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Pep Talk by Willow Wood

We have a wonderful line up of guest authors geared to motivate you to knock NaNoWriMo on its bum. Today’s pep talk is written by the wonderfully talented and charming Willow Wood, co-author of Bloodshot Buck.

A Pep Talk by Willow Wood

One of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received is this: finish the damn thing. Write the first draft in all its shitty glory like a mashed up origami paper crane you tried to make once, but you made so many mistakes that when you finally folded the last corner, the thing looked it had survived twenty thousand storms at sea. Hey, you finished it. The next paper crane will be better now you know how to reach the end result.

Surviving NaNoWriMo can feel like your drowning in twenty thousand storms, that’s for sure. And your novel sometimes feels like the most crumpled paper crane you’ve ever had to suffer looking at. November is one of the busiest times of the year, who’s bright idea was it to write a novel on top of everything else? Did I sleep once? Did I hate people less? Does my room smell like energy drink and tightly-strung nerves?

It’s okay. Right now, you’re not trying to write an academy award winning novel. Right now, you’re trying to write your ideas, your main story. You’ve got to write it first to know what it’ll really look like. It’ll win you the Booker Prize after you’ve revised the entire thing for the hundredth time by next November. But first: you’ve got to finish writing the whole thing.

Aw shit, written yourself into a hole you can’t fix? Back-track. Bail out of that mission. Have your characters turn around and say: nope, we’re going to do something else because there’s no way forward. You might not even need to fix that scene when you revise it in January—your characters arguing and bailing on the initial idea might actually turn out to be better than you remember.

Are you stuck? Fresh out of inspiration? Hurt a character. Awful things happen out of the blue all the time. Have someone trip and break their hip, or throw wine over a newly revealed painting. More dramatic? Someone gets run over. A plane crashes. Or a side-character you were holding onto too tightly fails their mission and is severely injured, or even dies. Death and injury will always shake up the protagonist’s world and, hopefully, force them to act.

Aw double shit, does it feel like the story is going absolutely nowhere? Like nothing is adding up as it should, their motives aren’t genuine, and fuck it, this is stupid? No, no it’s not. Don’t let the crippling monster of self-doubt ruin you now. You don’t know if things are adding up until you reach the end, and the first draft of everything is shit. I stand by this always. I remind myself of it constantly when I’m writing so I can worry about making my novel not-shit during the rewrite/editing stage. You are a bold writer for agreeing to meet such a tight deadline, and goddammit, if we can take selfies on the moon then you can write 50,000 words in thirty days.

Read for FREE at BigWorldNetwork.com

Read for FREE at BigWorldNetwork.com

Thousands of people start writing a novel. Very few finish writing a novel. The more novels you start and finish writing, the easier the process becomes and the better your writing gets. It’s true. The process of writing a novel gets easier the more drafts you complete. Measuring your skill as a writer is harder than most other pursuits, but as with everything in life, it’s a skill you hone through practice. NaNoWriMo is one of the best times to throw your inhibitions out the window and pour words onto the page until you reach the end, because if anyone can write a brilliant first draft in thirty days…  Well, gold stars to them, I suppose. For the rest of us, for the majority of us, it’s an exhausting, emotional slog where we undulate between confidence and self-doubt.

Just keep going. Say it with me: the first draft of everything is shit. Your story, however? That is not shit. Your story will shine through all the broken sentences and dead-end scenes like a fractured geode, and later you will polish the heck out of it until the colours gleam.

Even if you write 50,000 words but don’t finish writing your story before the end of NaNoWriMo, keep going. Don’t let your momentum fade, don’t give up on your first draft. It needs you. It needs you to reach the end. Make notes on things you want to rewrite, but don’t fall into the trap of rewriting the opening chapters over and over again but never writing the ending even once.

Drink water now and then, have a friend cook you something decent, prioritise your time like a well-oiled military machine. Keep going whenever you can.

Look after yourself, but don’t give up on yourself. You can win NaNoWriMo.

Bio

Willow Wood is a voice actor and fantasy/science-fiction author. Her latest work is as co-author and narrator of Bloodshot Buck. She is also an editor for BigWorldNetwork, a freelance editor, and a journalist for MCM Buzz at London Comic Con.


Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed today’s guest post and don’t forget to check out Doug Goodman’s pep talk on the 23rd.

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Day 18: Pushing through

Picture taken by me. :)

Picture taken by me. 🙂

With the end of the race rearing in fast, I thought I share something I put into practice with my son as well as in my own writing these past two days.

My son’s teacher is constantly calling me to let me know my son refuses to write. He will literally sit there, hands in jacket pockets, fiddle with his paper for over an hour, or get his book out and start reading (Sound familiar?). My son hates writing with a passion, but I have to give him credit for preferring to read over writing.

What does this have to do with NaNoWriMo? Well, I had to think of a way to have him write more.

writing

So, I placed a sheet of paper in front of him, had him number each line all the way to 15. His goal was to write on anything he wanted until he reached that 15th line. The next day I had him do it again, only this time I had him add in another line. For the four days (not including the weekends) he did this exercise, each day adding in an extra line.

He went from writing 15 lines to 19, not a great feat but a feat in itself. The teacher told me today that he wrote the most he has written all school year. 🙂 Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he continues to do so well. This exercise will continue until he can write on both sides of a sheet of paper effortlessly.

During the last days of NaNoWriMo, why not push yourself to write more. Set a goal and increase it each day. Urge yourself to write past the 1667 word count. Why not write an extra line, adding yet another the next day.

Take this practice upon yourself and go from writing 15 lines to 19, from 19 lines to an entire page until you can write two pages effortlessly. I promise you, you will see yourself grow as a writer.

And now for the word count.

11/16/14: 14835 (157 more than 1667)

11/17/14: 16916 (414 more than 1667)

See how my extra word count more than doubled from one day to the next? It’s a start. That’s 571 words less that I need to worry about. Though it still leave me with a goal of 952 words in addition to the daily goal of 1667 if I plan to finish this challenge. I can do this!

You can do this!

NaNoWriMo Halfway Mark: 25,000 Words

delayed

Day 16 of NaNoWriMo, one day after the halfway point (oops). Which leaves us with fourteen more days before this heart pumping, hair pulling, coffee and sugar adrenaline comes to an end. Is that good or bad?

For some of you, this 30 day writing spree is a walk in the park. By now you’ve hit that 25,000 word mark with minimal sweat. For the rest, it is pure chaos. You probably have fallen behind or worse, like me, gotten overwhelmed with other life duties, work, etc that you’ve lost track of NaNoWriMo.

Editing, revising, cover designing, and painting are a few of the things I am currently wrapped up in. You might have your own list, maybe even longer than mine. Now, these aren’t excuses but examples of one of the most important things we forget. When starting a huge task as writing a novel in 30 days you want to minimize your other projects, put aside those that can wait and make time for the rest.

Here are a few ideas you could put into effect to do just that.

  • Create a schedule if you haven’t yet. Make it as detailed as needed just don’t use it as an excuse to stay away from actually writing.
  • Breakdown your day into phases. Group the things you need to do in your day into most important, important, and least.
  • Keep the distractions at a minimal. Disconnect your laptop from the internet if you get tempted to surf it often. Put your phone on vibrate and tell your family and friends not to call you unless it is important for the next few hours.
  • Keep snacks and beverages at hand so that you don’t have to get up to get it. Distractions come at all times and manners, keep them at bay.
  • Take short breaks to stretch and rewind. Sitting down for longer periods can zap all your energy and concentration.
  • Create a prompt list for when you aren’t writing and ideas come to you about a new book. Write them down and forget them. It helps to keep your mind clear of things not related to your current goal: finishing that novel.

Have a few suggestions, tips, tricks you use to keep your mind sharp and focused on writing? Share them with us. Already read this week’s pep talk by Tamora Pierce, writer of the Song of the Lioness and Immortals quartets and require a little more motivational reading? I leave you with two articles I found enlightening to lessen those hard knocks that seem to cling to most of us during this time in NaNoWriMo.

Why So Many Projects Go Unfinished, and How to Finish Them

The Setback: How to Successfully Start Writing Again

And now the dreaded word count.

