Friday, November 5, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Three, Pt. 1 & 2

Part 1: Threats Sometimes Work Better Than Bribes

Following up my dramatic, epic fail called NaNoWriMo Day Two, I have some proof of the Wrimo organizers' remark that sometimes, threats are more effective than treats. Actually, though, I used both.

We have a large surplus of chocolate Kisses, and I made a bargain with myself: For every 2,000 words, I would reward myself with a piece of chocolate.

Apparently, though, by the morning of Day 3 of NaNo with zero, I repeat, zero words, I decided it was time for a little threatening.

I woke up 15 minutes before my violin lesson, and had to run to my teacher's house without breakfast.

When I got home, I was desperate for a locked-in, rock-solid plot so I could write, for goodness sake!!!!

So... seeing as I had had no meal yet that day, I threatened myself:


Yeah.... but I was desperate!

So... if  you read the title of this post, I bet you can guess what happened.

I have a plot. A locked-in, rock-solid plot. With no food in my stomach.

(Of course, I did allow myself a cup of coffee, which certainly helped. Thanks Papa!)

But it wasn't me. I was praying (read muttering) as I scribbled random thoughts like "cotton candy," "tango," and "purple worms" waiting for the inspiration to come. Things went a bit like, "Lord, I really really really need a plot. Lord, help me please. I need help. I need a plot. I'm hungry, Lord!"

And about an hour later, my prayers had been answered.

And after I had written my plot down (and done a really pathetic victory dance, and screamed "Whoo-hoo!!!" up and down the hallway, sorry Mom), I had breakfast, just like I promised myself.

(Black beans and rice have never tasted so good...)

I know that that's not exactly ground-breaking information, but I thought I'd let y'all know that my Wrimo life didn't stay at Day 2.

Sum it up to say: When coaxing fails to spark your inner writer into action, use force.

So... I'll be coming up on 4,000 sometime in the near future, hopefully. I haven't hit 2k yet, but I should within a couple more hours of writing. And once 4k rolls around, I'll post the promised excerpt. :)

To all the other Wrimos out there-- it's possible! You can do it!

Part 2: The Dreaded Writer's Block

You know... most of the time, there's a logical reason for writer's block.

For me, and perhaps for you too, it's because of a lack of preparation.

Or possibly, also like me, it's because you're writing with the wrong medium.

I was a Double Pack of WB this time around.

My problem concerning preparation was that I had too many conflicting plot elements being juggled around, and I hadn't yet decided which ones would stay and which ones would go before I began writing.

Bad idea.

Really bad idea.

Especially when you are on a crazy deadline.

So... I solved that, as you know, using methods discussed in Part 1 of this post. Under the threat/dread of no breakfast, I opted to do the frightening thing called making decisions that will be irrevocable that I will be stuck with for 28 more days rather than starve to death. Not that I actually would've starved to death... but anyway....

My other problem was that I was trying to write my first draft on the computer. For some folks, no biggie! For me? Well, I've been writing with notebooks and pens for the past four or five years. That's one of the biggest waker-uppers of my writing mind.

And I was trying to write on the computer?!?!

Crazy? Yeah.

So... if you're life depends on routines, I would say use the medium that you've always used when it comes to writing. For those of you that don't need a routine, use whatever works.

But also, when you just need a creative trigger/boost, here are some methods I've used successfully.

-Pray. Lay it all out there before Jesus. You probably won't have a sudden burst of ideas. God's not a genie. But just give Him your problems and struggles, be brutally honest with Him, and I promise: He hears you, and He's with you. And then start writing. And keep writing. Persevere. Nothing worth gaining was ever gained without difficulty. (Is that how the saying goes?? I have no idea. Well, hopefully you get the gist.)

-Write *another* outline. Make a list of what you already have, and then maybe you'll see what you're missing

-Write random things. Get a blank piece of unlined paper, and just write the first things that come to mind. They really don't have to be centered around your story. I was writing things like "green bean coffee" and "the tango!" And as you keep scribbling away, chances are some grand idea will hit you like a thunderbolt.
**I was reluctant to try this method, and reserved using it for a very desperate moment. And probably won't use it again until I reach another very desperate moment.**

-Read someone else's work (or if you're screenwriting, go watch a good movie). Get away from your project and spend some time with someone else's and you might revisit your project with fresh inspiration.

-Just call it a day and come back to it tomorrow. Sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn't. But when all else fails, sleep on it.

Well, I hope I made some sense somewhere up there :)

Contact my mother if you have concerns relating to my sanity.

Have a great day, folks!


Everyone's Favorite Composer said...

I will contact your mother then. I've been wondering what to do about you for a while. By the way, please, please don't make it a habit to starve yourself.

The Director said...

Ha ha-- hey, but I'm still alive and well, aren't I?

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness... I'm afraid I just died laughing.

To say the least, you are hilarious and should write a book about your NaNo experiences. I would definitely, without a doubt, buy that book were it ever published.

Hee, hee. Well, thanks for making my day. ;)

(And thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. :) )

The Director said...

Aw, you're awesome Katie.
Glad I could provide some entertainment ;)

PS I love your blog <3