I was on the fence about participating this year, but then my job description changed and I saw an opportunity to bring NaNoWriMo to my students. As I gathered and built resources to entice the students to try at hand at being authors, it rekindled the joyful memories I have of the NaNoWriMo community.
In short, I won't be sitting this one out! I am also going to try to walk the talk I'll be giving my students about novel preparation. It's easy to cut corners with the "I know what I'm doing!" manta - yet at the same time I have 4 works-in-progress that need serious re-writing. Not to say that NaNo novels are publish worthy by December 1st, but it would be nice to not have to take a wrecking ball to those 50,000 words if I write with purpose.
There are many NaNoWriMo's and NaNoCurious out there, and you can drive yourself crazy googling writing tips. I am simply sharing my journey as I have done in previous years, except this time I will be sharing the content I am providing my students as they begin their first noveling journey.
Feel free to join us if you like.
I am encouraging my students to create and maintain noveling journals as they prepare for November. The very first two pages will be dedicated to Inspiration. Lists, cut-outs, drawings, anything that uplifts them into the world of plot.
There are two reasons to spend time building these pages:
1) It helps to identify the kind of novel you wish to create. Which parts from your favourite books makes you like them? Which characters from which movies move you the most? What kind of endings leave you feeling satisfied? What kind of perspectives grab your attention most?
When you know what interests you most, you are less likely to find yourself diving into material that bores you. It doesn't mean that you will be recreating these bits and pieces from established work, but it will give you a feeling to pursue. You need to feel the excitement, the joy, the tension, the relief as you work through your novel. You can't ask a reader to feel something you didn't feel in creating it. It would be like asking your guests to taste the chocolate that you never put into your cake - it's awkward and disappointing for everyone.
2) It helps to remind you about what you are doing and why. Your inspirations never need to be all about plotting. What is the song you play when you have a bad day? What do you use to give yourself an energy boost (and yes, many WriMo's will accept "coffee" as an answer)? And who do you think of first when you need encouragement?
Having quick access to the things that keep you going will be a great tool to get out of the November funk. Writer's block, self-doubt, or things getting overwhelming in your real life - all of these things happen to even the most experienced writers. The difference between someone who wants to write and someone who has written is perseverance through the times that tell you "just stop". The voices inside of a writer's head are usually the loudest, most hurtful, and discouraging of all, so get that tool belt loaded with as much positive energy as you can before your novel begins.
What I Have So Far
Well, the good news is that I have a direction for NaNo that I didn't have 4 days ago. I get turned off of ideas very quickly if I can't picture the road ahead for my potential story. But this isn't a new idea for me. It's an idea that I've had planned out for over 10 years, and in a sense I've already written it.
One of my WIP's has been sitting on the editing shelf for a very long time.
Remember that discouraging inner voice I told you about? Yup, that's the one! And for the life of me I haven't been able to put my finger on what's wrong with this story. I know that it has multiple issues, but it's hard to see a solution through all of the days, weeks, months and years poured into one story. I've toyed with the idea before, but as I've been thinking about it lately, I think that it might be a reasonable solution. At worst, it will be an opportunity to look at the original story in a new light - maybe even remind me why I've held onto this story so tightly for so long.
What does this have to do with Inspiration?
Since I will be revisiting a world I was once very immersed in, I am fortunate to be able to re-use some of that old planning. I still have the original playlist I made that I can add to or change up. I still have the outlines and notes. I still can picture the inspirations that awoke so much of the story when it was just a bud.
My next step will be putting this in my journal. Oh yes, I have a journal, and I will be maintaining it with a pencil because that's how I roll - old school!
So that's my challenge to you. Find your inspirations and get them somewhere concrete.
When you've done so, tweet me #Step1Complete.
I'll probably need these responses to keep my motivation up, too. I guess I'll be adding you all into my Inspiration pages.
See you for #Step2