Pep Talk #2

on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
    I've written another chapter since my last post.  That means I'm  at 22,238 words total and 8,121 words since November started.  I'm almost halfway to my goal.  I really hope that I can stay motivated for the rest of the month.
    After looking at the rest of my week, I've got high hopes of what I can accomplish this week.  I have tomorrow and Wednesday off of work, so I'm really hoping I can a write a chapter each of those days.  My average chapter is 1,600 words.  That'll get me up to my 5,000 word weekly goal on top of the 6,255 words I wrote last week. Now, one of those chapters should be more than 2,000 words, and I'm hoping that I can write an extra chapter or two this week.  I'm planning to take a trip to Barnes & Noble tomorrow afternoon and just sit with my computer to write.
    When I set my NaNoWriMo goal, I was pretty skeptical of how much I could write, but planning it out day by day is much easier.  I've got to get ahead this week because I'm going to lose a few days around Thanksgiving, and I don't want that to put me behind.  
    Anyway, that's not the reason I'm writing this post.  I found another NaNoWriMo pep talk that I liked and wanted to share.




    This pep talk is unfortunately not from Smaug.  It's by Marie Lu and it was from last year's pep talks.  Here's the link to the full talk, as I'll just be pulling my favorite points from it.
    She focuses on pushing through writing when you feel the creative energy dwindling.  She's got two main points that I really liked.
    The first is to Turn to your favorite piece of writing.  Find your favorite passage and type it up word for word.  As you type, think about why it is your favorite passage.  Is it the imagery?  Is it the characterizations?  Humor?  Use of a specific literary device?  What makes this so perfect to you?  When you pinpoint the reason(s), think about why your writing could use that (or those) elements and figure out some way of incorporating it into your writing (without plagiarizing, of course).
    I think that's such an amazing idea.  I love to go back through my favorite books and find my favorite parts.  Reading lots of different styles and authors will always help your writing.  Whenever I read, I try to pick out at least one thing I really like about the writing style.  The moment I become conscious of it, I can't not think about using it in my own writing.  It sticks with me every time I write, and even if I don't implement it, I become more conscious of how I write and my writing automatically improves.
    The other point I really loved was Finding a different creative outlet.  When you're pushing through NaNoWriMo (or a rewrite), sometimes your mind can explode with words and letters, and it's too overwhelming.  Sitting and focusing all your energy into one thing over and over again can get more exhausting than putting your energy into lots of little things.  Repetition is EXHAUSTING.  Taking a break to focus on music, art, photography, knitting, something that doesn't have to deal with putting words on paper, will seriously clear your mind and make writing easier for the next day.
    I'm dead serious.  I know a lot of people say that they write (or chose whatever art form) because it clears their mind.  Not when you're powering through something like NaNoWriMo.  I've hit a point multiple times (in one week) where the words are overwhelming me and I have to step away from my computer.  I can't look at letters when I hit that point.  I've posted about it before.  My way of overcoming this is to draw.  I just take a scrap of paper and a pencil, and I sketch what one of my characters would see.  I do this because I'm still focused on what I'm writing, but I'm not thinking about words.  I'm thinking about my characters and how they see everything.  It helps me think through what I'm writing without actually thinking about writing.  
    Currently, I'm drawing the inside of La Robe Rose, what Rose sees when she works the register.  It's gotten me through four chapters in a little over a week.
    That's all I've got for now.  Thanks for reading, and happy NaNoWriMo!
    ~Alyson

2 comments:

saraletourneau said...

Just stumbled onto your blog via Goodreads, so I thought I'd come by say "Hello." :)

Good for you for keeping up with the writing and making time to write as often as you can! Do you have a specific word or chapter count goal you're trying to reach, either by the end of November or whenever the end comes?

I love both points you drew from Marie Lu's pep talk, especially turning to some of your favorite pieces of writing. I might have to try that one sometime.

I like how you use drawing as a way to clear your mind after too much writing yet to keep the story alive in your head. Have you learned anything new about your story or characters through drawing?

Baby Smaug rules, by the way. :D

Alyson Bowen said...

Originally I set a goal to write 20,000 words by the end of November (5,000 words a week), but then I got really excited about it and I ended up writing 15,000 words in two weeks.

Mostly my drawing helps to sort out all the thousands of words floating around in my mind, and after about half an hour, my mind is clear to write again. With one of my old stories that's been sitting in a drawer for 5+ years, I ended up writing an amazing plot twist in my mind while I was drawing. I still hope to pull that story back out and fix it so it's publishable.

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