Guys! Deanna Here!
National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow! I am actually going to be using November to edit my novel, Mr. Arnold Brunch, so it’s more like National Novel Editing Month for me, but I am very excited to get started and I cannot wait to see all of you start to spill 50,000 words onto the page. I know you can do it and the prospect is just so exciting!
However, I also recognize the fact that NaNoWriMo, and being an active writer in general, comes with its fair share of stresses. I want to share with you some ideas for what you can do when you are just straight burned out and lost for ideas. What I’m going to do is list three common stresses that I find myself with during novel writing and the thing I typically do to distress in each case.
#1 – That Blank First Page:
I don’t think I even need to explain what I mean by this stress. It’s stated. The blank first page is staring you down and you’ve been staring back for over three hours and your eyes are starting to hurt. What do you do? At this point I would grab my notebook and go for a walk, or get some coffee, or do something away from the room that I typically work in, but take the idea with me. Sometimes all you need to do to de-stress is to introduce your idea to your real life.
#2 – Falling Behind:
Something came up (maybe for you this will be Thanksgiving – food is so distracting, plus there are people in your living room!) and now you are behind a day or two on your word count. How will you ever catch up? This is where I was usually the most stressed, but also the most productive. I would just pull an all-nighter and then I would feel better. Doesn’t sound appealing? Ice cream always helps, so does late night bacon. Do what you have to do to get out of the rut and back on the wild stallion. I recommend comfort foods. Your fingers will burn the calories.
#3 – Life + Writing = Overloaded:
Sometimes after you’ve been at work all day and then you come home and write for three or four hours you begin to feel really overloaded and like you just can’t even function like a normal human being anymore.
First off it’s important to realize:
“You are a writer. The ‘normal’ ship sailed without you long ago.” – Terri Main
Secondly I would highly recommend when you get in this state to flaunt your fabulous word count (or how long you worked if your word count isn’t all that fabulous) and go treat yourself to something – your favorite T.V. show, your favorite meal (I will repeat bacon as an option here) or just sitting back and doing nothing for a while.
In the end there is a time for work and a time for play.
Or in writer terms: There be a time to suffer and a time to cleanse your mind.
This applies to the busy month of November too. Make time for both. It is the key to keeping your fingers from dying out before your brain does.
Don't forget to check out Rani's post on manuscript formatting in my blog, Dancing on the Keys!