo-the-official-november-support-thread.151665/, and I thought it would be fun to drum up some interest for 2011.

For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. A man named Chris Baty started it back in 1999 when he realized that a lot of his friends were "One Day" novelists, meaning, they wanted to write a novel one day. He figured that there is nothing as motivating as a deadline, and there's nobody as productive as an already busy person, so why not challenge everyone to write their novels now?

I teach developmental writing, and last year I found NaNoWriMo to be an amazing motivator for my students. You can't become a better writer if you don't write, and NaNo provided an incentive, a community, and some pressure to get those fingers typing. I have 46 students signed up for this year, so even if only half of them complete it will be a really successful year.

So, is anybody with me?

I'm running weekly workshops at my college during October and November, and then two in December. If we have a PS NaNo group it could be fun to post them on here and that might give us some structure, as well.

I hope you'll consider it!
 

dragonfly411

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I had started to do this last year, but for some reason couldn't get it together. I'd like to try again this year though! Do you have any writing exercise suggestions to get juices flowing?
 

MonkeyPie

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I missed the deadline last year (got over halfway, then sort of fizzled), but I plan to try again this year! I was wondering when you would post this Haven. I'm looking forward to it. I think may continue with my book idea from last year, just starting where I left off.
 

Dee*Jay

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Can I play by *modified* rules?!?

I have the first draft of a novel that I wrote... um... over two years ago... and I even have comments back from an editor, as well as a couple of big ideas that need to be implemented... so... can I committ to just finishing the damn thing that I've already started?
 

Haven

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Woohoo! We have some PS WriMos!

Dragonfly--I have some exercises I use with my students to help get their ideas flowing. The one thing I tell my students over and over again is that writing is a process of discovery. The act of moving that pen across paper, or of typing those words out on your keyboard, actually stimulates new thought. So, the best thing you can do when you're stuck is to sit down and just write. I help my students develop this habit by doing regular freewrites, which I call "Write It Out" in my packet. I tell them they MUST write for the entire time of the freewrite, even if that means writing "I hate Professor Haven's class, this is so boring. I don't know what to write. The guy next to me smells like cheese." We do this because it is the act of writing that itself that helps stimulate thought, even if the content of the writing is questionable.

Here is the text from my course packet:
--------------------------------------------
Write It Out
You are going to be so over hearing this piece of advice by the end of the semester. However, know this: I only repeat information if it is really and truly important. This particular gem is, in my opinion, one of the most important pieces of information I will impart this semester.
If you need to identify your topic, one thing you can do is Write It Out.

To Write It Out:
- Give yourself the time and space to focus. In other words, get into your writing zone. Brew that cup of coffee. Steep that bag of tea.
- Give yourself a time goal, such as “I will write for ten uninterrupted minutes.”
- Sit down in your writing zone with all your writing tools and your writing assignment from class. Once you understand the assignment, put that pen to paper!
- You can start out by writing anything at all—the very act of moving your pen across the paper will aid your thinking. Remember, the process of discovery can only begin once you start moving that pen.
- If you’re stuck, write a statement about what you have to write about, such as “I have to write an essay in response to The Picture of Dorian Gray and I have no idea what to do!” You will soon realize how transformative writing is for our thoughts. Writing generates thoughts, and when you give yourself the space to just write, you’ll be amazed by how well it actually works.
- You should be closer to finding your topic at the end of your Write It Out session. If you still need to generate more ideas, give yourself another Write It Out session. Repeat until your topic has been found, or try one of the other handy dandy tips on this page.

