Monday, November 09, 2015

Overcoming NaNoGuilt - Just Start Writing

Chances are if you are reading this blog post you either elected not to do NaNoWriMo or you have hit the point where your word count has fallen far enough behind that a declaration of defeat is on your lips. Yeah, I'm there with you. Solidarity among slackers! Huzzah! But seriously, we need to be writing. We shouldn't let the NaNoGuilt get in our way.

NaNoWriMo is a great tool, but for some of us, the stress it induces keeps us from starting our writing. I am a great planner. Lists. Outlines. Calendars. Schedules. Research.  But taking action . . . SQUIRREL!

Don't let the NaNoGuilt get you down. Just like anything that is hard, but worthwhile, starting is the hardest part. Whether it is dieting, exercise, or writing (the holy trinity of things we all say we are going to do), starting is the hardest part.

So how do you start? The easy answer is just do it.

But seriously, it is that simple. Eliminate the excuses. You have the desire. You have the will. Now, lets find the way together.  These are the things that work with me:

  • Write the fun scene that made you want to write the book.  Of course you want to have a well plotted story, but if figuring out where to start is stopping you, don't worry. You have at least one scene dancing in your head, so write that one.  Once you start typing, the inertia will take over.
  • Write, don't type. For some reason, a pen and paper make it easier for me to start. I move into typing, but if I start in freehand, there is less pressure.  Less pressure makes it easier to start. Give it a try. What is the worst thing that happens? Hand cramp? Wimp.
  • Give yourself realistic goals.  NaNoWriMo can be discouraging when you have a daily word count you feel you can never fill. That pressure will still your fingers. Start with a goal of 500 words. You can do that.  That's nothing.  Once you get those done, you will find it is easier to keep typing.  
  • Leave yourself a prompt once you start.  Each day will present new challenges. And just like time away from your gym (or cheating on your diet), the longer you go without writing, the harder it will be to get back into it. Make sitting down a little easier for yourself by leaving yourself a note on where to pick up. You'll thank yourself for it later.
 It is easy to say you want to write, but the actual writing part is hard. I would love to hear what you do to "just do it."


Suzanne Johnson said...

Ha--you must be reading my mind this morning. I even set up a NaNo FB group to force myself to keep up. 9 Days, 1,200 words, all from the first day.

So maybe I'll start back...tomorrow.

Susan said...

LOL! Suzanne, I am in the same boat.

Great post, Heather!

Chris Bailey said...

I tried NaNo three times, and every time, by day 4 or 5 or 9, failed to meet the word count, and then failed to catch up the next day and the next, and then the failure struck me like an avalanche, and ... blah, blah, blah. I no longer try to compete that way. It's not a motivator for me. I may never get to 50,000 in 30 consecutive days. But I have finished novel-length books. What's evident is that the words somehow add up. Back to the story--and best wishes to all who are NaNoing!

Aidee Ladnier said...

Shia LaBeouf is hysterical in that video. Although I'm unsure what the flexing of muscles has to do with writing. LOL!