Hey, everyone! It’s Thursday, Friday, because yesterday my 4thewords app ate all of my words on this blog (my fault, not the sites) and that means that it’s time for another tips and tricks Blog for NaNoWriMo! Is everyone excited? It’s less than a week away now, and I’m honestly starting to get extremely antsy for it. As usual, I have a thousand ideas racing around in my head, and I’ve been tempted to completely throw out what I thought I was going to work on to plot something all new. That’s actually where my tip is going to come from today.
Follow your muse.
No, I’m not talking about only writing when your muse feels like it, because she’s in a flowing white gown and the lighting is just right, and the moonlight is poetic enough that maybe, maybe, if you ply her with chocolate and sweets and coffee she’ll come out so you can play.
I don’t believe in letting the muse be quite so in control, to be quite honest. So, before I dive into the tip that I actually meant to give you, I guess I’m going to give you another one. You can’t only write when you feel like it – especially for NaNo.
You’re working on a novel – you’re working on something that’s clearly important to you. Your writing is clearly important to you. If someone really loves sports and wants to excel, they practice. Even when they don’t want to. If someone really loves music and they want to excel, they practice. Even when they don’t want to.
If you really love writing, you should practice. Even when you don’t want to.
Are you getting where I’m going with this? I’m not saying that you have to write all of the time – I’m just saying that if it is something that is important to you… it’s probably something that you should put effort into practicing. And if it’s something that you want to do professionally? It’s really, really something that you should put a daily effort into. Yeah, the professionals don’t have to write all day every day… but you know what? They had to practice to get to where they are. They had to figure out how to hone and perfect their craft, and they’re still learning as they go.
So, that’s my little piece of advice that I actually didn’t mean to give in this blog. Treat your writing with the same respect as you would anything else that you want to get good at – yeah, it is something that is based on your creativity; take your muse hostage though. Tie that bitch up and stuff it into the closet, and only feed it after it has given you what you want, mkay?
In all seriousness, don’t wait around for some magical being to strike you with creativity. Don’t only write when you feel like it. Write even when you don’t – write when you don’t think that you can write. Eventually, even though it seems like it was hard at first, it will become a habit, and it will become something that you can do, even on those terrible days when you don’t feel like it. You’ll do it because you can, because you practiced, and because writing every day is something that is a part of you.
Okay… I’ve completely derailed from the actual reason that I was writing this blog. You know how I just told you to put your muse in a hostage situation…? Well… uh… you do still need to follow it though. What I mean by that is that you should pay attention to what your brain is interested in, and what you want to do for your writing project. I’ve had a lot of people in my writing group this year who have already talked to or approached the subject of the fact that they aren’t sure what they want to write this year. They had an idea that they developed at the beginning of October.
The problem with coming up with an idea at the beginning of October when you’re a creative person is that your brain has a lot of trouble settling on just that one idea. So you plot, you plan, you get pictures, you make playlists… and you find that you still have two weeks until NaNo begins and a million ideas kind of nagging at the back of your mind.
Yeah, I actually had that happen to me last year. I had my novel idea all set out – RipTide was going to be about post-apocalyptic mermaid things. (Yeah, bad explanation, but the explanation isn’t what this blog is actually about.)
Half way through doing my 31 Horror Prompts for October, I came up with this story about a boy whose mother sold her soul, and his soul, in order to get pregnant and be able to keep a baby. The whole fate of Heaven and Hell rested on his shoulders, and I wrote this really awesome scene about an angel who didn’t look anything less than a monster.
Oopse. I didn’t mean it – I really didn’t… but somehow, that one scene that was only a few thousand words ended up starting a novel idea that I couldn’t shake. I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to write it. I couldn’t stop my mind from developing a plot… so, instead of freaking out, instead of spending all of November wishing that I’d worked on Angelblade instead of RipTide… I made a decision.
I worked on both.
Sometimes, you have to follow your muse. I’ve told this to everyone who has asked me advice on this particular subject.
What do I do if I have two projects that I really want to work on?
Work on both. I promise, your mind will usually sort things out for you. I did about 15,000 words on Angelblade, and about 80,000 on RipTide. My mind figured out what project it really wanted to focus on… but by not putting myself into a box and only letting myself go the conventional route of one book, I didn’t have regrets, and I didn’t stop RipTide half way through November because I was so frustrated with the fact that I didn’t just write Angelblade instead.
So, yeah, that’s my NaNo Tip for you today – listen to your muse, and follow it… but don’t let it dictate when you write. Your muse is there to give you ideas, and it’s there to gentle urge you along… but you are a writer, and you don’t need your muse to write. You can do it just fine all on your own.
With NaNo only a few short days away, I hope that everyone is prepared! I’m probably going to do daily update/tip blogs come November, and then in December, we will get back to our regularly scheduled blogging program. I’m really glad that you guys are enjoying these tips and tricks, and if there’s anything that you wanted me to talk about, just leave it in the comments below. I promise, I’ll do my best to help you through whatever it is that you need help with.
So, until… not next tip. There won’t be another Tips in October. Guys… NaNo starts this coming Tuesday. So, the next NaNo blog you get from me will be my Day One Update.
That’s pretty damn exciting.
Until next time guys!!! Keep reading and writing, and keep being absolutely awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
My Discord Group (click to join) is starting to rev up for NaNoWriMo! If you want some help with plotting and a group to stay steady with after, feel free to click and join!