Get Inspired
If writing it out doesn’t work, then you really need some help finding a topic. The next step is to find some inspiration. Your source of inspiration will vary based on you, your topic, and the kinds of things that get you going. I do, however, have some suggestions:
- Get thee on Google!
- Browse through a bookstore/library/airport/shopping mall
- Listen to your favorite music
- Ask around. Other people have ideas, too, and the odds are they’ll share them with you if you ask.
- Read around. Expose yourself to other people’s ideas by finding interesting books, articles, CD covers, song lyrics, et cetera.
- If you are really desperate, go to your professor or the Learning Center for help. That’s what we’re here for, after all. [/list]
--------------------------------------------
In the book he wrote about NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty recommends that you keep your pre-NaNo planning to a minimum, and that you begin thinking about the details of your story no earlier than one week before NaNo begins. He suggests that becoming overly invested in your novel before NaNo will actually hamper your writing because you'll be too concerned about getting it right that you'll feel paralyzed and won't be able to produce as much.

The workshops I'm going to offer at the school will help people commit, find the time, get excited, motivated, and geared up before November. It is only in that last week that we'll start discussing our ideas for our novels. Here are the workshop titles:

OCTOBER: PREPARING FOR NANOWRIMO
Workshop #1: Commit and Find the Time
Workshop #2: Gather the Tools You’ll Need
Workshop #3: Discover Your Muse
Workshop #4: Discover Your Story

NOVEMBER: 30 DAYS AND NIGHTS OF LITERARY ABANDON
Kickoff Celebration/Write-In
Week 1 Write-In/Workshop: Woohoo! I’m Writing a Novel!
Week 2 Write-In/Workshop: What the Heck Was I Thinking?!
Week 3 Write-In/Workshop: I WILL Survive!
Week 4 Write-In/Workshop: Please, No Autographs
Down-to-the-Wire Write-In/Celebration

DECEMBER: LIFE AFTER NANO
I Wrote a Novel. Now What?
Spread the Love

I'd love to post e-versions of these workshops on PS if anyone is interested. It will help keep me motivated, that's for sure!
 

Haven

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MonkeyPie|1317408305|3029887 said:
I missed the deadline last year (got over halfway, then sort of fizzled), but I plan to try again this year! I was wondering when you would post this Haven. I'm looking forward to it. I think may continue with my book idea from last year, just starting where I left off.
Woohoo, MP! I fizzled out last year, as well. I didn't do enough mental preparation, I think. And, I was in the middle of writing another novel and I just felt like I was cheating on it every time I sat down to write my NaNo piece.
 

Haven

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Dee*Jay|1317408682|3029895 said:
Can I play by *modified* rules?!?

I have the first draft of a novel that I wrote... um... over two years ago... and I even have comments back from an editor, as well as a couple of big ideas that need to be implemented... so... can I committ to just finishing the damn thing that I've already started?
You can do whatever you'd like, Dee*Jay!

However, Chris Baty strongly advises against using a work that is already in progress for NaNo. He believes that you're less likely to be able to really pound out those words if it's a piece you've already worked on because you're going to be overly invested, and thus too concerned with "getting it right" the first time to really reach that insane 50,000 word goal. But I'm not going to tell on you if you pick up your WIP for NaNo! :cheeky:
 

Dee*Jay

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Haven|1317409938|3029924 said:
Dee*Jay|1317408682|3029895 said:
Can I play by *modified* rules?!?

I have the first draft of a novel that I wrote... um... over two years ago... and I even have comments back from an editor, as well as a couple of big ideas that need to be implemented... so... can I committ to just finishing the damn thing that I've already started?
You can do whatever you'd like, Dee*Jay!

However, Chris Baty strongly advises against using a work that is already in progress for NaNo. He believes that you're less likely to be able to really pound out those words if it's a piece you've already worked on because you're going to be overly invested, and thus too concerned with "getting it right" the first time to really reach that insane 50,000 word goal. But I'm not going to tell on you if you pick up your WIP for NaNo! :cheeky:
LOL, I'm not sure I'm even overly concerned with getting it right the SECOND time, but it will be fun to play with all of you! (Not to mention I've been dragging this thing around in my laptop bag on every flight I've taken for the past six months thinking I will somehow become inspired at 30,000 feet... but all those free cocktails just inspire me to SLEEP, not REVISE!!!)
 

