Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dannis' NaNo Pep Talk to Southwest Georgia | National Novel Writing Month

Have fun with your NaNo, and don't give up! Some days are better than others. Sometimes you get more ideas of where to go in the oddest places [while watching a totally unrelated movie, or talking to someone about something different]. Just sit in front of the blank page for 15 min every once in awhile; remember if you tell the story in your mind while working out details, this counts, too. I usually do a lot of my writing mentally as I fall asleep, or while doing something else, then write like fury to get it all down while I struggle not to forget my scene! Even if I do, I'm fleshing out characters or working on plot, or whatever; practice helps. If you get stuck, mark where you are and just talk to your character while typing. This helps your word count, and you can always copy and paste it into another file after NaNo if you mark it [I put a heading that says Start Here or Mindless Jabber or something, and another header that marks the end of that]. Don't edit 'til after NaNo!

Most of all, ignore that inner voice that asks, Is this good? Am I doing it right? Will anyone like it??

Just write it. Every word you write is helping you get to know the character, the story, the setting, or whatever. It's useful. Don't obsess with how it sounds or whether it's good writing. You, as writer, cannot judge your own work. Editors are paid to judge it, and sometimes the book sells, and sometimes it doesn't. If you listen to every voice, yours is lost in self-doubt. Instead, write it so you will enjoy it. Chances are, someone else will enjoy it, too. This is not the time to worry about if you're doing it right. There is no magic 'right way' or 'wrong way'. My sister is Diana Palmer, bestselling romance author. She hit the NY Times Bestseller list with a genre novel, which not many people do, and many times. She never went to a writer's workshop like Clarion. She never let anyone but me read her books. Yet, she made it. Her advice to me is, don't read books on how to write, and don't listen to the critics. Just write. So, I'm passing that on to you. Diana sez, editors often don't know why they reject a manuscript, except that it just doesn't fit their view of the market right then. If an editor can't put it into words, how can you say your work's no good? Don't judge it. Don't measure it against other writer's stuff. Don't stress out over it. Write, for the sheer joy of writing. Go where your character leads, or not. Follow an outline, or not. Find your unique voice; every writer has one. It doesn't matter if I like your book, or if your sister likes your book, or if a complete stranger likes it. Writing is a fire inside, that has to be written. It is unstoppable. If you are blocked, ask the character why. Write something that you want to write then. I think the source of writer's block is self-doubt. Show yourself that you CAN write. Do it. Describe something. Put your feelings down about being blocked. Have a conversation with your character. Do a journal in your character's words. Just be sure to leave it in your manuscript until after NaNo, to help with your word count - it's legal! Edit in
December, not now.

This applies to every writer, whether doing NaNo or not. Have fun with your writing, and quit with the self-doubt! Discover your writing voice, and use it. Don't worry about whether you're a 'good writer' or not. Just do it.

Posted via web from Dannis' Posterous From DanniStories

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