Last night was my first crack at racking up some words for NaNoWriMo. I’m a little worried about how I’m beginning this NaNo. I plotted this book out maybe a month ago now and haven’t had the chance to look at my notes before it was time to start. This has led to four different opening scenes, none of which I love.
I’ve had a smattering of suggestions for how to solve this issue, so I figured why not share them?
Write the part you want to write.
Chances are if you’re a plotter or a pantser, there are some scenes in the book you’re writing that you just know how it’s going to unfold. It’s a scene that excites you. You know it’s going to be uber cool.
For those who are pantsers, this could be a great way to get words on the page and something to write toward when they circle back to write the beginning. On the flip side of the coin, plotters could either love or hate this method. Because most of us plotters know how the dice will fall, this method could help getting out of a rut and moving on. For those of us who are linear writers, this is a big, fat no help. I can’t do it, but maybe it will work for you!
Sometimes getting a sentence, object or a setting given to you can make those gears start turning. I think of the Storywonk podcast orange cat for this one. If you listen to the podcast you know what I’m talking about. If not, don’t worry about it, or go download the Storywonk podcasts. A lot of times there will be a goofy something worked into the book that will be edited out. A clown throwing pies. Wind blowing up a girl’s skirt. Something silly that gets the movement going.
I love timed sprints. You can get people to do them with you in person or online. I usually do these online, either in a chat room or on twitter. There’s something about the competition of it that makes the words come faster for me. Maybe it’s just because I’m that competitive, but whatever! This whole month is about a race.
This is the one that annoys me, but I can appreciate the motivation of it. This hits on the idea that you cannot edit a blank page. Just getting something on the paper often will help. Pantsers can discovery write something, the plotters can start eeking out the words on their time line and build up steam. It’s probably the technique I use most, and also hate.
Step away from the book.
There are times when you cannot make words happen. A walk, cleaning, exercising, playing a game or even taking a shower or a drive can give your mind the freedom to spark ideas. Don’t just sit there staring at a screen and not accomplishing anything.