Dee*Jay

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How exciting--I just went on and logged in for the first time in two years! (It's a good thing all my passwords are the same and I NEVER EVER change them... :rolleyes: )
 

Octavia

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I'm tentatively in. I don't have a job lined up yet in the city I'm moving to, so the timing is perfect -- I'll get there in late October, just in time for NaNoWriMo, and this will help keep me intellectually occupied while I'm not working. If I do find a job, I might have to bow out for the time being, depending on schedules and such, but for now I'll toss my hat in the ring. I'd absolutely be interested in e-seminars, Haven! Thanks for offering!
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Oh man, it's already been a YEAR since the last one?? I totally pooped out on this since I started grad apps a week into NaNoWriMo. I'm not sure if I'll be able to commit the time to doing it this year (yay credential/masters year!) but I'll be around to support you guys!

ETA: Can I cheat, and modify this and use this month to at least write one short story? :)
 

Haven

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Yaaaay, Octavia! Welcome! I'm glad NaNo might catch you at a good time!

I want to recommend Chris Baty's book No Plot? No Problem! for anyone who is serious about this year's NaNo. It's an easy, inspiring read.

ETA:

B.E.G.--Welcome, lady! Hey, I say if NaNo encourages you to write anything more than you would have written, it's a good thing!
 

Octavia

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So Haven, I decided to take your advice on just writing to get myself opened up...and I started a blog! I have no idea if I'll be able to keep it up, but I figure one post per day for the month of October will help get me in shape for the marathon to come. :)) I told my hubby about NaNoWriMo and he was really excited that I'm going to try it. I'm definitely going to read that book you mentioned, as I really don't have a starting point in mind yet. I've always been much better at nonfiction, academic-style writing than creative work, but I've had a craving to open up my creative side lately. This could be fun...
 

Haven

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Go Octavia! That's so exciting, to start a blog.
I think you are definitely on the right track, lady!

I can't wait to hear about your budding blogger progress. ;))
 

Haven

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Hey WriMos!

I'm hosting our first pre-November workshop at the college tomorrow and I'm super excited. 46 of my students signed up, so even if only half of them stick with it, we're going to have a great group!

I wish I could post the handout for tomorrow's workshop, but it's seven pages long so it's not like I can take screen shots. I'll make a PS-friendly post with the info tomorrow.

Anyone else interested in joining us this November?
 

merilenda

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I might give it a try, especially if I haven't found a new job by then. It'd be a great project. I might need to hunt down the book you mentioned since I never have any ideas on what to write.
 

SweetPeach

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Oooh fun! I tried a few years back and fizzled out. But I think I'm ready to try again, so count me in! :)
 

Haven

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Woohoo! More PSWriMos!

I just finished my last workshop for the day. We have a large group of WriMos this year at my college, so this is going to be fun! I'll post later with a PSified version of the workshop, in case anyone's interested.
 

Haven

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A no-frills version of the handout I provided at today's workshop:

Workshop #1: Commit and Find the Time

Why NaNoWriMo?

Ever thought about writing a novel?
Love to read novels?
Have something to say?
Looking for a creative outlet?
Have a lot of extra time on your hands?
Feeling bogged down by the monotony of life?
Looking to spice things up a bit?
Feel the need to achieve a goal?
Looking for a challenge?
Bored?
Aimless?
Looking to infuse your life with some passion?

If any of the above statements apply to you, then you are in the right place.
If none of the above statements apply to you, but you still want to sign up for
NaNoWriMo, welcome! You’re still in the right place. You don’t need any reason to be here other than the simple fact that you want to write a novel, darnit.​

Whatever your reason for being here, the important thing is that you want to write a novel. Now, we all know that wanting something isn’t enough. You may be thinking that, while this whole write-a-novel-in-a-month thing sounds like fun, it just isn’t practical.

Read on, friends, read on.
------------------------------------------

Chew on This

THE TIME IS NOW.

