Kind greetings to you, fellow WriMos (and other lovely readers who may have happened upon this post)! We are reaching the midpoint of NaNoWriMo. How are things going so far?
As mentioned previously, I’m more of a Plantser, in that, I do have a rough idea plotted out for a writing project but I’m flexible enough to roll with the writerly punches when ideas shift, plans change, and, well, life happens. I was hoping to be further along by now, but the rabbit hole can be a deep dive, especially when each new idea that crops up leads to more questions. You want to be consistent, you want to have infrastructure in the world you create, and you have to remind yourself that a lot of the backstory is for the writer’s benefit and isn’t going to end up on the page when the reader finally sees the end product.
Then you have all this information that you don’t want to dump on the reader. Since this is a collection of short stories, that’s not a lot of real estate to work with as opposed to longer form. Sure, with novels, you can have maps and appendices to help the reader understand the inner workings of the story. But what if all of this research ends up burying you further in words that aren’t even in the story yet?
While I initially thought that taking on this type of writing project would help get the ideas flowing more readily, I’ve found it to be more challenging than expected. My brain could be described like a web browser with multiple tabs open. I suppose many writers are the same. However, it can get mighty overwhelming when you have all these ideas flooding in at once and only two hands to type it all out. Is there Drano for writers?
Sometimes people can’t think of anything and stare at a blank sheet or screen and will the words into existence. I’m having an opposite problem when I have too many words and ideas bouncing around in my cranium it’s like I’m lost in a jungle of sentence fragments, bullet points, and other notes that are taunting me. Either way, the result is the same. There are moments when I find it difficult to progress forward in this marathon of words.
Am I experiencing a case of the dreaded mythical beast known as *gasp* Writer’s Block?
I needed a fresh perspective. I had to do something to get out of my own very crammed headspace. I’ve tried a few things, some of which I’ll delve further in future posts:
Contest or Writing Submission Themes
Stepping a way and using one of these themes to get ideas flowing is a fruitful writing exercise. The bonus here is that if it’s in your budget to pay for the entry fees, where applicable, and you’re able to meet the deadlines, this is a great way of getting your work out there.
While I initially wanted to participate in Inktober last month, I ended up doing Promptober (not sure if that’s an actual name others are using). Each day in October, I did some free writing based on a writing prompt I found on the interwebs. I was able to get words out of my head or fire up the synapses to build on something that could develop into a bigger writing project.
Change of Device, Scenery or Both
Speaking of Freewrite… I just received my Freewrite Traveler in the mail a couple days ago. Although it arrived a couple weeks in for NaNo, I’m kinda digging the benefits of being able to type away without being able to go online when I need to look something up which then lures me into non-writerly endeavours. I’m going to dedicate an entire post to reviewing this device after NaNo is over. It’ll give me a good chunk of time to play around with its features and I can share my thoughts on the experience.
If not a new device, a new setting might get the ideas flowing. With the current pandemic and those of us who have colder climates to contend with, we’ll have to get creative. But hey, we’re all creatives, anyway, right? We can make it work. Grab your laptop, notebook, phone, or whatever other combo needed to write your story and switch things up. Different room, different time of day, a little wander outdoors, anything to help you get a fresh perspective.
These are just a few examples of ways to keep the writer brain active and they seem to be helping me keep on keepin’ on.
Over to you. What are some tricks and techniques that are helping you maintain your writing routine? Let me know in the comments below. I’m keen to know what other writers are doing to stay motivated when word counts start to plateau.
Keep going! I’m your cheerleader, the person at the side of the road handing you that bottle of water as you reach that next mile. You got this. We got this. We’re in this writing journey together.
Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.
Until next time,