Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!

This week marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as it has come to be known. Whether you are embarking on writing a novel in one month, or you’re just using all of this talk of writing as inspiration, it’s a great time to get going on the writing projects you’ve been mulling over in your head. After all, we’re heading into fall and winter, where cold temperatures, snow, and rain will keep us indoors more than other times of the year.

Sometimes, all it takes is something like people talking about writing and NaNoWriMo to help get our creative juices flowing. But there are some other good ways to get started writing, or maybe help yourself over a writer’s block. Here are a few tips to get your fingers moving along the keyboard:

  1. Take a walk. Sure, it might seem counterproductive to leave your computer when you’re trying to write more, but research has shown that exercise actually boosts brain activity. It helps you focus and gives you the energy you need to come up with new ideas. Another plus, you never know what might inspire you while you’re out there walking!
  2. Try your hand at writing prompts. Sometimes coming up with an idea can be the hard part. Let someone else do that for you, and use your time practicing your writing! Here are a couple of websites I like:
    Writing Forward
    Language is a Virus
    The Write Prompts
  1. Keep a journal. Yes, it’s just more writing, but it’s a different sort of writing. Rather than trying to pencil-and-paper-writing-clipart-pencil-and-paper-clipart-egdvul-clipartdevelop characters or come up with dialogue, in a journal you just write your feelings. Many times, those journal entries are great fodder for future stories. And if not, they’re at least a way to get you in the writing practice more regularly.
  2. Read. Most of us don’t need permission to do this. If you’re a writer, most likely you’re also an avid reader. And reading other people’s writing is always a great form of inspiration.
  3. Turn off the phone and log off Facebook. Don’t you hate it when you’re in the middle of a great sentence and your text message alert beeps? Do you answer? Do you stop to read it? It’s like the bell for Pavlov’s dog, it’s hard to ignore it. After all, we’ve trained ourselves to think if someone is trying to contact us it’s important. And our phones aren’t our only distractions. When you’re writing and your mind starts to wander, it’s so easy to click over to Facebook and see what’s going on, or browse a few of your favorite blogs. If you really want to do yourself a favor, turn off all your distractions and focus just on your writing. You’ll feel so much better in the end.

Now that you’re inspired, check out our video on how to win NaNoWriMo. We want to see some great novels at the end of the month!


The One Thing You Must Not Do During NaNoWriMo

NaNoIf you’re like me, NaNoWriMo keeps popping up in your newsfeeds. It’s the time of year when we overdose on pumpkin, scrounge around for the best Halloween costume, and consider whether or not we’re ready to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge.

I’m going to assume that you’re all writing warriors and you’ve said yes. Yes, I will win NaNoWriMo 2015. There’s a video in the Author Resource Center full of tips to help you prepare for November 1, as well as calendar templates to make planning a little easier. Go watch it as soon as you finish reading this post. And if you haven’t subscribed to the Author Resource Center yet, here’s a little extra enticement to join: I put the great debate to rest in this week’s video. What debate, you ask? The pronunciation debate—is it NaNoRYEMo or NaNoREEMo?

All right, moving on. Let’s focus on the one thing that you absolutely must not do if you want to win NaNoWriMo this year. Do not even think about editing your manuscript while you’re drafting. Nothing will kill a writing groove faster than deciding that you must get a scene exactly right before moving on. no-symbol-39767_1280

Repeat after me: November is for writing. January is for editing. (You hide the manuscript in a drawer in December.)

Many writers get hung up on making every sentence, every dialogue exchange, every plot turn just right. They write something lame and begin to compare themselves to ___________________ (insert name of your writing hero). They know that said writing hero would never write such drivel, and all writing must cease until this hot mess is cleaned up. What they don’t know is that the writing hero writes drivel, too. Everybody does. That’s the reason it’s called a draft.

And please, please, please don’t worry about your spelling or where the commas go! Turn off those squiggly lines that Word uses to shame us all. Go to the Start menu, choose Word Options, then select Proofing. Uncheck the box marked check spelling as you type. Poof, those pesky lines are gone, and you can concentrate on your story.

Just write. If it’s bad, who cares? You can fix it later. Make a note of what is bugging you, and then move forward. Keep writing. Hit your daily word count. Be the writing warrior I know you are and conquer this NaNoWriMo beast. Remember that your goal is (or should be) to cultivate a writing practice. And as Jessica Brody says, “Don’t be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer.”

Leave a comment and share how you silence the editor living in your head.