In No Plot? No Problem! author and creator of NaNoWriMo warns against being
a “One Day” Novelist—that is, someone who plans to write a novel “one day.”
If you want to do something, anything, including write a novel, the time is now.
You will never again be as young as you are right now.
You will never again have as much life left ahead of you as you have right now.

So, I have to ask: What are you waiting for?

BUSY PEOPLE GET THINGS DONE

Are you a very busy person? Is your To Do List so long you could fill an entire roll
of toilet paper with items? Do you fall into bed at night and count all the things you
didn’t get to in your very busy day? If so, this is great news! Why? Because busy
people get things done. This may sound crazy, but it’s the truth.
Think about the last time you had a whole day all to yourself, with nothing planned,
and no obligations to anyone else? How productive were you on that day?
The truth is people get more done when they have things to do. Plain and simple.
So, if you’re thinking you may be too busy to take on NaNoWriMo, you’re wrong.
☺
In fact, busy is perfect.

WRITING IS DISCOVERY

You may be thinking that even though you want to write a novel, you don’t really
have any ideas just yet. That is okay. In fact, that’s perfect! Writing is a process of
discovery, and when you give yourself the time and the space to write, the ideas will
come to you. That’s a fact. Ask the next brain scientist you meet, she’ll confirm it.

THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO BECOME A WRITER

Want to be a writer? There’s only one way to do it, and that is to write. Every single
day. Just as runners run, and drivers drive, and guitarists guitar, writers write. Now is
the time to become the writer you’ve always wanted to become. Join us. NaNo.

---------------------------------------------------------

What Are You Signing Up For?
(Or, I should say: For what are you signing up?)
50,000 Words
30 Days
1 Novel

You may be thinking “I can’t write a great novel in one month!”
You’re right.

But you can write the first draft of a crappy or mediocre novel in one month. As good old Ernie used to say:
"The first draft of anything is shit." - Ernest Hemingway
Talk about eloquent, eh?

In No Plot? No Problem! Chris Baty makes a great analogy about writing:

He compares the first draft of your writing to a newborn baby. Have you ever seen a newborn? They come out all wrinkly, covered in stuff I don’t even want to think about, their noses smushed and their eyes scrunched up. There is nothing pretty about a newborn.

But then some time goes by, the proud parents bathe their new baby, put a bow in her hair, her face smooths out, and poof! Your Facebook feed is filled with pictures of a beautiful, smiling baby girl.

Writing is a lot like babies: a little bit ugly when it first comes out, but with some cleaning up and attention, it is eventually ready for its close-up.

All you need to do during the month of NaNoWriMo is get that baby out, wrinkles and all.
THEN you can worry about making it pretty in December.

------------------------------------------------------

Make a Real Commitment: Put It In Writing

Now it’s time to separate the talkers from the walkers.
I’m going to ask you to do two things right now:

1. Sign The Month-Long Novelist Agreement and Statement of Understanding

This is right out of page 37 of Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem! (Have you bought a copy for yourself yet? You really should own one.) There’s something about signing your name to a formal document that makes it feel official, isn’t there? I’m going to have you sign the agreement and give it to me so I can hold it over your head mid-November when you’re behind your word count and you need some tough love.
Here’s the text from the agreement, just so you can remember what you signed up for:

I hereby pledge my intent to write a 50,000-word novel in one month’s time. By invoking an absurd, month-long deadline on such an enormous undertaking, I understand that notions of “craft,” “brilliance,” and “competency” are to be chucked right out the window, where they will remain, ignored, until they are retrieved for the editing process. I understand that I am a talented person, capable of heroic acts of creativity, and I will give myself enough time over the course of the next month to allow my innate gifts to come to the surface, unmolested by self-doubt, self-criticism, and other acts of self-bullying.

During the month ahead, I realize I will produce clunky dialogue, clichéd characters, and deeply flawed plots. I agree that all of these things will be left in my rough draft, to be corrected and/or excised at a later point. I understand my right to withhold my manuscript from all readers until I deem it completed. I also acknowledge my right as an author to substantially inflate both the quality of the rough draft and the rigors of the writing process should such inflation prove useful in garnering me respect and attention, or freedom from participation in onerous household chores.

I acknowledge that the month-long, 50,000-word deadline I set for myself is absolute and unchangeable, and that any failure to meet the deadline, or any effort on my part to move the deadline once the adventure has begun, will invite well-deserved mockery from friends and family. I also acknowledge that, upon successful completion of the stated noveling objective, I am entitled to a period of gleeful celebration and revelry, the duration and intensity of which may preclude me from participating fully in workplace activities for days, if not weeks, afterward.

_______________________________________________ _______________________
Signed Date

_______________________ _______________________
Novel Start Date Novel Deadline

2. Create an account on www.nanowrimo.org

The NaNoWriMo website is chock full of helpful resources, motivating videos, and other people who are as crazy as you are, and are also trying to write a novel in 30 days.

After you sign up, search for me on the site and we can become writing buddies. My name is “LoriO”. Then, search for other local WriMos and anyone else you know, and buddy up with them, too.

Discover Your Writing Community

There are so many ways to get involved with other writers, WriMos or not.
Here are just a few:

Local WriMos
Check out your regional WriMo homepage for information about local write-ins and other local area writing events. (Can be found on www.nanowrimo.org)

NaNoWriMo Forums
WriMos from all over the world gather on the NaNo forums to discuss everything from writing tools to favorite snacks. Join the conversation!

Goodreads NaNoWriMo 2011 Group

There’s already a general NaNoWriMo 2011 group on Goodreads, and you should join that one, too!

Discover the Time and Space You Need to Write

FIND THE TIME
The Time Finder

On page 41 of No Plot? No Problem! Chris Baty details a great little tool for carving time out of your busy schedule to write. He calls this tool The Time Finder. Sounds like something out of Harry Potter, right?

THE TIME FINDER
Here’s how it works:
• Record everything you do for one week
• Highlight all necessary things in red, all high priority things in blue, and all unnecessary things in yellow
• Plan to eliminate all of the yellow items from your life during NaNoWriMo
• Schedule your writing time based on all the space you have just freed from your schedule. Voila!

FIND THE SPACE
Your Writing Zone


Writers have writing zones. Your writing zone is that space you go to when you want to get serious about your writing. Your writing zone is like a magical little cave you can crawl into whenever you are in serious need of some good, quality, writing time. Everything is great in the zone. You do your best writing in the zone. It is vital that you find your zone.

My current writing zone involves an overstuffed sofa, a warm blanket, at least one cat or dog curled up next to me, and a table within reach that holds a mug of hot coffee, a pen, my notebook, and most importantly: silence. This is the environment in which I do my best writing, and this is my zone, so back off. You need to find your own zone. ☺

Maybe you do your best writing in the local coffee shop by your house with your iPod and some hot cocoa, or in a study carrel at the school library, or at your best friend’s house with music blaring in the background, or at terminal B6 at O’Hare airport. Whatever it includes and wherever it is, you need to find and claim your own writing zone.
 

Nomsdeplume

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Thanks Haven! That was very helpful and you have convinced me to give it a try. :)
 

Octavia

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Thank you, Haven! I leafed through No Plot? No Problem at the bookstore today and it was pretty straightforward and helpful. I might pick up a copy after I've finished moving.

A VERY interesting thing (IMO) happened to me today. I know you're not supposed to do a lot of research before starting to write, but I think my novel is going to be set against a historical background so I need to refresh myself on some of the events that will feature in it. In doing so, I found out that some people who had a variant of my last name were major players in the women's suffrage movement in the US! Not as famous as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, etc., but they were good friends and colleagues of theirs. We can pinpoint exactly when and why the spelling of the name was changed in my branch of the family, and given what I know of the history, it is extremely likely that the people I was reading about were distant relatives of mine. I'm so completely jazzed about this, and I never would have known if I hadn't signed on. After NaNoWriMo is over, my next project is going to be to delve into the genealogy to see if I can figure out where our point of connection is!
 

merilenda

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Haven, this is sort of off-topic, but I came across you on Goodreads from the NaNoWriMo group and added you. I swear I'm not stalking! Maybe we should start a PS group over there (that's not against the rules, is it?)

Your tips were very helpful! I've been thinking about what I want to write, and I have a few ideas! About how many pages per day do you need to average for 50,000 words?
 

Haven

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Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
Kribbie--Welcome! I'm so happy you'll be joining us!

Octavia--Wow! That is really an amazing discovery. I can't wait to hear more. You must be over the moon with this information.

Merilenda--I just saw you on GR, yay! Thank you for the add. :)
To reach 50,000 words in 30 days, you'll need to average just under 1,700 words per day. A typical Microsoft Word document with 1" margins, and 12 pt font (I use Garamond) will hold about 600 words per page. So, you'll need to write about three pages a day if you format this way. Piece of cake, right?! ;-)
 

Haven

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I just gave the second pre-WriMo workshop today. Here's the text from my handout:

Workshop #2: Gather the Tools You’ll Need

STOCK UP!

Your Writing Tools

Go on, admit it. You have a favorite pen. You love that pen so much that you’d chase someone out of the classroom and down the hall if they accidentally took it at the end of class. It’s okay, I’m with you. I have a favorite pen, too. And I will chase you down if you try to steal it.

Take this time to stock up on the writing tools you’ll need to be successful in November. It could be a pack of your favorite pens, a particular type of paper or notebook for jotting down ideas. Do you need a new jump drive to save your work? Go out and buy it now!

Whatever you need, collect the items now so you will be ready to go come November 1st.

It’s Not Just About the Writing

Writing tools extend beyond the things that we use to write. Maybe you like to listen to Indigo Girls on repeat when you write. That’s cool, just make sure they’re on your iPod or whatever it is you use to listen to music.

In No Plot? No Problem! Chris Baty talks about writing totems, objects that you wear while writing to “inspire your super heroic abilities.” (76) Maybe it’s your older brother’s college hoodie, or a wide-brimmed sunhat you bought for a vacation you never took years ago. Whatever the object is, a writing totem functions to help you get into the writing zone. You put it on, and wearing it changes you, it inspires you to buckle down and write.

I have a writing totem, but you’re going to have to show up to our write-ins to see what it is.

Fuel for Fiction


Writers cannot survive on words alone. This is why we consume copious amounts of coffee. Or tea, Kit Kats, coffee, water, coffee, cookies, green peppers, coffee. Okay, so you may not love coffee as much as I do, but you still need something to fuel your writing fits. Figure out what it is you’ll need, and prepare. I make sure I begin November with a fresh bag of my favorite coffee beans so I don’t have a meltdown during Week 2 when I realize I’m out and cannot spare the time it takes to run out to Costco to buy more. We can’t have that sort of disaster, now, can we?

ROLE MODELS

Models as Inspiration


Chances are you are going to need some inspiration at some point during NaNoWriMo. As a writer, your best writing inspiration will come from a book that you love to read. Haven’t read any books that you loved? Well, then you should seriously consider spending the next few weeks before November searching for a book to love. First, it’s a real shame to make it this far in life without a book to love, and second, a good book serves as the best kind of role model for an aspiring writer.

The more obvious model for writing is the writing guides. Chances are you’ve seen a writing guide or two during your time as a student. Writing guides have all sorts of handy information about usage and mechanics, and if you find yourself stuck in the middle of a write-in because you can’t figure out how to format a dialogue scene, you can seek out a writing guide for help.