Current Word Count: 13,011

Words behind: 11,994

The Gears are in Full Swing (10,000 words and counting)

Picture courtesy of ImageAfter.com

Picture courtesy of ImageAfter.com

Yesterday was the 10,000 word mark. Did you pass with words to spare? Did you barely skid through? Or are you pushing that one more sprint to catch up? Whichever one you are, it is a great feat in itself to still be in the race. Congratulations!

For those of us pushing through here is another pep talk by the author of Divergent, Veronica Roth. Get inspired, get hyped, get writing.

And for those ahead of the race there isn’t time to slow down, keep at it. This Saturday is the Double Up nightmare. Yes, that is right. This Saturday is a mini challenge in itself where you push yourself to write twice as much. Instead of the daily 1667 shoot for 3334 words. Are you ready?

Plus, to top it off there is another mini event taking place today, Virtual Write In. Video will go live at 1pm PST. Don’t worry if you can’t take part right off the bat. You can always access the video later on and give it a go.

This post seems to have a little bit of everything. Talk about multitasking and turning up the heat, but that’s ok because November is a month to challenge yourself beyond your limits, to discover the greatness ready to come out, and to share that story you’ve been waiting all year to tell.

So, hit up those places that give you that extra push you need, bust out those tools that make keeping track of your writing easier, watch videos that inspire, and don’t forget to read. Just because NaNoWriMo is an event on writing, all writers should read almost as much as they write. The best tool you have are the books you love to read.

Here is what I am reading right now:

nightmareasylum SciFiFantasy

And here is my word count for the past few days:

November 4th: 1395

November 5th: 1286

Yesterday: 1736

Today: 462

Total: 10782

For those following my promo launch for A Prince From Another World, it has been altered to allow me time to write and keep my health from diminishing further. I wasn’t feel very well the past few days, thus the reason for the lack of posts and lower word counts. Plus my sanity could use some break as well. Instead of a five day promo launch I have decided to make a six day launch where every Sunday and Monday I post a promo blog. The promo launch will be extended to the 17th. So expect two promo posts on the 9th and 10th followed by the last two on the 16th and 17th.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to share your word count progress and any neat blogs or books you read during this long month of November.

It’s Official, We’re Crazy! (NANOWRIMO Hype)

Participant-2014-Web-Banner

Wow! Day four already and look I even downloaded the banner. Yeah, I say it’s official.

What is NANOWRIMO? It is surprising that there are still quite a few people who don’t know what all the hype is about or what the heck NANOWRIMO is. Now before you say it’s because not everyone writes or likes to share their progress in their endeavors, let me tell you that my entire writing club other than the instructor, had no clue. Even those who were published authors didn’t know that November was National Novel Writing Month. And today I posted my participation. The response I received: What is that?

Where am I going with this? Now my writing club knows about NANOWRIMO and they are hyped to take part.

So, check out the NANOWRIMO website, download a banner or heck download them all, and share the crazy. Why not share the coffee, chocolate and sugar rush craze that will ensue for the next 26 days? You know you want to. 🙂

Now go write, write, and write some more.

By this day you should have reached the 5,000 mark or be close behind. Wait, what?!  Before you pull an hour rush like I did last night to meet that word count, take the time to really organize your mind. What exactly are you writing? Writing for the sake of writing won’t be enough for this event. You don’t want to finish and end up tossing half of what you spent the last 30 days writing because it wasn’t useful.

This event is not only suppose to help you get past that dread of never finishing something but its suppose to train you into believing that you CAN write a novel in 30 days. And it doesn’t have to be a draft you want to burn, hide, or toss into the river. Who says it can’t be a good, decent, and solid first draft? Quite a few well known authors bust out a book every month, some in shorter time.

Here are two books to help you rope in those words you really need and ignore those that you don’t.

WriteRight

makeeverywordcount

Make Every Word Count by Gary Provost sums it up very well. Make every word count!

And talking about word count here is mine….

Yesterday: 1803

Today: 444 (It seems it is going to be another last hour dash.)

So far: 6347

Pep Talks (Because you know you want to talk instead of write)

Challenge

Day Two of NANOWRIMO

The writing challenge is in full swing or at least should be. But what should one do if it isn’t?

One of the things I missed out on those two years I tried writing a novel in 30 days and failed was taking advantage of all the positive support and resources out there. Like I said before and will probably say 28 more times, there is a vast amount of information for your brain to soak up. There are books on how to do just about anything related to writing and otherwise, blogs and journals (if you still use livejournal), websites, and careers centered on helping writers write.

