Tag Archives: Book

Finish Your Novel – November is NaNoWriMo Month!

by Lindy

Last year was my first NaNoWriMo experience, and I actually hit the 50,000 word mark and WON! If you are interested, it was is a chick lit novel about a new mom figuring out all the craziness of trying to juggle her work, friends, marriage and motherhood, with many humorous twists throughout. No, I haven’t completely finished or published it. It’s sitting on my hard drive mocking me; but at least I hit the 50,000 word goal!

This year, I decided not to participate in the challenge due to time constraints and other commitments, but I am still inspired by the creative writing process and the supportive community that is NaNoWriMo. I love how writers of all ages, stages of life and from all over the world embark on writing a 50,000-word fictional story in under 30 days each year. I also love the team at the Office of Letters and Light that inspire writers to keep up their craft.

Office of Letters and Light
We believe in ambitious acts of the imagination.

The Office of Letters and Light organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Our programs are web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels. 

Here is a wonderful article written by Thaïs Miller on the OLL blog: 10 Tips on Finishing Your NaNoWriMo Novel. Thaïs Miller is an author of novels, short stories, and poetry, as well as a writing instructor at Gotham Writers’ Workshop.

Here’s my advice for completing a 50,000-word novel within 30 days:

  1. Be confident, not critical. NaNoWriMo is about word count, not about perfection or style. Think of this as a first draft. Just produce, produce, produce.
  2. Write about an idea you’re obsessed with and can’t get out of your mind. Remember, your novel can always change tracks.
  3. When you’re tired of writing about that main idea, create subplots to fill pages. When I was sick of writing about the influence of a death machine, I wrote a love story subplot.
  4. Write scenes. Scenes with narration, dialogue, action, and description take up more space than expository information.
  5. Set a word minimum everyday. NaNoWriMo recommends 1667, but if you’ve fallen behind, increase that. Do not set a daily hour minimum because some days you’ll write more quickly than others. Tell yourself that you can’t go to bed until you reach that minimum number of words. Keep track of your word count by checking the number of words in your document at the beginning and end of each day.
  6. If you miss a day, then make up those words as soon as possible. Some people prefer to make up those missing words on the weekend when they have more time. Whatever you do, don’t wait until the end of the month.
  7. Don’t write linearly. Bounce around, writing scenes that occur at different points in the novel. During one week, for example, write a scene that takes place at the end of your story, then one that takes place in the middle, and one that takes place in the beginning. This keeps you interested in the material and prevents you from feeling stuck. Leave markers for areas that you want to come back to and fill in. On days when you feel uninspired, go to these markers and start writing those missing scenes.
  8. At some point, it doesn’t really matter when, create an outline to organize your scenes.
  9. Don’t delete anything unless it’s 100% necessary to make the novel seem cohesive or coherent. Erasure will move you in the opposite direction of where you want to go. Temporarily cut scenes instead and save them in a different file. You never know when an extraneous scene might become useful. If you do delete a scene, then replace it.
  10. Find a quiet writing space that you can regularly use like a public library or a bedroom. One of my colleagues even writes in a closet. Try not to piss off your roommates.

I will likely participate in the NaNoWriMo challenge again next year, so if you’re inclined to, I highly encourage it!


Eat, Pray, Love AND Create

by Lindy

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling memoir, turned movie, Eat, Pray, Love spoke brilliantly at a Ted Talk on “Your Elusive Creative Genius” in Long Beach, California in 2009.

It is so insightful, authentic, inspirational and motivational. It certainly sheds new light on the creative process and the origins of creativity. Gilbert’s talk is described as:

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. — Ted.com

Some of her wonderful quotes that stand out in this Ted Talk are:

“‘Ole!’ to you, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.”

“I have had work or ideas come through me from a source that I honestly cannot identify. What is that thing? And how are we to relate to it in a way that will not make us lose our minds, but, in fact, might actually keep us sane?”

“Maybe [artistry] doesn’t have to be quite so full of anguish if you never happened to believe, in the first place, that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you. But maybe if you just believed that they were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you’re finished … it starts to change everything.”

 


Procrastination

by Lindy

Clipped from the book, The probe, or, One hundred and two essays on the nature of men and things, by Levi Carroll Judson – published 1847. Courtesy of Google Books.


Admiral House Poetry

by Lindy

You can find poetry anywhere.  Here are some photos from my recent trip to Long Beach, Washington for my grandma’s 90th birthday. The guestbook in our rental home, “The Admiral House,” had some very creative entries.

One in particular stood out.  On the left page of the guestbook, some angry kid wrote “I hate this day!” This prompted another philosophical entry on the right page by a budding poet. (Perhaps who’d been smoking too much bud?)

Admiral House Guestbook

Here was some whimsical art at the entrance of the rec room of the beach house to inspire creativity.

All beach houses need poetic wall art.

The natural beauty of Long Beach is enough to ignite the writer in anyone.

View from the Admiral House

Definitely NOT Long Beach, CA – not a soul in sight.

To see more beautiful imagery of the Long Beach Peninsula, check out these books:

 

I’m always a little homesick for Washington. Let’s write a poem about it, shall we? A Haiku would be fitting.

Submit your best Washington-inspired Haiku for judging in the comments section below.  Remember, a Haiku follows the 5-7-5 syllable pattern and is nature themed.  Submit your poem by midnight November 12th.  The winning poet will receive an autographed photo of Long Beach, WA and a personal letter drafted from my lovely typewriter, Beulah Hildegard Francis.

Update:

Our winner of the haiku contest is Hans Johannson from Fargo, North Dakota.  Hans, we’ll have that letter out to you right away.  Thank for your sharing your poetry with us.


Random Page: Writers Live Twice

by Lindy

Here is an excerpt from Natalie Goldberg’s book, “Writing Down the Bones.”

Writers live twice. They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning. But there’s another part of them that they have been training. The one that lives everything a second time. That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it. Looks at the texture and details.

You’re more interested, finally, in living life again in your writing than in making money. Now, let’s understand–writers do like money; artists, contrary to popular belief, do like to eat.  It’s only that money isn’t the driving force.  I feel very rich when I have time to write and very poor when I get a regular paycheck and no time to work at my real work.

Goldberg’s entire book is such a wealth of inspiration for writers. Definitely worth adding to your bookshelf to motivate you to tap into your inner writer.


Random Page: Letters on Life

by Lindy

Here is an excerpt from a random page in Letters on Life by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Why Do I Write?

  1. Because I’m a jerk.
  2. Because I want the boys to be impressed.
  3. So my mother will like me.
  4. So my father will hate me.
  5. No one listens to me when I speak.
  6. So I can start a revolution.
  7. In order to write the great American novel and make a million dollars.
  8. Because I’m neurotic.
  9. Because I’m the reincarnation of William Shakespeare.
  10. Because I have something to say.
  11. Because I have nothing to say.


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