NaNoWriMo · Writing Life

National Novel Writing Month

November is a great month. It’s fall, the leaves are changing colors, bonfires will conveniently blow in whatever direction you’re sitting, and it’s socially acceptable to wear a hoodie almost everyday (just not the same one). It’s also National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. NaNo for even shorter, because typing that out gets tiring.

NaNo was founded by Chris Baty, author of the book No Plot? No Problem! The idea is to write out an entire 50,000 word novel in thirty days, which sounds a lot easier when you remember that’s roughly 1667 words a day. You can go to nanowrimo.org to sign up and join writers from around the world. If you’re stuck, the website has forums full of people ready to help. Or maybe you just want to procrastinate and complain about how your main character refuses to act appropriately.

We’ve all been there.

At the end of NaNo, they award prizes to those that completed 50,000 words. Mostly it’s codes for discount software, and usually one self-publisher will offer to give you one free copy of your book. If you don’t cross the finish line, you still get discounts for participating. They’re a little smaller, but hey, discounts are discounts.

Join us for the next couple of Mondays for NaNo Preparation. We’ll cover the basics of what you’ll will need to survive November with your sanity mostly intact with helpful tips and plenty of worksheets to make that muse work for you.

You can find me on NaNoWriMo as Purple Penguin so feel free to add me!

Prompts · Writing Life

An Introduction to Prompts

Prompts are something that’s supposed to give you an initial idea: write something focused on the color blue; your main character ages thirty years over night. Oh no! Crazy or mundane, it doesn’t matter, prompts will tell you what to do and it’s your job to find out how you can do it. The problem is, writers generally don’t view them this way. They look at a prompt and say it’s dumb, there’s no way they can write something from this. What are they, some kind of writer?

Well, yeah. That’s why you’re trying to write, dumb-butt.

Unfortunately, many people don’t look up prompts unless they’re in the middle of Writer’s Block. They’re so far into it that they’re looking for anything to tell them what to do, to wave a magic wand in front of their faces and say, “Right here! This is what you have to do!” When you look at prompts in this state of mind, suddenly they’re all the dumbest thing you’ve ever read. Because guess what? They aren’t there to hold your hand and tell you how to write. They’re just there to go, “Hey, what if unicorns, am I right?” And you give it a try, no strings attached.

So the next time you see a prompt, which will be once a week on this blog, remember that it’s here to give you an idea for a quick scene. It’s not going to fix your writer’s block. That’s your job.