Preparing for the Beast ~ One Week to Go!

Okay, so it’s technically nine days.  But still.  [Almost] one week to go!  How far are you in preparing?  I have to confess, I’ve been rather lazy recently.  After a huge brainstorming session two Sundays ago, I let my NaNo prep slip.  However, with November 1st looming ever closer, I’ve headed back to the drawing board to perfect my very imperfect plans.  As you do the same, keep in mind these tips.

1) Pray.  You think God doesn’t care about your writing?  Think again.  “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).   And this too: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).  Pray that He’ll give you strength, wisdom, diligence, and perseverence.  Pray that the words coming from your heart will bring Him glory and point others toward Him, regardless of whether your book is explicitly Christian.  This is the most important tip I have for you because of this promise: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Prov. 16:3).

2) Expect junk.  One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself this November is allowing yourself to write awful stuff.  As a perfectionist, this is very hard for me.   I want my first draft, written in only thirty days, to be polished, award-winning, and smooth.  And guess what?  It won’t be.  The danger of perfectionism is that you’ll get so caught up in editing and tweaking, you won’t get the whole book finished.  Let the perfecting go; you have eleven other months for that (or ten, if you’re counting October as prep time … but you get the idea).  (Note: I’m not advocating that you don’t try to write well.  I’m simply saying that if you struggle with perfectionism, you have to let it go and remember that great books take numerous rewrites.)

3) Listen to music.  Verinoca Roth, the author the Divergent series, had a list of songs she listened to for each book in her trilogy.  She even had special songs that helped during just one scene or that inspired her to depict a character in a certain way.  Her method demonstrates a vital truth we writers should capitalize on: Music affects us deeply. That’s part of the reason why Lord of the Rings such stirring movies: they have a gorgeous, emotional soundtrack.  So as you write this upcoming month, grab some of your favorite CDs (I at least still use CDs; I know, how archaic) and let the music inspire you and give you the emotions and mindset necessary for whatever you’re writing.  Soundtracks are especially helpful for this.  You can also find styles that matches the mood of the scene you’re writing — rock for a high-paced suspenseful scene, melonacholy piano stuff for when an important person dies, etc.

4) Set a time.  If you haven’t done this already (okay, I admit it: I haven’t yet, either), figure out when each day you’ll write.  This way, you can’t procrstinate or “accidentally” plan something when you should be writing.  Block off writing time, and it’s less likely to get taken away.  If you want to get really into it, figure out when appointments or other plans will get in the way and set up a new writing time for that particular day.

5) Communicate. Many of us writers are introverts, and writing is a solitary business.  No one else can do it for you, and you can’t really chat while doing it (or if you can, I’d wonder about the quality of your work).  Nevertheless, interacting with other people is vital during those time that you’re not writing.  Talk with fellow NaNoers.  It’ll inspire you, encourage you, and remotivate you.  There’s nothing like knowing your friend is slogging through 50K words as well to erase your NaNo-induced depression.  But communicate with non-writers, too, especially close friends and family.  Let them into your life and tell them how NaNo’s going.  Ask them how they’re doing, get to know them better.  You cannot write realistic people without knowing real people well, and the people closest to us impact our work the most.

 

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