Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Final Pre-NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

In only two days November will be upon us. When midnight strikes Halloween will roll out as it always does. Maybe you'll still be out partying or at home wearing your costume as you pick through leftover trick-or-treat candy. (Or not leftover and just what you have... cause why would you give away your candy?) Or maybe you're in bed already because you're smart and want a good night's sleep. Good for you. No matter where you are, the clock will strike 12am on November 1.

NaNoWriMo has begun.

I, and I'm sure a lot of other people, have mixed emotions about the start of NaNoWriMo. On the one hand, I love being able to have an excuse to dedicate a whole month to writing. I love working on a new project and collaborating with thousands of other people doing the exact same thing and how we are all there for each other. I love talking with my friends about their novels and reading the pep talks and perusing the forums.

Then there's the other half of me. My schedule is wildly different from it has been for every other NaNoWriMo. Before, my work schedule was somewhat flexible and it was the calm before the storm of the Advent/Christmas season at the church. Now, my schedule is more rigid and I can't leave work an hour early if needed to meet someone at Starbucks for a writing date. Working two part time jobs, searching for freelance writing gigs, and searching for more work doesn't leave a ton of free time.

We've been having technology issues at home lately, so we are down to one laptop. Mine. Which is fine, I don't mind sharing and most of what I do can be done on my iPad. However - I hate writing on my iPad. My time using Scrivener, my writing program of choice, is going to be cut down a lot.

On top of it- I have barely a skeleton of an outline. Usually I'm all planned out. My characters have rich backstories, The novel has a semi-detailed outline and I have a basic idea of where it's going. This year... not so much. I don't know what it is this year, but I feel woefully unprepared. Doubts fill my mind.

My novel will be awful.

I won't have time.

There will be major plot holes.

The characters will be shallow.

I'll lose motivation.

Anyone else having the same doubts and thoughts?

Yeah... that's what I thought. So, here is my final pre-NaNoWriMo pep talk. Not just for you, but for me too.

My novel will be awful.

Yeah... maybe. That's life. Sometimes we create something that completely sucks. It happens. That's how we learn though.

But what if it's not? What if it's brilliant? What if it's the best thing you've ever written? Yeah... how awesome would that be? But you're never going to know until you sit down and write it.

I won't have time.

No one has time. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Yes, you might need to have later nights and/or earlier mornings for the next 30 days. You might need to cut back on Tumblr and bingle watching TV shows on Netflix. Worse things have happened. Get up, turn off Netflix and Tumblr, drink some coffee (or your caffeinated beverage of choice) and write your novel.

There will be major plot holes.

There usually are. Even in some of your best stories - there have been major plot holes. But you always work through it. You have friends who are fantastic writers who point them out and help you. Find your writing friends and brainstorm. Talk it out. Go to the NaNoWriMo forums. Then go write your novel. Sometimes just writing and letting it flow will surprise you with something fantastic. But those holes will never be filled until you write.

The characters will be shallow.

Get inspiration from people in real life. Have dates with your characters. Eventually they'll flesh themselves out. Keep writing and sometimes as you write they get better. When I say sometimes, I mean usually.

I'll lose motivation.

We all have those moments - and it's okay. You're allowed to take breaks sometimes. But don't worry about that yet. Why are you worrying about the future? That's for future you to worry about later in November.

The moral of the story?

You just need to get to writing. Maybe it'll fall apart, maybe it won't. But either way, you won't know until you try.

Write your story.

What's my plan, you ask?

One, for now I'm just going to focus on my very first scene. MAYBE the first chapter. That's it. I want to picture it in my mind so when I sit down to write November first it can pour out of me. I'll worry about the rest later.

Also, I started reading Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. It's about a girl who participated in NaNoWriMo (or at least that's the impression) and now her novel is going to be published. The book goes back and forth between her story and the one she wrote. So a book within a book. It's making me really excited for November to start.

Need more inspiration? Kristina Horner has a ton of NaNoWriMo videos and pep talks on her YouTube channel. This one is my favorite. She did it three years ago, but it's my favorite thus far. If you can't see the embeded video below you can click here. 

What are you doing to get ready to write in November? Do you have any advice for people like me who are having mixed emotions about NaNoWriMo?

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