NaNoWriMo 2014: Week One’s Over. What’d I learn?

1. Go with the flow. Basically when you think you’re going with it, relax and go with it so much more. This is not the time to be auto-editing content (that’s editing as you’re writing it). If anything, you better not erase that h smack dab in the middle of the word daghger because it will relinquish you from that awesome story-train-of-thought you have worked so hard to hone in on …you know I’m talking to you (I’m definitely talking to me). I’ve been meditating before I even put words to word processor. It sounds cliche at this point, but that pretty much is the end all be all for pragmatic creativity. Also, I free write. I am so hoping everyone in the world gets on this train. If you don’t free write, you should, it’s very liberating.

2. Coffee = BFFL. It’s more truer than true. My role model of role models David Lynch led me here. Embarrassingly enough, I did not drink much coffee until around January of this year after I realized I needed it to stay awake past like four hours a day (heh, go figure). I guess I was fueled on energy drinks in high school and my earlier twenties. When I quit that train I had nothing left but gallons of oolong.

3. After caffeine, scheduling time is the biggest necessity for writing I have ever seen in my life. Right up there with writing down daily writing goals and actually doing them instead of procrastinating. I am the worst procrastinator in the entire world. I procrastinated an essay one time until the day after it was due, got an extension on it, and then procrastinated AGAIN until I graduated. I am not proud of this, I am just saying it to show you that we all have a somewhat delusional need to stay in La-La Land versus actually Doing The Damn Thing. Ironically, now a days I use a scholastic planner (one of those high school shits), just ’cause I like the layout. It works best for my lifestyle, which I try to keep as day by day and line by line as possible. I’m not ever trying to over complicate things; I have enough discombobulation going on up there already. Which leads us to…

4. Simple words Are usually the best. I do not type well while I’m word vomiting. I’ve gotten in the habit of periodically looking away from the screen while I’m typing because I have a habit of immediately erasing what I’ve written in hopes of better words that don’t irk me. This is not a conducive habit for novel writing or really any type of writing that I’ve seen.

5. I could do this FOREVER. I mean that, seriously. Neil Gaiman always tells young writers hoping to break into the industry that they need to write, write, write… not just think about it. I mean, I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but he’s super right. I was hoping that NaNoWriMo would help me write a novel I had been dying to get out for some time, and it has and is… but it’s also just helping to underscore that if I don’t write, I don’t know what true freedom and balanced happiness feels like.

6. They do not lie when they say inspiration is everywhere. Your story can and will surprise you (probably, hopefully). If it doesn’t, you need to make it surprise you. My number one suggestion is to get out of your head and the story for a little while. Admittedly, it can be hard to do… I am a natural born dweller. I have ruined perfect story ideas before because I have muddied the waters with details too much before the actual writing even began. Go watch a movie or play a game, you’re thinking too hard about it, so anything that you can let yourself get caught up in and distracted by is good. I’m currently balls deep in Xenosaga: Episode I (you know, Der Wille zur Macht!) to help me unwind when I can’t write.  Don’t judge me, just find what works for you.  When you go back to your story, you may find a solid footing to take you to the next level. Also, don’t stress the steps so much, just listen to your instincts, and allow yourself to enjoy them because…

7. 50k is the smallest of feats for love and a life well lived. I am already planning on a couple more books after this one. I know who I’m dedicating this book to and that seems important to me and makes me love the process even more. I feel like I am doing something with my life. The fact is, I feel like I’m doing what many others only think about doing.  50 K in 30 days might seem exhausting, but it should be. You are allowing yourself to love something so much that you watch it go from a small and seemingly insignificant word or phrase into something extraordinary. At the end of the day, no matter if this novel gets published or not, I’m going to be proud because I took the time to allow this story to twist, sculpt, explode, and form into a prose that reflects a piece of me. In turn, it has started to sculpt me as well.

Please feel free to add anything you learned in the comments!  I am always looking for new tips and tricks for writing and the pragmatic creative process!


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