Skip to content

NaNo2015

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November?

It's a fun time full of writerly companionship, and if you're on the fence I hope I can convince you to jump on in.  I thought I'd share part of a post (with a link to the rest) I wrote for Willamette Writers this summer to help persuade you.

Have you tried NaNoWriMo? You should—it’s a great way to get your words flowing and get your stories out on the page.

Admittedly I’m biased in favor of NaNo. I’ve been signing up for it since 2003 and actively participating since 2006 (turns out you actually have to write something to get to 50K). I’ve taken part as a writer (and a winner seven times). I’ve been the Portland, OR municipal liaison. I’ve attended and hosted local write-ins and events and participated in the online forums. But most importantly, I have written. I have written in November even in years when writing was a struggle. NaNo did that for me.

(Read the rest of the post here.)

I really do love NaNo.  I'm hoping to participate this year even in the middle of a house renovation and move (which may be completely crazy, but I'm still thinking about it).  I hope you'll give it a try and give your writing a jolt of NaNo energy.

Drop me a line, let me know if you're jumping in, let me know how it's going.  I'll cheer you on and see you at the finish!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

2

Willamette Writers Conference Wall of Advice
Wall of Writing Advice

This past weekend I was at the Willamette Writers Conference here in Portland, Oregon (an amazing conference with great teachers and programs--I highly recommend it).

On Sunday I had the pleasure of presenting some programming about NaNoWriMo.  For one of the activities, the attendees wrote down their best writing advice on sticky notes so we could create the Wall of Advice you see above.  I promised to write up a post so everyone could see what was written, so here it is.

The advice:

  • First read, then write. Write every day.
  • The difference between your book and the last book you read that you hated is that they sat down and finished theirs.
  • Don't over-outline. Let your characters develop themselves. ~Stephen King
  • It is pen and paper not a monster howling outside your door splintering the wood as it crashes through to slice you to shreds with fearsome claws.
  • The importance of concepting. Being able to describe your work in a simple phrase so others get it.
  • Trust your voice--and follow it.
  • Allow yourself to write for just 2 minutes and stop if you want. Often, you will want to keep going.
  • When someone tells you writing is a waste of your time, ignore them. They don't know what they're talking about.
  • First, do a good, big vomit. Edit later.
  • Just get it on paper. You can fix it later.

So much great advice, isn't it?  That second one about finishing really hit home for me.

What's your favorite or best piece of writing advice? Leave a note in the comments so we can all gather some wisdom to rev up our writing lives.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

4

Do you ever catch yourself wishing that things were easy or saying things like, "Why can't this be easy?" or "I want this to be easy!"?  What do we mean by that?  Do we actually mean that we want a life that is effortless, where we never have to exert ourselves or stretch ourselves in any way?  I don't think that's actually what we mean when we're wishing and hoping and longing for easy.  I think if we didn't have things to work toward and strive for, we'd get bored.  I don't think we really mean "easy" at all.

Now this is easy!
Now this is easy!

So what do we mean when we wish for easy?  I think we might really be longing for a clear path--knowing where we're going and the steps to take to get there.  I think it's the uncertainty of what comes next, of what our next move should be that makes us wish for that chair on the beach and effortless days.

I think when I find myself complaining that something is too hard, that I wish it (whatever the current "it" might be) was easier, I'll remind myself that easy isn't what I'm looking for.  Instead of asking how things can be easy, I will ask myself "how can I clear the way to move forward?"  Semantics, yes, but I think it's important.

Does this relate to my ROW80 check-in and NaNoWriMo?  Oh yeah.  I've been whining to myself for the past two days that this next section is too hard, I want it to be easy, why won't it be easy?  Today, just a little while ago, I realized it was the wrong question.  I don't actually mind spending hours writing, staying up a little too late, skipping other things to get in some words.  So it's not easy I'm looking for.  What I'm really needing is a focus, a plan, a clue.  So the question I need to ask myself is "how can I figure out what I need to write next?"  "How can I make the next section make sense as a lead-in to what's going to happen after?"  "How can I plan things so I don't have so many stops and starts and stuck places?"

Maybe just writing along getting all the thoughts down, knowing the basics of what I'm going to put in that spot before I get started is a form of ease.  I don't know.  But I do think I need to be focusing more on how to know what I'm going to write when I sit down rather than focusing on how I want things to be easy.  Because the truth is, I don't care that much about easy.  I just want to get my words flowing again.

What would you like to have going more smoothly in your life?  What would you like to get unstuck?  How can you clear the way for yourself to do the things you want to do?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail