You Can Write … Now

2 November, 2019 § Leave a comment

As NaNoWriMo kicks into gear, Anne Lamott offers some inspiration.

The start is the thing. The blank page. The “what will I say?”, “how will I start?”, “who am I to try?”, “write a book – what was I thinking!?” … Insert your own Debbie Downer statements that poke their way into your creative genius, preventing anything from getting on the page.

NaNoWriMo is a monster of a challenge and not to be taken lightly. The premise is to write 50,000 words as a first draft in 30 days. It happens every November. And die-hards love it as a way to commit and write.

NaNo asks you to prepare yourself in October by quashing any reasons that will stand in your way of dedicating time to your writing. Why wait ’til October? You can do these things now to focus on your writing.

  • Get healthy food and snacks ready
  • Have your beverage of choice on tap
  • Work out where you will write
  • Decide when can squeeze writing time into your overloaded schedule
  • Make some notes about what you’ll write – as brief or as full an outline as you can bear
  • Calculate a word count target for your sessions (50,00/30=1667 a day)
  • Apologise early for unintended crabbiness
  • Let everyone know you’re dedicated to writing big-time ie get a do-not-disturb sign;

Anne Lamott exhorts us to stop putting off writing as an unattainable dream we’ll do one day or as soon as …. Write as is. In other words, fit writing into your life as it is now. Don’t wait for that magical time when you have time. Make time. Read her full piece here.

Start now.

Start small.

NaNoWriMo aims for 50,000 but you can set your own target. Try 10,000 words over the month. Maybe 5000. The trick is to get going. Once you do, you may be surprised how easily the words flow. Start now and by NaNoWriMo you’ll easily do 50k in a dedicated month. 

Get your ideas, thoughts, sentences on paper. Tidy them up later when you’ve exhausted your memory, imagination and brain and can then step into logic mode.

Just get the words down.

Don’t die with your book still in you.

Anne Lamott is the author of Bird by Bird: some instructions on writing and life, one of the essential craft books to have in your collection. She has written both fiction and non-fiction. Watch her interview on for ideas and insights on this engaged writer.

30 Day NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge

13 December, 2016 § Leave a comment

Don’t know about you but I’m always up for a challenge to get me focused and productive. So, in looking about for a suitable writing challenge I came upon this little gem.

Now I haven’t yet attempted NaNoWriMo but I suspect I’d be pushing it uphill to get that done at the same time as this challenge but hey, it’s a personal pursuit. If you can do both, fine. If you can only do one, also fine. You get to choose your own adventure.

Either way this is a neat little way to add some light relief to what is a serious challenge (being NaNo). Apart from the drudgery (?) of a daily word count during the month you get to check what your secondary challenge is in the list below.

For those not in the know, NaNoWriMo is an annual challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month being November. It was dubbed ‘National Novel Writing Month’, or, NaNoWriMo for short.shield-nano-side-blue-brown-rgb-hires

So, in the interests of ensuring I don’t forget about this one with the intention to do it “one day” I am popping it in here. Who knows who else may benefit?

Original post:

I know some of these already exist, but I WANTED TO MAKE ONE FOR MYSELF. (And that’s what NaNo’s all about, amIright?) 

Note: If you reach 50k, or your personal goal for the month on any of the days during November you do not have to do the challenge.

