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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NaNoWriMo Boot Camp: Day 5

Let's practice a little visualization...

You sit down in front of your computer on November 4th with 6,000 words written and the plan to write Chapter 3. You have your notes and your outlines. This is the perfect time of your writing day, and everything is how you need it to be to be the best writer you can be (which is a lot of be's). You take a deep breath, open the manuscript, and stare.

What the heck should you write?

Nothing comes to mind. Your creativity has flat-lined. You start to panic about making your word count for the day? What are you going to do?

I'll tell you what you're going to do. You're going to close that document and go get yourself a heavy dose of inspiration. Like a shot of adrenaline, these pre-packed doses of inspiration will fire up your creativity and get you writing in no time.

Exercise 1: Make A Mood Board
- Hit Tumblr, Deviant Art, and Instagram to find images that remind you of your character. Since you'll be using other people's art be respectful and keep it for personal use, not promotion. I have a Deviant Art folder just for setting inspiration.
- If you won't have access to the internet while writing consider saving your mood board images on a page that let's you rearrange them, like PowerPoint or OneNote.

Exercise 2: Make A Playlist
- You can make one for the book, or one for each POV character, or even mood playlists that help you set the tone for each scene.
- Either buy the music legally, or set up a Spotify or Pandora playlist.
- If you get stuck during NaNo crank up the music and stare at your mood board for five minutes.

Exercise 3: Make An Inspiration List
- Think of what books, movies, or TV shows inspired you. Keep them handy for NaNo.
- If you're stuck beyond reason, retreat from your writing area and get inspired. Part of an author's job is to read. Read widely. Read frequently. Read everything. The more you read, the better your writing gets, and it's better to sacrifice an hour of writing time to a good book than to whining on Twitter about how you suck at writing. Trust me on this one.

Exercise 4: RED ALERT!
- If all else fails, and nothing is working, know when to pull the plug.
- I'm not saying quit NaNo, but know when to call it a day. There are going to be times you simply can't write. Emotionally or physically you are drained and your brain is gray goo between your ears. Beating yourself up about isn't going to help. In fact, repeatedly telling yourself that you can't write will hurt you.
- Plan a non-writing activity that fires up your creativity. I like to go for a Zombie Run. Maybe you like to cook, or paint, or play football, or wash dishes by hand. Go do that thing.
- Forgive yourself, and plan on forgiving yourself for missed days. Remember, the 50,000 words is only a way of keeping score, it isn't the actual goal of NaNoWriMo. The goal of NaNo is to make good writing habits. Understanding that there are non-writing days is a good habit. Hating yourself for missing a writing day is a bad habit.
- Don't form bad habits.

NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 1: Establish a Baseline
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 2: Finding a Plot
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 3: The Antagonist
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 4: The Protagonist
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 5: Keep the Book Moving
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 6: Set The Stage

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