Here's Week Two's round up of writerly wisdom, inspiration and information from other possibly more experienced voices and sources on the internet. Feel free to share any useful links you've also read recently in the comments!
I've held back this list intentionally because now, in the middle of the month - furthest away from the light at the beginning and the end of the tunnel - is when you might need it most. Here's a list of professional authors who used NaNoWriMo to write their published novels, many of which went on to be best sellers, like Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus and Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. It's a long list and it doesn't even include indie published books and although I know very little about most of these books and authors, I find this list very inspirational and will return to it more than a few times this month.
I loved this collection of snappy slices of writing advice as collated from a Twitter chat on how to create a "sticky" writing habit. I think the following is my favourite:
“Writing is an art that is nourished by habit.” (@MadisonJonesHR)
I loved these five pieces of advice from five new novelists. Not least because, evidently NONE OF THEM FOUND WRITING THE NOVEL EASY! I guess that's reassurance or at least a reminder that it's not supposed to be easy!! (And don't be disheartened that it took many of them years and years and years, until it clicked. What they don't reveal is how there is a lot of joy in those years, at least, that's what I'm telling myself!)
Also on a Fast Company website, I enjoyed reading these rules for creativity from an author. If you're struggling with your plot or direction, you may just need to kill off a character or two...
I'm trying to read lots while I also write lots (emphasis on the trying) this NaNoWriMo because the two are intricately linked for me and doing one encourages the other. Because I'm writing a story about a private investigator, I'm ploughing through Raymond Chandler books and enjoying them much more than I thought. Here's a collection of his insights on langauge, writing and fiction courtesy of the fantastic Brain Pickings. I really like when he says one of the secrets of fiction is "to say little and convey much".
And yes, he too suffered from creative paralysis:
"I can’t seem to get started on doing anything. Always very tough for me to get started. The more things people say about you the more you feel as if you were writing in an examination room, that it didn’t belong to you any more, that you had to protect critical reputations and not let them down. Writers even as cynical as I have to fight the impulse to live up to someone else’s idea of what they are."
So stuck you don't know what to write next? Or so full of hate for your book that you want to throw it down the toilet? Why not become a NaNoRebel and abadon your novel, but still keep up with the word counts so you can call yourself a winner? If that sounds tempting, I suggest you spend the rest of the challenge "freestyle writing" to a series of writing prompts. You'll be surprised how much good stuff you can produce. Here's a list of websites that give you endless creative writing prompts and I love getting Sarah Selecky's daily writing prompts.
DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE. It's untrue and antogonistic on many, many levels. Of course, I suspect you all clicked on that link, which could also be a valuable storytelling technique you could weave into your manuscript.
P.S. I CARE HOW YOUR NOVEL IS GOING.
P.P.S. I do also agree with the very last sentence.
Feeling brave and want feedback on what you've written already? You could upload your story so far onto Wattpad and see how well it does... Genre and fan fiction does very well on this site if you upload a new chapter every few days. Here's a guide for beginners. Alternatively, start reading on there. That could help shift some writer's block... (Also check out Amazon's own version Write On, though you'll need to request an access code first. I just got mine through but I haven't yet checked it out.)
And finally, read John Cleese's rules for creativity. including letting ideas "bake", and the importance of play.
Happy writing! I'll be back tomorrow with some more NaNoWriMo Inspiration. In the meantime, if you're up to date on your word count, check out last week's round up of writerly links, in case you missed them.
Read Week One's batch of writing links and be sure to bookmark this page for NaNoWriMo Daily Inspiration Posts, every day in November 2014.
Frances M. Thompson
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