Shame as Inspiration

While a great book can serve as wonderful inspiration for a writer, let’s face it: There is nothing more inspiring than the desire to avoid public humiliation. The good news is that you can use this knowledge to force yourself to win this November. Here’s how:

Brag shamelessly about the fact that you are planning on writing a 50,000 word novel during November. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell the barista who sells you your latte. Post it all over Facebook. Tweet it. Tell every single person you encounter that you are writing a novel. This way, they are all going to expect you to produce the goods on December 1st, so when you’re in a slump in the middle of November, and you’re thinking you might as well just quit, you’ll remember that everyone is expecting you to finish, and you’ll persevere. It all comes down to this: Write or be ridiculed. Relentlessly. What’s more inspiring than that?

In addition to bragging shamelessly, it’s a great idea to bet on your success during NaNoWriMo. Do you hate doing laundry? (I do!) Bet your significant other (or roommate, parent, sibling, etc.) that you are going to write 50,000 words in November or you’ll do his or her laundry for an entire month. This way, you’ll be faced with the decision of either finishing NaNo (and getting all your laundry done for you for a month) or quitting and folding someone else’s underwear for 30 days. See how easy it is to inspire yourself?

YOU GOTTA HAVE FRIENDS

Writer Friends


If you joined us for our last workshop, you heard me discuss the importance of joining or creating a local writing community. Writer friends are not only helpful in encouraging you to keep on typing away throughout the month, it’s also nice to know that you have someone who understands what you’re going through. When you show up to class mid-November in the same clothes you wore last week, your NaNoWriMo friends will understand.

It’s also worth remembering that the people with whom you surround yourself have an influence on you, whether you like it or not. Chances are you’ll be far more motivated to reach your writing goal if you have writer friends who share the same goal.

Cheerleader Friends

So, the chance of any of your friends sitting down to write anything may seem as unlikely as a snow-free January in Chicago. That is okay! Your friends can still help you make it through November by being your cheerleaders. Or, worst case scenario: offering a shoulder to cry on should you need it at some point.

Tell all of your friends about NaNoWriMo, and see which ones seem to be the most supportive. Ask those friends to check in on you during November. A quick question about your word count may be all you need to get motivated to keep on writing. Maybe someone will even offer to bring you a dinner or two when the going gets really tough. You’ll never know until you ask!

Skeptical Friends

The best thing about people who don’t believe in you is that you have the option to prove them right, or better yet, to prove them wrong. You know the friends I’m talking about—the ones who scoff whenever you tell them your plans to do something big. The ones who will tell you you’re crazy for even thinking you could write a novel, let alone a 50,000 word novel in one month.

These friends can be your secret weapon against the muffled muse. When you find yourself parked in front of the television with little motivation to continue writing, think of the friends who are going to take pleasure out of saying “I told you so. I knew you wouldn’t be able to do it.” And then prove them wrong.

WHAT TO PURGE

Dump Your Inner Curmudgeon


Anyone who has taken my writing class is probably thinking “Wait a minute! We spent all that time developing our Inner Curmudgeons. Now you want us to dump them!?” Yup, you got it. It’s time to call it quits. It's time to break up with your Inner Curmudgeon.

Anyone who hasn’t taken my writing class is probably thinking “What is she talking about?” Sorry, let me explain:

Every writer has an Inner Curmudgeon. Your Inner Curmudgeon is the critic who lives inside your head, and judges every single word you write down on paper. He’s a real jerk, that Inner Curmudgeon. He hates you. He hates your writing. He’s basically always hoping that you will fail, and he has no qualms about telling you just how close you are to doing that. My Inner Curmudgeon is an angry, crotchety, irritable old man named Hal who wears a cheesy homemade knit vest over an old flannel shirt. He has a big nose, and his arms are always crossed over his chest. And he has a huge vertical crease between his eyebrows from frowning all the time.