  1. Day 1: What are you writing? (The title of your novel, how you picked the title, and how you got the idea for the book)
  2. Day 2: Worst fear. (What are you the most nervous about for the month?)
  3. Day 3: Writing a Tourist’s Guide for your world. (Write a paragraph about your setting/world like a tourist guide book, and include at least one place to spend money!)
  4. Day 4: I don’t know if you noticed this but– (A glaring plot hole, character that’s come out of nowhere, that subplot that had no end)
  5. Day 5: Adrenaline and coffee are my only friends! (What powers you through the month?)
  6. Day 6: Write like you’re snowed in. (Make yourself a pillow fort, get some hot coffee, snacks, and hide in your room and write. Bonus points if you put on Christmas music)
  7. Day 7: Community Chest! (It’s the last day of week one, finish your word count and then share a scene with someone! Online or otherwise. Must be at least 500 words long.)
  8. Day 8: Confession Friday! (Confess one thing about your novel, and have your MC make a confession either in story, or to Tumblr.)
  9. Day 9: Please keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times! (Come up with three punishments. No candy, no t.v., what have you. If you don’t meet your word count for the day, you must follow those punishments for the next 24 hours. (And it can’t be ‘no writing’!)
  10. Day 10: These shoes are just starting to pinch. (List three things about your story you liked in the beginning, but are now starting to bug you.)
  11. Day 11: ‘Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes~!’ (Describe the most dramatic character, and most dramatic scene in your novel so far.)
  12. Day 12: Hi, these are my friends: ____ and ____ (Introduce us to your favorite and least favorite characters)
  13. Day 13: It’s a beautiful day! (Write outside for at least one hour, or 1667 words, whichever comes first. (only excuse is unsafe, or rain))
  14. Day 14: Get out of jail free card! (No challenge today, except to meet the word count!)
  15. Day 15: The tipping point. (If you’ve met the word count when you read this, then list your favorite and your least favorite things about your novel. If you haven’t met the word count add an unexpected death to your story.)
  16. Day 16: Whip it out Wednesday! (I don’t know what you meant, but I was talking about your word count. Post your word count online. If the last digit is 1-4, post the last thing your MC said, 5-8 the last line you wrote, 9 , write another 234 words.)
  17. Day 17: Pat yourself on the back! (treat yourself to something special. If you haven’t met the word count then treat yourself and write 1 word for every cent your treat cost, up to 1700)
  18. Day 18: The Day of all Days (The most important event in your novel so far, and a brief Newspaper article describing it. (If you’re down on word count, just a headline))
  19. Day 19: What do you mean the 20th’s tomorrow!? (Include an unexpected twist or revelation in your story. Bonus points if this event gets you more than 500 words!)
  20. Day 20: Nothing can stop me now, except – (What’s your biggest threat to reaching 50k on time?)
  21. Day 21: Royal Flush! (Grab a card deck, pick a card at random. If you get 2-10 you write 350 extra words. Face cards are no effect, and Ace means 1,000 extra words.)
  22. Day 22: Big lipped alligator moment! (Include a scene that is totally random, contributes nothing to the plot, and is never explained or mentioned in the novel again.)
  23. Day 23: Monster Reborn! (Remember that death in on the 15th? Guess who’s back! If you didn’t have to kill a character, then bring in a new one for at least one scene)
  24. Day 24: Seven Deadly Sins (Pick a character, or scene to go with each deadly sin, and a short reason why. Exp: Astithe = Envy. Astithe envies Orithur’s power and marriage to Jestelle, which drives him in the story.)
  25. Day 25: WHAT DO YOU MEAN PEOPLE ARE ALREADY WINNING!? (Do a 30 minute word sprint, and congratulate the writer’s who have already won.)
  26. Day 26: Your Burn Book. (Write a bad thing about every one of your characters. Extra points for every extra bad thing, or if you mention the book in story)
  27. Day 27: It was ______ at first sight! (How are you feeling about your novel right now? Do you love it, hate it, both, neither, other?)
  28. Day 28: Chocolate feeds my soul and my word count. (Give yourself a prize (candy, minutes on Youtube, etc) for everyone one of your NaNo buddies who have reached 50k)
  29. Day 29: 10k Friday. (Try and write 10,000 words in 24 hours)
  30. Day 30: IT’S OVER! (Did you win? Did you lose? Will you participate next year, do you think? Did you have fun?)
  31. Day 1: It’s December now. (Do not write anything. Live. Speak to your friends again, eat healthy meals again. Sleep.)

The source for this challenge came from here.

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