6 Ways To Calm The Nerves and Inspire The Muse For NaNoWriMo - Dangerously Genocidal


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Thursday, 30 October 2014

6 Ways To Calm The Nerves and Inspire The Muse For NaNoWriMo

37 More Hours to Go!

We're counting down the hours to the start of NaNoWriMo, and nerves are running high. If you are anything like me, you are running around like a headless chicken wondering which methods to use, which ones not to use, and how to get ready. We are all scrambling to do just a little more prep-work, or to find an idea that doesn't totally suck, or desperately hoping that someone sees that poster of your missing muse and brings her back.

Of course, there are those of us who are also so naturally gifted at writing that the calm and coolness you exude just serves to freak us out even more as we wonder, "How in the blazes? What are we doing wrong?"

Next thing you know, panic starts to set in, your breaths become shorter, your heart fast...


When the panic attacks start coming, the cold sweats, the dread and the doubt, the time has come to take a breather. Time to remember why we're doing this - for the love of writing. If you're doing it for any other reason... Well, I'm sorry to break it to you, but you're in the wrong place. And what better way to remember how much we love writing than by actually writing!

Here are 6 Ways to Both Calm Down AND Get Some Writing Done:

1. Read Something. Anything. As long as it's something you love. It can make you laugh or cry, it can be a flash fiction or a full blown novel, or even just a magazine. It doesn't matter. I tend to go back to Stephen King, and I will issue a warning right now - expect to see a lot of quotes from him! In fact, here's one for you right now:
“Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ― Stephen King
I know not everyone would agree - but you have to admit, after reading that favourite story or magazine, you're itching to write something yourself, to become part of such a world or build your own. It's inevitable.

2. Chat With Someone. It might not inspire you to write, but it will calm those nerves. Nothing is more soothing than ranting and raving at your wonderful support buddy, who will then pat you on the back and tell you how everything will be all right.

They also make great sounding boards. Keep chatting, and when you suddenly find yourself talking about a topic that makes you so excited that you can't shut up, well, then you know what you're going to be writing about, don't you?

3.  Do Some Coffee Stalking. Or Tea Stalking, whichever. Don't know what that is? Let me enlighten you. Coffee/Tea stalking is when you go to your favorite little coffee shop, go sit in the little nook in the back, get a cuppa, and start watching. That's all. Just watch. You'll see the stories soon enough. Like the tired looking woman and her young child that just came in. She looks harried and her eyes are constantly roaming, like there's someone she's looking out for.

What's her story? Did she just get off a late night shift and wants to treat her daughter to a little time together? Or is she an abused wife on the run with her child? Or maybe she's part of a kidnapping ring. The possibilities are endless. Your imagination is the only limit!

4. Sit Back And Listen To Some Music. I find music can be a great inspiration. Any genre - it's up to you, and what you enjoy. Maybe the next song on your playlist will be the love song that will give you an idea for that romantic adventure you've been wanting to write. Or maybe it's a heavy metal song with lyrics angry enough to make you want to write an axe murderer scene.

I find it best to just toss every song I have in my library into the playlist, scramble it around, and wait until something strikes a cord. Sometimes it's the first song, sometimes inspiration only strikes 4 hours in. It might take a while, but it never fails.

5. Look Up Random Images.  Do a Google search, browse Pinterest, or go to an art gallery. There are so many works out there, photographs, drawings and paintings, that can inspire anything from a piece set in 30's New York, to a futuristic space age novel. Personally I love using this generator: Flickr Picture Prompt Generator. Sometimes it takes a try or two, but your bound to come upon an image that makes you think, "What's the story here? What's hiding in this picture?". And when you do, grab the moment!

Which brings us too...
6. WRITE! So, you're muse is flat out ignoring you? Then show her/him you don't need them right now either! It's a little difficult if you're in the middle of NaNo, and you want to keep writing your book, but forcing it won't help in my personal experience. Instead, go grab one of several Flash Prompt generators, and write a few quick pages of different flash fictions. Chances are your jealous muse will make it's way back immediately, because How Dare You?! You might even discover that one of your flash fictions would make for a great section in your NaNo Novel!

And Finally, here's a +1 for All of you who are in cold sweats over the mere idea of abandoning your prep or NaNo novel:

+1. Read Over Your Prep. If all else fails, just read over your prep, or fiddle with it a little. Maybe something you've already covered will clear up the smog in your head and give you an idea about how to continue your story.

These are just some of the methods I use to keep my muse close by and get myself ready for the craziness of NaNoWriMo.

So, tell me, what do you do to keep calm and inspired?


  1. Good advice! But I have to admit, seeing "37 hours to go" made me panic just a little. ;)

    1. Haha, writing it down made me panic just a little!


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