Hey, Self: Some Tips to Remember During November’s NaNoWriMo Challenge

1. You can do this. You’ve done this before (well, something similar, at least).

2. The Zone. It exists. You found it, writing your first book, and you can find it again. It’s amazing and worth pursuing.

3. Put words on virtual paper. Spill your guts, without an internal editor/filter.

4. Follow your muse’s lead. Forget control; simply go where your muse takes you and worry about whether it works later.

5. Write when the mood strikes, even if that’s at 4:00 am. If you can’t sleep because characters are filling your brain with dialog that seems to come from nowhere, get up and write that dialog down.

6. Corollary to #5: Pay attention to what appears in your dreams. There are real nuggets there. Your subconscious has tossed those ideas around for a while and produced something meaningful, no matter how strange it seems initially.

7. Spend time in nature throughout this process, letting your mind wander as your body moves. If that leads to an insight, trust it, use it.

dogs, snow, trees
Spending time in nature with my dogs while contemplating writing an entire novel in November.

8. Shut out the negative self-talk. Has it ever taken you anywhere good? No.

9. Expose yourself, metaphorically. Let people know your writing goal. You know you won’t want to explain later why you didn’t reach it, and that – coupled with their support – is powerful motivation.

10. It’s okay to try and fail. It’s better than never trying. Remember you’ve already had some spectacular failures in life. You’ve learned and grown from each, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. A safe life is a dull life. Be bold. Risk failure.

9 thoughts on “Hey, Self: Some Tips to Remember During November’s NaNoWriMo Challenge”

    1. I imagine this exercise will be a bit like a long-distance run, but rather than one foot in front of the other for relentless forward momentum, it will be one word after the other in a relentless spill across pages.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I think — and this is just me — but Wm S Burroughs was right when he said about Kerouac, “…Kerouac is a writer. By that I mean he writes.” That’s really it. I just happened on a notebook of stuff I can only call “excrescence” stuff I wrote in the late 80s/early 90s. There are NO good stories in there, not one, but it’s a pile of more than 200 pages of me writing, just writing, looking at my world through my fingers and computer screen, thinking. It was an apprenticeship without consequences. Five novels and two memoirs down (and they’re good) and in there I realized 1) one reason people don’t write is because they fear some consequence, 2) there are no consequences, 3) the only person you can be sure your writing matters to is YOU. Do it for its own sake, do it for love. Don’t think too much.

    Liked by 1 person

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