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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, November 03, 2008

Writing Challenges

(I now know the German word for "sign in" is "anmelden". I have no idea why Google and Blogger keep thinking I'm German or Spanish. Maybe I should just give up and re-learn the languages.)

My horoscope this morning says "The path you are following may be futile." Oh joy. Isn't that just the perfect thing to hear right before beginning one's work for the day?

I don't believe in horoscopes, but my eye just naturally fall on Aquarius every morning out of pure habit. It's sort of like reading fortune cookies just to see if they have anything to say worth seeing. Sometimes they're uplifting thoughts, and I can usually make use of those. But negativity has a way of influencing a person too, especially thoughts like this that tend to re-affirm our own doubts. We don't need that. Writers struggle enough with self-doubt.

That's what this month's topic is about-- combating the self-doubt, energizing ourselves and getting the writing job done.

On Nov 1 I started NaNoWriMo. That stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it's in its 10th year. MJ will tell us more about it tomorrow, but I'll just say now this is my second year to do it. I had a great, distressing, stressing, exhilirating time last year, and although I broke the rules by working on a story I had already started, nobody beat me senseless or kicked me off. And I did get a little over 50,000 words writen in one month. Although I have done that before, it hasn't been very often.

Book in a Week is something I've done a number of times, and April Kihlstrom will be with us later in the month to talk about that. I used to take a long week off work, usually one attached to holidays, and pour all my enegy into writing. I never did a complete book, but then most people don't. And I often did around 150 pages, sometimes more. One book that was largely written in a BIAW is APHRODITE'S BREW, which will come out in print in January.

Writers have dreamed up a lot of methods to keep going or inspire themselves to start. I've done plotting weekends, plot-storming days, writing retreats, and now I'm doing a weekly Starbucks session with my CP, where all we do is sit and write. We'll talk about some of those this month.

But we're going to talk about other things too, like:
Overcoming negativity
Overcoming career downturns
Finding your way in the maze of your plot
Getting past the sagging middle
Screaming to the finish line when you think you can't stand this story one more minute
Building the writing habit
Self-discipline vs distraction
Using goals for inspiration

This is a good time to tell us what you'd like to overcome, because the chances are good we have experience with it, or know someone else who does. How about telling us what you'd like to discuss, what you need help with, or how you overcome obstacles?

8 Comments:

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Delle,
Looks like we have a great month ahead! I'm impressed 50,000 words isn't shabby, nor is writing 150 pages in BIAW!

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

I think it could be fun to talk about Writing Tools, too. Physical tools and mental tools.

I had planned to finish setting up Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 for NaNo, but I didn't get to it. Maybe I'll do that and report on it.

And I've heard about a new writing pen that can translate hand writing into the computer.

And mini-laptops, or notebooks, have become very popular. I have one, and love it. I may do a report on gadgets later in the month.

 
At 6:27 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Thanks Delle, for the thoughtful post. Until recently, my biggest writing challenge was writing around the kids...and laundry, dishes, homework, dance, etc. Now that I have more time, my biggest challenge is that sagging middle. Right now I only have 75 pages to go, but I'm struggling with what comes next??? I think I'm going to do something I haven't tried before and go ahead and start writing the last 50 pages and then come back and fill in the rest!?

 
At 7:53 PM, Blogger June Rodriguez said...

Hi Delle and the rest of the Wet Noodle Posse. I'm sold on your site. Everytime I come by I find something new to help me out. I signed up for the NaNoWriMo this year for the first time and so far it's only been a little glitchy. I'm using a book I have been working on for a couple of years. I'm working on the premise that I will be giving myself a swift kick in the pants and finally do something with it. Good to you. P.S. My Dragon Speaking is still in the box.

 
At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Christine Glover said...

For me the problems are: le plot maze (how many times can I scrunch the index cards?), overcoming distraction vs focus, and negativity. I had a great time listening to Christina Dodd at a recent event and she inspired me to write every day and to turn off the distractions. Let's face it, since when did cleaning toilets really outweigh spending time in front of the computer with a wonderful, sexy hero?

Thanks for the blog. It HELPS!

 
At 10:21 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

June and Christine, distraction is something we always face--at least I do. And if I take a bread from writing it becomes hard to start again.

So making yourself keep writing is the key. Once I'm pushing on, I get less distracted.

Unless I'm stuck on a plot point, that is. I'm at my worst when I don't know what to write next. Even then writing SOMETHING seems to help.

Some authors write out of order, skipping to a scene they know they will need later. I'm much too sequential to do that but it does work for some.

What I love the most is when the plot reveals itself like magic. Doesn't happen that often.

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger Dianna Love said...

Wow, Delle, great advice for writing challenges. And I agree with Mo - writing 150 pages in BIAW rocks.

thanks for a great post.
Dianna

 
At 1:37 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

I'm late getting in the comments- things got in the way yesterday, and I still don't know why I'm fighting Blogger so much.

As far as I'm concerned, the major reason to scrub toilets is if it focuses my thought process on the plot tangle I'm needing to unravel at the moment. Oh, germs, yes. Helps with that, too.

I've always found "mindless" activities to be very good for brain work. When I used to walk every day on my lunch hour, something about the repetitive movement in an oh-so-familiar route forced me to think about something- anything. And the plot was so handy. Hard not to think about plot when scrubbing toilets, too.

So if you get in a plot point bind, try some mindless physical activity to get you going.

 

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