Posts Tagged NaNoWriMo

Capturing Inspiration

Inspiration is a tricky thing. I’ll always remember the night I finished my first novel. It was a meandering, unplanned, angsty beast I spent most of my high school career working on, and I really had no idea where I was going. Then, one Friday night, I watched Empire Records for the first time. As soon as the credits started I turned off the TV, walked over to the computer, sat down, and finished my novel.

That ending took me nine hours and came out to about 15,000 words. By the time I finished, the sun was already shining on Saturday morning. I went to bed, woke up sometime in the afternoon, and realized with a feeling of great accomplishment that, after four long years, my book was finally done. Read the rest of this entry »

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Inspiration through…Deprivation?

Two thousand ten was a great year. Including the completion of my first novel and winning National Novel Writing Month on a second book (oh yeah, and having a baby), I achieved many things in the realm of developing myself and my craft as a writer. But I’m hoping to make 2011 much bigger and better. The long list of goals for the year? Oh, I’ve got it. And multiple novels have made the list.

A Bad Case of the “Januarys”

On the whole, Januarys are hard for me. Sure, I like the idea of a blank slate, a pristine canvas on which to start fresh. Right now I can feel like the world around me buzzing in resolutions – diets, exercise programs, renewed work ethics, high levels of dedication and resolve. But my Januarys always end up feeling like a bad case of the “Mondays”…on steroids. I always say that January is the “Monday” of the year. And it never seems to bring motivation. Instead, all I feel is the pressure of three-hundred-and-sixty-five days to not screw up. (If you think that sounds a bit pessimistic, then you’re right. I’ll admit it.) Fifty-two weeks to create something amazing. Twelve months to make a difference in my life and in the world. (I have big aspirations, can you tell?)

But rather than searching high and low for inspiration like my normal posts would suggest, I’m taking another tactic. I’m not looking for the drive that will get me into gear so that I can crank out my goals. Instead, I’m taking the month to work on honing my focus. Read the rest of this entry »

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Protect Your Inspiration

A Valuable Commodity

If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you may have gleaned that I see inspiration as a highly desirable tool of motivation. It shouldn’t be a crutch, as hard work is really the best way to hone your craft, but let’s face it, when you have inspiration it makes things much easier. So when you’re having one of those highly inspired days/weeks/months, how do you hold onto the magic? How can you keep it as long as possible, free-riding on the waves of momentum you’ve created?

I see several ways, the primary one of which is just to not stop working. It’s the snowball effect: scoop up a handful, push it down the hill and don’t give in to anything that might try to steal your momentum as your creation rolls down the snowy mountain, growing all the while. But another way to keep the ball rolling comes in at a close second: protecting what you already have. Read the rest of this entry »

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Discovering Inspiration: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Part 2

A few weeks back, I talked about experiencing a surge of motivation caused by the pressure of writing fifty thousand words in thirty days, aka NaNoWriMo. Today I want to share with you the flip side of that intense commitment – the mid-month slump.

Inspiration versus Hard Work

In the beginning, I was writing in a mad frenzy of excitement, following my synopsis, pounding out words like nobody’s business. But there is a much-feared thing that puts dread into the hearts of all NaNoWriMo participants. It’s known as: Week Two (dun dun DUNN).  Along with many other writers, I experienced a case of the Week Twos, but for me it hit somewhere around Day 12 or 13 (and continued throughout much of Week Three as well). It happened when I reached a plot drop-off, the place I’d been stumped in my pre-writing. It was the end of my known outline.

But while I was (temporarily) out of material, I knew one thing for certain: I couldn’t stop writing. I couldn’t afford to waste any time sitting around twiddling my thumbs waiting for inspiration to hit. Somehow, I had to work through it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Discovering Inspiration: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Part 1

An Undertaking of Astronomical Proportions

I made a commitment with almost two hundred thousand other writers all over the globe to do something crazy in November – write a novel (or at least fifty thousand words of one) in just thirty days. A novel in a month sounded pretty insane, but in an amazing, I-dare-you sort of way. I couldn’t pass up the challenge. So I joined a crowd of strangers and small group of friends and plunged ahead into a ice-cold lake of uncertainty, as we let the water shock our systems into producing something in a high-intensity, high-pressure endeavor.

I worked on outlines and character analyses for over a month beforehand, preparing as well as I could. I warned my family and friends that my other activities would be scanty for the month and not to worry if they didn’t hear from me for a while. I prepared myself for high levels of stress and writing roadblocks along the way. And then at Midnight on November 1st, I held my nose and jumped overboard. Read the rest of this entry »

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