Another bonus post! Yay!
Whether you’re doing Nano or not, you should check out the amazing archive of encouragement that Nano stores on its site. I’ve compiled some chunks of advice that I pulled from my Nano mailbox, mostly from 2013 pep talks. These aren’t “the best” or even my favorites, they’re just a random sampling, but I think they’ve all got great content.
Instead of finding the time to write, you make the time to write.
– Kami Garcia
NaNo has given me more than the gift of a new novel; it’s given me creative momentum.
– Grant Faulkner
You’ve got to honor your imagination, for it is your ally.
– Holly McGhee
Many an aspiring writer is just in love with a glammed-up idea of being an author, but not enthused about the actual work. Well, the only way to learn to write is to write (and to write a lot). Sit down and get started.
– Ralph Peters
1. Yay, Verily. You Must Sit Down and Write.
1a. Thou shalt not go see a movie instead. Or watch reality TV. Thou shalt write. No. Stop. You don’t need to clean out the fridge right now. Neither dost thou need to sort the recycling. I’m not even kidding. Go and write.
1b. Thou shalt not just think about writing. Seriously. That is not writing. The worst unpublished novel of all-time is better than the brilliant idea you have in your head. Why? Because the worst novel ever is written down. That means it’s a book, while your idea is just an idle fancy. My dog used to dream about chasing rabbits; she didn’t write a novel about chasing rabbits. There is a difference.
1c. Thou shalt not read, either. I know it’s book-related, but it’s not actually writing. Yes, even if it’s a book about how to write. Yes, even if you’re doing research. You can research later. Sit. Down. Write.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you wait for inspiration to strike before you sit down to write, you’ll probably never finish a damn thing…How often am I filled with inspiration before I start writing? Pretty much never…So, inspiration isn’t what gets your book written. Discipline is…The only thing that needs to show up every day is yourself—and your determination to see this through to the end.
– Malinda Lo
Give yourself permission to work on what is most pleasurable in the moment. If you’re inspired to write a scene out of order, do it. The scene may change later, but what you lose in rewriting time you gain in positive reinforcement and better energy on the page.
Finally, position yourself to succeed by doing the other things in your life that rejuvenate you. Some form of exercise, for example, in combination with eating chocolate, or taking time off to watch part of a TV show. You can create little islands of time away from your novel that will help preserve your balance. Exhaustion will affect both your writing’s quality and your productivity toward the end of the month.
– Jeff VanderMeer
It’s not about having some triumphant breakthrough moment. Being a novelist is a matter of keeping at it, day after day, just putting words after other words. It’s a war of inches, where the hardest part is keeping your nerve.
When you look at other people’s published novels, they seem gleaming and perfect, like the authors knew what they wanted to do from the start and just did it. But trust me: they didn’t know…Being a writer isn’t like being a musician. You don’t have to get it right every day. The wonderful thing about being a writer is, you only have to get it right once. That’s all anyone will ever see.
– Lev Grossman
They don’t have to be scenes in chronological order. They don’t even have to end up in your book. But they will help you to keep going. So keep going. You’re almost there. Just a little more. You are stubborn. You are exhausted. You are determined. You are a Writer.
– Marie Lu
If it’s mediocrity you fear, embrace it. Mediocrity is evidence that you have begun your journey towards becoming extraordinary.
– Tim Kim, NANOWRIMO Editorial Director