Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Get in the Habit

I've been thinking a lot about Nanowrimo recently, partly because I'm excited and partly because I'm a little stressed. I haven't done nearly as much planning as I think I need to have a successful November. I've decided that the first step is to get back in the habit of writing everyday and get back into the mindset of creating.

First step: I've been trying to write everyday. I started with baby steps by posting more regularly here on the blog and it has been fun but it also takes commitment to put something up every day. Which leads to...

Second step: set goals and then commit to working towards them. I decided I wanted to write everyday and I decided I wanted to make more of an effort to update my blog. Ta-da! Now I need to set my goals for creative writing and planning for Nanowrimo. To reach 50K words for the month I'll need to write 1,667 words a day. Throw in the fact that since I like to write my first draft with pen and paper and I'll need some time to type it up for verification and I am hereby setting my goal to write 2000 words a day in the month of November.

Third step: be observant and look for ideas to spark creativity. If you remember to look for sources of inspiration and things that will enrich your creativity, you will find those things everyday. I saw a picture online today that the Hubble telescope captured of galaxies speeding through space. For some reason I never even considered that galaxies actually moved through space so this idea really got my creative juices flowing and I started thinking of all these situations and stories that could grow out of that. The National Geographic website is a great place to find inspiring photos, by the way.

Fourth step: tell stories to anyone that will listen. At one of my previous jobs I had a friend that I shared an office with and we had a lot of fun telling each other stories. It started because it would get so quiet in there and in an effort to make the time go faster I would find anything I could think of to say. I always started by saying "So..." which I didn't realize what I was doing until she pointed it out to me. Eventually it became a game - "Tell me a 'so' story" she would say. And I would bust out something short, simple, and usually very random. But it sure was fun! This will also help you form mini stories and practice articulating beginnings, middles, and endings.

Last step: Build a support network. Fortunately, with Nanowrimo you have an automatic network of friends who will support you in your goals. The forums are a fantastic place to either find support and motivation or kill some time when you need a break. They are also a great place to share those 'so' stories and get some good ideas. But for the rest of the year it is still important to have at least one person you can feel totally safe and comfortable talking to about your writing. I find that an open conversation can be a great cure for writer's block. And there's nothing better for your motivation! Find a writing buddy who gets your style and will always be up for giving you a pep talk.

I'm excited now, are you? Do you have any other suggestions either for getting back in the habit of writing or to prepare for Nanowrimo?

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