withorwithoutyou: (highway// just another soldier on the ro)
[personal profile] withorwithoutyou
Here's a link to an interesting article I found the other day.
50 Things A Writer Shouldn't Do
The funny thing is, since we're talking about NaNoWriMo, most of those rules are to be discarded until the end of the month. Feel free to use them in December. Honestly, I find the lack of rules involved in NaNoWriMo to be awfully refreshing. That said, there's a few things I've learned from personal experience. They aren't rules, they're just things I've learned about my own writing process, and that's different for each person.

Dear self, this is what you need to know:
    • Coffee is your friend. Always, but especially right now.
    • If you must eat, and I suppose that's necessary, try natural energy bars. They're a lot better for you than that day old pizza. (You're going to the gym, you say? Heh. Funny writer, you should add that to the novel somewhere. Honestly though, if you do make it to the gym, then pat yourself on the back and write an extra five hundred words while you're on your jogging buzz.)
    • BACK UP YOUR WORK. For the love of all that is good and holy, just do it. Back it up, and do it in more than one place. A flash drive costs less than ten dollars these days. Tell me, is ten dollars too much to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your novel, your baby is safe? I don't think so. I find that saving things to GoogleDocs and to my email account is also effective, and doing all three ensures that I can sleep soundly at night, free of the worry that my novel will mysteriously disappear on a vacation to Cancun sometime during or after NaNoWriMo.
    • Distractions such as family, work, and television must be avoided at all costs. But if you can't, then write them into your novel and kill off the ones you can do without. It's great for your word count.
    • Monologues are wonderful. Part of any evil villainous baddie's arsenal is always his/her ability to produce a monologue on his/her evil-ness and desires to take over the world. These are not only wonderful for exposition, but are also a brilliant way of adding needed words. Have a villain using a destabilized nebula to power a gamma ray? Wonderful! Write on, in great detail about this. Use your adjectives to get the best descriptions. As a side note, if you have a hapless hero, these are a great way to help him/her along to the inevitable happy ending.
    • Writer's block is evil. Do not succumb to it. First it'll be one night you just can't think of anything, and then the next you'll be too tired, and so on and so forth until it's December first and you find yourself staring sadly at seventeen thousand words of novel that you will likely never finish. It could've been something great, and you blew it. Sorry about that, better luck next year?
    • Mary Sues are evil. If you see them cropping up, then be quick about finding inventive ways of writing them out of your novel post-haste.
    • Beware Greeks bearing gifts. Er, that is... beware strange restaurants bearing food. Do you honestly want to try that new Mexican/Chinese/Indian restaurant now? If you get food poisoning, I guarantee this novel ain't gonna get written. Why not save that for December 2? (since you'll be sleeping all of the first, only to emerge from your cave with the title of novel writer, and a new appreciation for sleep, on the morning of the second, famished like a bear making his grand exit after a long winter of hibernation. If you're like a mother bear, you'll even have something to show for it- a finished novel! Not only is it less messy than a bear cub, but you can make money off it if you play the cards right. Not to mention cocktail party bragging rights. Chris Baty had a point about this)
    • Don't second guess yourself. I know it's hard. I fight this every time I pick up the pen/computer/cellphone, etc. (yes the cellphone, some days I have to get a thought down. No, stop looking at me like that!) As I was saying, don't second guess yourself. Your only goal this month is to get the words out. You can worry about making them all pretty and Pulitzer worthy later, just get them out in the first place and you'll have a starting point from which you can do revisions. Revisions are your friends. They allow you to spout words freely all through this month, knowing that you will have license to rip apart even the most cringe-worthy sections of you novel later on. And by later on, I mean sometime that's not this month.
    • Music will be invaluable to your writing process. Don't be afraid to go with what the muse wants to listen to, even if it's ridiculous 90s pop music that would normally instantly revoke your status in the music snobs club. It doesn't matter. This month, you have a higher calling, you're writing a novel. If that fails, just blame it on the voices in your head. This time, you have the excuse that they are characters in your novel who demand to listen to cheesy 90s pop. I'd get to work on a list of excuses for the rest of the year while you're at it.
    • Your friends who know you're writing a novel this month will be invaluable. Sometimes the smallest things can make your day, even if it's just a bit of encouragement. Don't underestimate the power of another human being telling you that you can do it.
    • Have fun. That's the whole point of this crazy thing. You're not supposed to be doing anything in particular other than teaching yourself that you can do this, and have a great time in the process. It only comes once a year, so enjoy it while it's here. Don't worry about any right or wrong way of doing it, or the way other people write their novels. That's their writing process, and last time I checked, you are not them. Therefore, just do what feels natural for you, because in the end there really is only one rule to NaNoWriMo that's non-negotiable, and that's that you have to have fun. If you're not having fun, then you're not doing it right.

I wrote this because I needed to remind myself of a few things before I could forget them. That said, I'm going to be adding to this throughout November as I think of things that I want to remember about this crazy month long self discovery trip. The best part of any trip is all the things you see along the way. With that in mind, I can't wait to see what else this month has in store.
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