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Writing Advice

NaNoWriMo ’19 Tips and Resources Week 1

So here we are: one week into NaNoWriMo2019, the twentieth NaNoWriMo ever. I don’t know about any of you, but I sure could use about half an hour of deep shoulder stretches and a long walk somewhere far, far away from my monitor. Cozying up to my keyboard with a glass of bourbon and a plate of cookies is fine, too, I guess.

It’s been my experience that we’re quickly approaching that point in the month where the excitement of stepping off the path of the known world and entering the Start of the Thing is beginning to peel back to reveal our descent into the deep and twisty bowels of the Middle of the Thing.

It’s that point where we start frowning at where our characters have landed and checking over our outlines for further clues (or staring at some half-scrawled notecards, or in the case of Absolute Pantsers, staring up at that one little dark spot in the ceiling that might actually be a spider… is it a spider? Or.. No it’s just some dust. Did that dust just move?).

Right about now is when I start getting a little needy for stimulus. My starter playlist has been on repeat for 6 days straight and I’m all out of Coke Zero and peanuts. So I shook things up a bit and went looking for new-newness to get me through the 2nd week of our public group hike into madness.

If you like your writing music a little bit groovy and heavy on the House, Lushbunny on Soundcloud will fix you right up with literally days worth of music. Each track is 2-3 hours long, which means no commercial interruptions every 10 minutes. My absolute favorite is Lushpod #45: Be Here Meow.

When I need a change of scenery for writing, I skip the coffee shops and instead go check out a new library. They’re usually on a public transit line, they tend to have a lot of open table space & reliable outlets, and I don’t have to buy anything. Bonus: I’m surrounded by books, which is always a wonderful way to be.

Alright, “go to your public library” is a cheap tip so here’s another: Don’t forget to check out your regional NaNoWriMo.org page to connect with others in your area and find out where the next Write-In or meetup is taking place. If that doesn’t mesh with your schedule, just take your laptop with you to a quiet little cocktail bar and get your Hemingway on.

When I need inspiration or guidance on where to take my story next, the book I absolutely always turn to first is Jeff VanderMeer’s spectacular, inimitable, Wonderbook. I mean look at this thing:

Two stages of a developing writer’s life cycle. Nature is so beautiful!

It’s all like this. And it’s not just cool pictures and edutaining diagrams, either. The Wonderbook has advice, essays, and Q&As from dozens of great authors to help keep you going.

All of these frantic word-sprints and hours carousing in worlds of my own imaginings often leaves me with more snack cravings than usual. I try to keep the empty carbs to a minimum, and sometimes a little break in the kitchen is just what I need to revive my over-taxed creative mind. This easy recipe for 1-Pan Spicy Candied Nuts over at Minimalist Baker comes together in minutes and takes 15 to finish cooking.

That’s just enough time for me to remember where I was going with that mysterious door at the end of the hallway and get my characters back on track towards certain doom fun and adventure!

Those are all the NaNoWriMo tips I have for now, but check back next week. I’ll probably be sick of spiced nuts and house music by then for sure. If you have any tips or fun stuff that’s keeping you going, don’t hog it all to yourself! Share in the comments down below. Good luck out there, writers!

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