The NaNo Cometh

NaNo begins this week. Okay future participants, now is your cue to start freaking out.

Am I ready for NaNo? -ish. The outline is coming along and I’m solving plot point problems, but let’s face it. I need to get some serious plotting done if I want to be ready for Friday. I guess because it’s the end of the week that seems far enough away. Plus I’m trying to get some other goals accomplished before NaNo consumes everything.

But there’s something I’ve learned in prepping for NaNo, and that’s trust your creative brain. I worried a little about connecting some dots, but I kept that conundrum on the back burner and moved forward and things are starting to work out. I don’t know what it is about the blank page before me that makes me wonder if this is the one. You know, the time where you’ve finally run out of ideas. Where you won’t actually be able to pull a story off. End of the universe kind of stuff.

I think for us creative types, that’s just not going to happen, at least not permanently. Especially if you’re feeding your creativity constantly. (That’s where reading and watching and consuming other forms of media comes in handy. Blogging especially can spark creativity in unexpected ways).

So my small words of advice as NaNo approaches, is to prepare in your own best way, then trust your creativity. Let your muse run amok, send your editor on a cruise, and write. And if you reach November 1st and you’re a plotter and things aren’t quite there yet, don’t worry. Trust yourself. And trust that this is a first draft anyway. Let it be a land free of criticism and full of discovery. Just write. And enjoy it.

Are you ready for NaNo? Still doing last minute prep or waiting for that 12:00 a.m. November 1st moment? If you’re not doing NaNo, what will you be up to this November?

Monday’s Writerly Quote

A new blogging friend recently asked me a few questions, one of them being about where I got my inspiration. My answer was:

It probably sounds cliché, but everything. Something will inspire a story that just needs to come out and writing is the way I get it out.

I’m a big fan of a certain quote by Ray Bradbury: “If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels,  films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every  morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life,  mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake  early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping  beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.”

I really do believe we can gain inspiration by stuffing ourselves full of life and story in all its many forms.

Don’t worry, I’m not the major quote today. 😉 Let’s talk about dry spells—more commonly known as writer’s block. What this quote suggests and what I truly believe is if we’re constantly consuming story in all its various forms we’re teaching our brains both how to gather inspiration and how to construct it into story.

That brings us to today’s quote from Terry Pratchett (and apologies to my California friends):

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.

I think losing your ability to write can come if you let the source material feeding your imagination dry up. It’s very much like a lush garden that needs care. It may survive for some time without nourishment, but eventually it will dry up if left unattended. So for those of you believing you don’t have time to read/watch/study/etc. because you’re busy writing—make the time.

Keep your imagination well-fed. photo by eeems via Flickr

Take a break if you have to. Schedule it in if you need to. But make time for nourishment. It will always make you a better writer and often it will keep you away from becoming cliché.

Just don’t stop nourishing.

Do you agree with Mr. Pratchett? Have you let your lush garden dry up before? What did you do to nourish your imagination back to health? Or what are you currently doing to help your storytelling mind stay fresh? Let us know in the comments below.

Frustrating Can Be Good

Yesterday morning I discovered my driver’s side window was busted. Well, it’s not like it was a total surprise. While up in the frozen tundra of Idaho, I tried to roll down said window, but because it was so cold the window was frozen in place and the machine continued on rolling. Anyway, of all the windows to break that’s the one I MUST have, so I took it into a shop.

Unfortunately nearly everyone including the BFF is out of town for the holidays, so I had to catch the bus, which also unfortunately is a brisk 15 minute walk from the shop. Mind, it’s been blizzarding here non-stop because of the boot fiasco (I have this curse making it impossible to buy any boots. They’re either out of stock, too small, too big, or most recently get damaged before they got shipped and happen to be the last pair…..) I’m walking in my work shoes, not super conducive to snow.

Charlie Brown Snow

But I knew I was in for this, so I sucked it up and walked, grinning at the other unfortunate souls as we passed each other by walking in the blizzard. I prayed super hard that I wouldn’t miss the bus (as it takes 15 minutes for the next one to roll by). Just as I was getting close to the stop, it rolled by me. Ack! Fortunately the kind lady on the bus thought I might be wanting to get on and waited at the stop.

It’s odd how you don’t realize how cold you are until you’re blasted with heat. I sat back in my chair, grateful I wasn’t walking out in the blizzard anymore. And the bus stops right outside my complex, so any further chill would be short-lived.

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