Our two previous blogs talked about getting a head start and brainstorming. We also dabbed in the topic of finding inspiration to write. But what if after all that writing is still coming at painful chunks, each more painful than the last?

dialogue

Pep Talks is one of those lovely resources we can fall back on. If you signed up for NANOWRIMO you might have already received your first one from Chuck Wendig, writer of The Kick-Ass Writer and 250 Things You Should Know About Writing. If you haven’t or didn’t get around to reading it yet go read it now. What are you waiting for? You’ll laugh and want to write Donuts in an empty field when your done reading it. And who knows maybe you will want to keep writing and knock off some of those words you need for today’s word count.

Or maybe you will want to write your own pep talk.

Maybe you’ll make a list of all the great things you can accomplish by treading through the thick mud and refusing to stop so early in the game.

After all:

  1. There are only 29 more days left, 28 if you managed to write today.
  2. You are less than a month away from having a finished novel to stuff in your drawer and never look at again. Or maybe you could try and share it with others and actually publish it.
  3. Think of all the characters you could kill off, marry, or toss in the meat grinder before you write HFA or HFN.
  4. What about world building? How could one say no to the opportunity to create the next world kids and people will be dreaming about?
  5. Or how about all the weird names you can give your characters? You know the world needs another Charlie and Rapunzel to drive us madly in love or insane, which ever fits your genre.

Or maybe you could skip the list and check out writing communities and writing support groups to see how others are overcoming each challenge NANOWRIMO throws at them.

The goals, dreams, desires are endless and so is wanting to hang up the towel and hit the sack. But remember you can still do those last two so why not wait till the end that way you get to really enjoy that overdue sleep while holding your novel in your hands?

Pep talk over. What? That was pep talk? Well it was my own twisted version of it. See how sneaky I was and slipped it by you. 🙂

And now for the results.

Word Count for today: 1578

Day Before: 2139 (1692 at the time of first blog post)

Total so far: 3717

I was able to write a little more yesterday and boost my word count past 2,000 for day one. That is a great accomplishment for me. 🙂 Hope you found this blog entertaining and motivating. Have a few other pep talks, motivational speeches you love, share them with us and don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for day two of my promo launch and day three of NANOWRIMO.

Passing that First Hurdle and Gaining Inspiration

National Novel Writing Month

Day One:

Today is the big day! NANOWRIMO officially starts and it doesn’t help that yesterday was Halloween. For those that celebrate this day, dressing up, taking the kids trick-o-treating, and party hopping can be quite exciting and daunting at the same time. Why not use that pumped up energy, all that pent up celebrating hype, for NANOWRIMO?

If you’ve already signed up for this year’s writing event you know one of the tips is starting off right at midnight. If you didn’t, don’t fret. Moving forward try to start as early as you can.

Which brings me to the topic at hand, finding inspiration and motivation to write.

Bust out those play lists that keep you moving and get writing.  Why not compile images that motivate you, that interest you and cause your imagination to take flight. Put those up as a wallpaper or slideshow on your computer. Once you start loosing steam the images kick in and bam, your piqued.

BookCover002LR BookCover13LR

Two of my Premade Covers available through SelfPubBookCovers

You can create detailed profile pages using pictures of actors/actresses that resemble your own characters. Search for images of locations, moods, etc that fit your story and create a woven setting for them. There are ton of fiction blogs filled with character profiling and story building using this method. But what motivates me the most is book cover hunting.

There is nothing like scrolling through premade covers and letting the inspiration hit. Not to mention grabbing a few you might like, buying a cover now cuts a lot of time in searching for the right one to fit your book later. It can also help cut down on the cost of having a custom one made. Time is one thing that is very important in an event like this and getting a few steps done before you really get going helps in the long run.

BookCover20LR2 BookCover28LR1

More of my Premade Covers available through PremadeCovers4U

Want to check out more premade covers to get those ideas pumping? Why not check out my list of places I love hunting for covers. See, this wasn’t a self plug blog after all. 🙂 Have a few ideas of your own to really crank that imagination up a notch and boost inspiration? Share them with us.

And last but not least here is my word count of the day: 1692 words