Thursday, November 7, 2019

An O'Abby tip for NaNoWriMo

I guess everyone is writing novels this month instead of emails to O'Abby...

So, we’re a week into NaNo. How are you going? Are you sleeping? Are your kids getting fed? Is the laundry piling up in the laundry and the dishes on the kitchen counter?

If so, don’t worry. It probably means you’ve been writing. Or at least I hope you have!

This week I want to give you a tip that might help you if the initial rush of starting your new book has worn off and you’re starting to feel like writing is just too hard.

It is tempting to give up once that initial burst of excitement and productivity wears off. Once you’ve written that startlingly original beginning you’ve been imagining since you first came up with the idea for this story. Maybe it didn’t come out on the page the way you imagined. Or maybe it hasn’t sparked the next scenes in a way that makes you excited to sit down and write.

Don’t stop.

There’s bound to be a scene somewhere further in the book you are excited to write. A kissing scene, maybe? A piece of action you have choreographed in your head? An emotional moment that brings a lump to your throat each time you think about it?

Write it.

Now is not the time to be precious about writing in a linear way. Write the scenes you want to write, the ones you are excited about. The ones that made you want to write this particular story. You can fill in the stuff that gets your characters from the beginning to that point later on. I know a lot of writers don’t like to write out of sequence, but if you’re struggling to get to your word count, or feel stuck in your story, this is a way to push past that block and possibly free yourself up to move on.

The great thing about this technique is you can use it over and over again through the writing of your project. Any time you get stuck, just leave your characters where they are. They’ll still be there where you get back to them. And often writing through scenes later in the book will give you ideas that will help push past that sticking point.

Remember this isn’t a final draft. It isn’t even a first draft. If you hit your 50K words at the end of the month and there are still holes in your story, it doesn’t matter. You can fill them in. Or maybe you’ll find you don’t actually need all the connective tissue you thought you would when you started writing.

Hopefully this will be helpful for you. It’s something I use all the time when I’m drafting, during NaNo or any other time. I’ll let you in on a secret too. I almost always write the ending of my books really early on. I don’t do much plotting ahead of time and having an ending there gives me something to aim for. If you have an ending in mind now, but aren’t quite sure how to get to it, maybe you should try writing it. It might help you to find your way.

Happy writing!

X O’Abby

PS.  After 6 days my word count is sitting at around 11K.  How are you getting on?

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