Friday, November 15, 2013

#NaNoWriMo – Halfway there! + 7 tips to catch up with your writing

You are halfway through the challenge now. Are you still on target? Are you finding it a hard slog now?  I’m somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 words behind, but it’s because I had work to do on another writing-related project. That project is over now, so I am hoping to use this weekend to catch up.

Some tips that might help if you are falling behind right now:

1 – Turn your Internet connection OFF (just as soon as you have finished reading this post.) Facebook, Twitter and all the rest of social media can be a distraction and a time-suck. Checking your e-mail can turn into hours of on-line time-wasting, so spare yourself the temptation and unplug it!

2 – Meet up with friends who also write. (If you’re local NaNoWriMo region is doing some write-ins for their meet-ups, go to them!) Sometimes, another friend who knows what it’s like to get stuck on your story can help you talk it over and get fresh ideas to keep you going. And if they are sitting in the coffee shop next to you, typing up their story, you might feel pressured to do the same, instead of fiddling around with apps.

3 – Say no to outside obligations. I know it’s difficult to say “no” to people. (It’s harder for some of us than for others, as we are programmed to be nice.) But you need to demand this time for yourself, and dedicate the time to your writing. Tell you friends (the non-writing ones) that you won’t be able to meet with them for a while. Is your kids’ school asking you to help with a project of theirs? Say “no” (or, at least, “not until December.”) 

4 – Carry a notebook around (or a really portable device to type on) for when you can’t be at home. This will come in very handy for times when you are riding the bus, waiting in a doctor’s office, waiting at your kids’ school for them to come out for the day, on a train journey, or sitting at a cafe having your lunch break. Jot those ideas down or continue your story from where you left off. Not sure where you left off with your story at home? No problem! - Write a new scene that will be  coming up later in the story.

5 – Go for a walk and think about your story. You’ll be amazed at how many ideas come to you when you give your story a break and find some peace and solitude in the outdoors (even in colder climates).

6 – Listen to music. Find something that evokes the mood and atmosphere that you are trying to achieve in your current scene and let the words flow from you.

7 – Turn the TV, radio and anything noisy off. Get someone to take your kids out for a while. Sit at your computer, ready to type, with nothing but your own thoughts to distract you.

Some of these suggestions sounds contrary to one another, but every writer has different ways  of finding inspiration.  So if one method doesn’t work, try something else.

I’d love to have made this a list of ten things, but I’m in the middle of writing my NaNoWriMo novel and writing this post is a distraction, so I need to get back to my story!

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