With NaNoWriMo on the horizon, and coming up fast, you’re remembering your dream: to write a novel.
Last month our group discussed NaNoWriMo and stress. Our writers’ group includes authors who’ve been traditionally published, as well as self-publishing authors. It also includes aspiring authors who want to write, and would, if the whole idea of writing a book were less stressful.
One author said that her biggest stressor was doubt. Writing was her dream, what if she couldn’t do it?
You want to write a novel, but what if you can’t?
Words like “write a novel” will awaken your inner censor, and this can be disastrous when you’re writing a first draft.
Avoid placing demands on your creativity. Allow yourself to write. Accept whatever words come.
Let’s look at some tips which may help.
1. Schedule your writing: give yourself at least an hour a day
To complete NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 words in 30 days, you’ll write around 1700 words a day. You need at least an hour of uninterrupted time. Over the years, I’ve written in meetings, at dinner parties and on trains and planes.
Schedule your hour. It’s essential.
2. Warmup before writing each day
From Writing Process: Become More Productive With 4 Easy Warmups:
Use warm ups before each project, each day. They take five minutes or less… experiment.
(The article includes some warmups you can try.)
- Noodle on characters: create lists of characters’ names, ages, occupations…
- Imagine a scene you want to write, then write.
- Create mind maps.
- Free write. Dig into your subconscious mind.
3. Daydream about your characters
Think about what you recall from reading a favorite novel. Is it the plot? Or the people?
Writing fiction is always about the people, so don’t get sidetracked by an ingenious plot, or your amazing story world. No one will care if they don’t love your characters.
Currently I’m reading The Lion, by Nelson DeMille. It’s been years since I read a DeMille novel, but friends said that they love the main character of his series, John Corey, and now I do too.
Create a character readers love, like Harry Potter, and you too may become a billionaire. (Smile.)
4. Ensure that everyone fights with everyone else
Create conflict on every page.
Life is conflict.
Think about your relationships. Do you have any which are conflict-free? If you do, chances are you don’t care about those people very much. You have lots of conflict with your nearest and dearest, so ensure that your story people have constant battles too.
You CAN write a novel, if you entertain yourself first
A final tip: enjoy yourself. Write a novel you’d like to read; forget about everything else.
If you can entertain yourself with the story you’re telling, you’ll entertain others.
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