NaNoWriMo Week 3 - Don't Panic! - Dangerously Genocidal


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Friday, 14 November 2014

NaNoWriMo Week 3 - Don't Panic!

It's Week 3!

If you're anything like me, this generally is the point where we start panicking, where doubt falls on your shoulders like a laser guided missile and you begin to wonder "Why am I doing this?". I'm not going to tell you why you should be writing - that's up to you - but here are a few tips as we enter the next milestone in this WONDERFUL ADVENTURE!

1. Just Write!
I know, it sounds much easier than it is. You feel like banging your head against the typewriter or keyboard every time you sit down, and nothing seems to inspire you to write. But sometimes it isn't so much about the muse and the inspiration - it's about remembering that you committed to doing this (for yourself!) and that you have everything you need to complete your story. To quote Stephen King - "The Magic is in you."

And if you still have your doubts, then think about it this way - just write one word at a time.

2. Don't Plan Too Much
It's an easy trap to fall into. Every time you hit a wall you think "Back to the drawing board, I need more planning!" Or worse, you do a ton of research and try to work all of it into your story. This is a weakness of mine - I LOVE doing research. And once I have pages and pages of juicy facts that have sweet-bugger-all to do with my story, I keep trying to find ways to work them in. The fact is that too much planning can keep you stuck in front of the drawing board and away from writing, and too much research can boost your word count but slow your story down so much that you get bored writing it.

Keep it simple!

3. Eliminate Distraction
“There should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall... You could do worse than strip your television's electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far. Just an idea.” - Stephen King
Yes, yes, I know I quote him a lot, but can you truly think of a better way to say 'Avoid distraction' than 'Blow Up Your TV'? I didn't think so. I know it's tempting to watch your favourite series, or play your favourite game. So make it a bit easier - take the distraction out of the equation completely. For a gamer like myself, being on the computer typing is temptation enough. I'm only lucky I don't have a television to blow!

4. Accept Bad Writing
You are writing a novel in 30 days - Give yourself permission to write badly! I've reminded you before (and I'll do it every time I post until NaNoWriMo is over) that the point of this madness is to get your first draft on paper. It's not easy, hell, sometimes it's downright painful! Especially when you take a minute or two to quickly read what you've written. Some of us can even feel our eyeballs bleed as we read the horror that our story has become!

But that's not the point.

Dig, dig, and for heaven's sake, BURY that inner editor so far down that you have to go Editor Hunting (a close relative of Muse Hunting) once your story is done. Right now, just enjoy the flow of words as you get them down, and reward yourself for that step.

Allow yourself to write badly!

5. Sometimes You Need a Break
It's true. It sounds horrible, especially here in Week 3, but if you keep pushing yourself to the limits, you might find yourself starting to hate what you love. That's normal, of course, and bound to happen at some point. And there are times when you need to push through and past it. But there are also times when you need to settle down with a hot cup of coffee, some good music and a great book.

Reading is actually a great way to take a break - ask any published author, and they will tell you that they read quite a bit themselves. It's not only a good way to relax, but also a way to get inspired and learn a few tricks from an author you admire for free!

6. Most important - "Write For Yourself, Write To Be Happy."
Write because you LOVE it. Write because it's the first thing you think of when you wake up, and you can't imagine yourself doing anything but write for the rest of your life. Don't write to be famous, don't do it for money or recognition and fame. Maybe that will come, maybe it won't. But every time you sit down to write, feel the bubbles of joy (or love-hate, whichever) inside you as you imagine the world your about to create.

If you do that, then nothing can stop you!

What are you going to do to get yourself through this week? Are there any things you like to do, things that inspire you? How do you feel when you write?

Let me know!


  1. I just advised a blocked buddy in NaNo to embrace the concept of "I know this first draft sucks, but I'm going to do my words today anyway!" Usually, the writing is not objectively as bad as "sucky"--it just feels that bad in the middle for some perverse reason. A month later, the happy days' work and the frustrated days' work looks the same: a draft that needs some work, but some good bits, too.

    1. A very good point Lou, and great advice to your friend. To just keep writing, and keeping the editor at bay, is often one of the most difficult things in my experience. But I've been doing well so far, and the one or two times I've glanced back over my previous work I can see exactly what you mean.


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