As a student, your Inner Curmudgeon can be quite useful, because he helps ensure that you don’t submit garbage to your professors. But as a WriMo, your Inner Curmudgeon will do nothing but wreak havoc on your word count. Whomever your Inner Curmudgeon is, whatever his name, you will need to silence him for the month of November. Remember: NaNoWriMo is about getting that first draft written, no matter how good or bad it is. We’ll welcome our Inner Curmudgeons back in December. Until then, no self-criticism allowed.

Destroy the Evil Time Suckers

Nobody likes to admit it, but we are all guilty of allowing things that don’t really mean all that much to us to take up our precious time. Ideally, you’ve already identified the Evil Time Suckers in your life by completing the Time Finder we discussed in last week’s workshop.

Everyone has different Evil Time Suckers, but the important thing is to identify them, and purge them during November so you can focus on your writing. (If you end up giving them up indefinitely, even better!)

Evil Time Suckers are easy to spot: They’re things that require a lot of time investment, but they pay very little rewards. My Evil Time Suckers are a bit embarrassing, but I’m going to share them with you to show you just how much I care: reality television and jewelry forums. That’s right, I watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and I go on jewelry forums and look at people’s jewelry. But not during November, no siree. In November, I am down to business. The housewives will have to wait, and I can pine away for pretty baubles come December.
 

Cehrabehra

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
11,071
I'm signed up to do it again, but last year we didn't do much with it here... we never could find you to buddy up with and BEG and Aimee and I kinda floundered... I'm doing something against the rules this year but I'm totally okay with it - it's something I *really* want to do and this is going to be my encouragement to nose/grindstone and all :)

ETA - I sound bratty above lol I don't mean it that way
 

Black Jade

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
1,242
I'm in.
But I'm cheating also. I'm going to work on a work in progress.
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
Cehrabehra|1318549578|3039761 said:
I'm signed up to do it again, but last year we didn't do much with it here... we never could find you to buddy up with and BEG and Aimee and I kinda floundered... I'm doing something against the rules this year but I'm totally okay with it - it's something I *really* want to do and this is going to be my encouragement to nose/grindstone and all :)

ETA - I sound bratty above lol I don't mean it that way
Haha, Cehra, I dont' think you sound bratty at all.

You're right, we didn't do much on PS last year at all. That's partially my fault. I'm recommitting to PS NaNo!

I don't want to break the rules, but one way to find me is to look at my region's forum. I've been pretty active there this past week.) (I come from the land of deep dish pizza and Al Capone! ;-) )
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
Black Jade|1318550375|3039769 said:
I'm in.
But I'm cheating also. I'm going to work on a work in progress.
Woohoo! I'm so happy you're joining us.

I think it's smart to work on a WIP, actually. Last year I tried to put my WIP aside and focus on a new project for NaNo, and that is why I crashed and burned. I couldn't neglect my WIP!
 

Cehrabehra

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
11,071
As much as I would love to finish my novel from last year (I think it would be fantastic) there's no way I'd subject it to a november again... it's historical fiction and while I had the basic outline just fine, I became paralyzed to write about things without researching them and then I started thinking a new location would be better... and I found myself researching several hours a day and finding myself with less and less to actually *write* lol

This time I'm doing something absolutely selfish and I'm writing an autobiography or memoir. I had a unique childhood growing up in san francisco with a hippy dad and a disco mom and I have a crazy memory about things (my first memory is before I could even sit up in the crib and my second memory is while I was still crawling... and after that they start coming by the dozens...) and I just feel such a need to purge this stuff out. So, not a novel but still... it was so unusual it *could* read as fiction lol

There was the machete holding hells angel I asked if he'd ever killed someone...
There was the fight between two men that my father "mediated" while I babysat their guns...
Going to the kabuki club as a very little girl back when bath houses in SFO were what they were...
My very unconventional birthday parties, at least once the kids left lol

Anyway, the strange part is that I had such a great relationship especially with my dad and everyone was so HONEST with me and not shameful, that I grew up without feeling bad about my experiences, without feeling like a victim... in fact it was like watching an interesting movie and I just want to get these experiences on paper...
 
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