It’s time once again!
NaNoWriMo countdown starts again. In less than two weeks writers – novice and professionals alike – will shut themselves off from the rest of society for a whole month in an attempt to start and finish a complete novel. However, it isn’t as ‘anti-social’ as you would think. For starters you really only need several hours a day to achieve the goal of writing a 50,000 word manuscript. Remember, the trick is to write the damn thing and not to focus on the rewrite to the perfect finished work.
Here are a few tips that you can do ahead of time to prepare:
1. Know what you’re going to write about.
If you take the time to carefully decide what you want to write – ahead of time – you will ensure that you don’t waste precious time at the start of NaNoWriMo.
2. Prepare an outline.
Yes I know…some writers don’t want to prepare an outline but if you’re one of those who benefit from a good working plan then an outline will serve you exceedingly well.
3. Take some practice shots.
You wouldn’t want to swim the English Channel without jumping in the water and doing a few exercises. If you start writing ahead of time you will develop a momentum that will help kick start the NaNoWriMo challenge. Try writing a short story each day or write a personal memoir…anything to help you get into the writing habit.
4. In addition to #3 above you will want to ensure you have your routine down. That includes setting aside time each day at the same time. Also make sure you have your writing location down pack. If you think you’re going to write the novel in your kitchen then start practicing in your kitchen.
5. Reschedule appointments and trips throughout the month of November. Nothing kills the writing process more than having a week long trip smack in the middle. Anything that will change your routine will hurt your writing momentum.
Good luck. Hopefully I’ll have some further tips to share with you later on.
admin @ October 20, 2014
Did anyone notice my New Year’s resolution this year? I promised to write something everyday. In fact my plan was to write in my writingbasics blog something each and every day. The bad news is that I haven’t been writing anything (in my blog). The good news is that I’ve been writing some 2000 to 4000 words each and every day except for the occasional weekend when I’ve been resting and working at being a good dad and devoted husband.
The year 2014 has marked a new turning point. I suspect it’s a mid-life crisis. As my hormones go out of whack I’ve been trying to redefine myself. I’ve taken up new causes and realigned myself towards new goals, especially writing goals.
My sideline job has been exceedingly difficult and repleted with complexity and uncertainty. Which is wonderful! Whenever something stirs me up like this it prompts me to TAKE MASSIVE ACTION. Anthony Robbins outlined the success formula as follows:
1. Know what it is you want
2. Take action, TAKE MASSIVE ACTION
3. Check to make sure if your actions are working
4. If they aren’t working, CHANGE YOUR APPROACH!
Hence, we must continuously examine whether the actions we take on a daily basis work to bring us closer or further from our goal. Inaction, should be seen as “being taken away from your goals.
So before I leave you, I want to ask are you writing consistently? Have you fallen out by the wayward side? If so re-evaluate what it is that you’re doing and CHANGE YOUR APPROACH!!
Have a great and successful writing day!
admin @ September 11, 2014
Do you ask yourself “Why I write?” Does writing cause you to question your motives?
A few years ago when I was beginning out I suddenly had this sudden bout of concern. That I was kidding myself. I kept telling myself that writing was for the creative arts graduate, that despite my ambition to write I couldn’t see it through. As a result I put my word processor down and didn’t go back for two years! I bet there were a number of reasons why I did that. Perhaps I quit writing because of an ever changing role in my relationship to my wife and family. Perhaps it was because up until then I hadn’t published anything. Whatever the reason it caused me to seriously doubt my writing ability and as a result I said “Screw it!”
Today I write each and every day. I have three published books and I’m working on a new novel which I believe is going to be the best thing since “Catcher in the Rye”!! Okay maybe I’m fooling myself but know this that if you say to yourself “I am a writer” or “I am NOT a writer” in both cases you are correct! You are what you believe.
I don’t want to make this to be a religious thing since that wouldn’t be politically correct for this blog but I truly believe with all my heart that God instills innate qualities in all of us. My calling was to be writer. I seriously don’t know why this is for instance I hated reading books growing up. Except of course for a good dozen or so which left me saying “wow!” Subconsciously, reading these books churned my subconscious engine to internalize all the reasons why I wanted to be a writer. To the point where I couldn’t ignore my calling any longer! It took more years for me than it does for many writers but today I am glad I have set my goals to be a writer.
