HELP, I’m Terrified!! (Part 6)

How the heck do I write a novel in 30 days???

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So, you have some ideas for a novel.  You may have even started planning for it, making outlines, drawing maps, building elaborate forts with cue cards, or have a pile of research a mile deep.  But you may still be panicing, and that’s okay. Trust us, part of the fun of writing is relaxing and letting things surprise you… And they always will!  Things might take a strange turn halfway through that you didn’t expect, or you might suddenly realize that your bad guy isn’t really bad after all!  That’s all the fun!

But today, we’d like to focus a bit on writer’s block.  We know.  It’s a terrifying topic, especially this close to November.  But it happens to everyone, and it ~will~ happen to you.  And when it does, try not to panic.  One of the beautiful things about NaNoWriMo is that the limited time frame forces you to overcome writer’s block quickly if you want to survive.  Here are a few simple tricks that you might use:

1) Just Keep Writing

Keep going, keep writing.  Kill your internal editor, turn off the voice that tells you that your writing is no good.  Plough through the drabble and the boring description and the pointless dialogue.  Eventually you will get back into the swing of things and your story will take off.  And after it does, you’ll still have put words on a page.  Sure, they won’t be any good, but you might just surprise yourself in a few weeks.  Just remember: editing is for December.

2) Exercise

No, not jogging.  We’re talking about writing exercises.  They let you change track for a moment and stretch your writerly muscles briefly and just might provide you with some inspriation to keep going.  Here’s a few:

  • Write a sentence where every word starts with the same letter
  • Write a paragraph that uses three or more of the following words: Distress, Partial, Triplets, Piggyback, Clenched, Bald, Cornerstone, Hundred, Army
  • Write a paragraph that starts with one of the following phrases: I remember, I have always, I see, I have never, I don’t know, I want to, I wonder, I hate, I love, I try not to
  • Write a scene using no modifyers (adjectiives and adverbs)
  • Write a 300 word description of your bedroom
  • Use the morning’s paper as a basis for your next scene

3) Take a Break

Seriously, put down the pen or step away from the computer.  Go for a walk.  Clean your house.  Cook something new.  Have a shower.  Visit the forums.  Set a timer for a set period of time and then come back to your novel with a clear(er) head.

4) Write Something Else

Write about the weather, or what you did in the morning, or how you like your coffee.  Write about your favourite book, the best meal you ever ate, or what you plan on doing tomorrow.  Write about your favourite holiday, your best vacation, or your least favourite grade in school.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and just keep going.  Eventually, you may just find inspiration.

5) Sleep on it

Who can count the number of times they’ve come up with the perfect solution to writing problems just as they’re about to fall asleep, doing daily tasks (showering, washing dishes, cooking), or letting their mind wander?


Good luck!