Pep Talk - 2009 - Week 3

Yay! Time for week three, and you know what's good about that? It means that week two is DONE. My god, what a drag, every single time. Yeah, that thing I said about week two not being as bad as the rumors say? It was a lie. But I told you the week can smell fear x_x;

Okay, so it's week three. By now we're not quite halfway through the month, and hopefully most of us are rolling along better than I am rolling along typing this right now. Of course, the pep talks aren't for those people who are rolling along, because what do they need help for? :P So for this round, I thought I'd take some time and address some problems that people are struggling with right now.

Real Life getting in the way? It's notorious for doing that. Even if you're not trying to write a novel in a month, it can be difficult to fit in everything you want to do. For example, when I get home from work, I have a laundry list of my daily tasks: check favorite websites, play latest video game, chat with friends, write in group writing activities, watch poker shows, exercise...The list goes on and on. Sure, that sounds easy, but it takes some serious time management to get all of that in. I don't know how I do it sometimes. x_x However, since this is January, the writing group has died down, the TV is off, the video game is back in its case, and, well, let's just say the pounds ain't dropping off like water off a duck's back.

In order to have time for writing, unless you routinely spend a few hours every night staring at the wall, some of these fun things are going to have to be cut out or down. Prioritizing is important when you've got a looming deadline and a massive wordcount to go. One of the reasons I stress testing out how much you can write in a time limit on average is to allow yourself to put aside time for writing that daily goal [i]without[/i] having to devote your every waking moment to it. Since you *are* going to want to have time for some of that fun stuff (particularly when you hit a bump in the novelling road), I highly recommend some time management to this extent. Not only will it give you time for novel and whatever else moves you, but for you young'uns, it's a good skill to develop for your entry into the working world.

Now, perhaps the problem isn't that algebra homework staring you in the face, but your novel staring you in the face going "Well, now what?" Writer's block can strike at any time, and is talked about with about as much love from a writer as a man talking about why he needs Viagra (and in much the same tones of voice, as well). Well, that's what WriMos are for, among other things--how to get over the plot holes and bumps. And honestly, the easiest and best way is to write. You may need to skip a bit, brother, and come back to the scene in the next draft. Or maybe go off on a tangent and just describe the scene or have a little conversation between your characters about topics in philosophy while you collect your thoughts. And of course, there's the ever-popular distraction of ninjas or "Suddenly, cabbages! Thousands of them!" Whatever it is, the point is to [i]keep moving[/i]. Whatever the reason for your stop, it doesn't change the fact that you aren't writing right now. Remember, the plot holes through which an elephant can drive a truck can be fixed in revision. Let it suck. It honestly does not matter whether it's going to be editing hell or not, because that's not what JanNo is about. That's a problem for the EdMo people to help you with. :3

If you do get stuck, first off, don't be discouraged by that goal getting "farther away". There is still plenty of time to make up the slack--instead of trying to do it all at once, spread it out over the month or a week or however long you need. If you got a good start at the beginning of the month, that's where that excess comes in handy. If you're having trouble thinking about that extra needed wordage mocking you, then don't think about it and stick to your daily goals--there's always a good weekend or the endgame to slay the laughing beast.

Second, if you do get irrepairably stuck, take a break. Take a walk, do some chores, and don't think about your novel. Hopefully, one of two good things will happen: having come back to your computer refreshed from your walk/chores/whatever, the solution will be much more readily obvious than it was before. Or, you may come up with a fresh tangent or subplot to keep you going--inspiration can strike at any time with the most simple (or idiotic) of things.

The mini-tip of the week comes to us courtesy of some procrastinating browsing of the nano boards, where I randomly stumbled across Writing in the Age of Distraction, which gives you some tips that you might find handy for writing on a computer that happens to be connected to the terrible, dark world of the Internet.