If you have that burning desire, RUN WITH IT!! Keep at it day to day. You will be successful. You will be successful. You will be successful….keep telling yourself, please.
admin @ January 13, 2014
You call yourself a writer but you can’t find the time to write. You got to take the kids to swimming lessons or dancing class. You’re putting in twelve hour workdays and most nights all you want to do is sleep! Hey, you’re singing to the choir! We’re all there, trust me. What distinguishes a real writer form the rest is that despite all other obstacles we take the initiative to put writing right up there high on our life’s priorities. My own priorities include family (comes first), my health and my writing ….in that order. Once I take care of the first two I make sure I take the time to write. If even for a short time.
Seriously, you should make an attempt to write each day. There were times when I would be depressed or was preoccupied with a serious matter so much so that it would take precedent over my writing. What I’ve found out over the years is that writing is somewhat therapeutic. If we are not feeling emotionally well writing can help. That’s probably a topic for another day! But in short writing has a magical way of firmly planting your feet into reality by allowing you to take control. As a result in works to diminish thoughts that would otherwise make us worried.
The most important reason to write everyday – as I’ve stated numerous times before – is that it helps boost our abilities as writers AND most importantly it makes us prolific. If we’re going to call ourselves “writers” then we need to live up to the name!
admin @ January 9, 2014
Similes and Metaphors should be consistently fed into your pros to add extra dimension to point you are trying to make. Comparisons allow the reader to easily/smoothly relate. If you say that “Mr. Jones 5 o’clock shadow was as rough as sandpaper.” You allow the reader not simply to know that Mr. Jones had a 5 o’clock shadow but you also introduce the element of touch. They can almost feel the rough beard on the man.
Before we introduce ways to create wonderful analogies we should make the distinction between the two.
Simile: uses “like” or “as” as the comparison. EXAMPLE: “Mr. Jones 5 o’clock shadow was as rough as sandpaper.”
Metaphor: doesn’t use “like” or “as” it attributes the word or phrase to an object that is not literally applicable. EXAMPLE: “Mr. Jones 5 o’clock shadow was a rough sheet of sandpaper.”
- Don’t use a cliché! If you state it in a way that was is known to the reader (i.e. in another work or one which is utilized in day to day speech) you will look amateurish to an editor.
- Based on #1 above you should therefore be original
- Try to make it simple and clear. The analogy should be to something that is generally known. If you say “She slurped up the soup like an industrial vacuum pump.” Some readers will have to pause to figure out what an industrial vacuum pump looks like. Say instead “She slurped up the soup like her vacuum cleaner.”
- The analogy should add the extra dimension of touch, smell, sound or visual cue. EXAMPLE: “Elderly American ladies leaning on their canes listed toward me like towers of Pisa.” — Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. Nabokov instills the visual image of the women
How to create them?
This is the exciting part and isn’t as difficult as you would expect. First, here is a tip I use during my writing. This process works for me but may not for you so integrate it into your own style as you see fit. Essentially when I write I try to maintain the momentum of writing without thinking too much! If you recall from earlier articles I’ve posted you do your most prolific writing but utilizing the part of your brain that isn’t critical. When you stop to think of a good metaphor you effectively turn the part of your brain that allows you to smoothly dish out the story. If you do this (i.e. stop to think of a metaphor or simile) you will have a difficult time reverting back…which may result in writer’s block. So what I do is add something like this. “The car stalled like a xxx.” Then when I’m done and into editing mode I do a search for “xxx” and then I take the time to come up with the analogy.
An alternate way is to compile a list of colorful analogies before hand and insert them deliberately as I write.
This latter method works best if you compile a list of analogies. You do this by specifically sitting down to think of analogies. Set aside an hour or two a week to do this. Jot down the metaphors or similes into a notebook. Eventually when you write you will have the ability to call up the analogy during your writing session.
The second benefit of setting aside time to think of metaphors/similes is that you get better at it!
admin @ January 8, 2014