Tag Archives: win

Pep Talk Week 4: 5 Creative Habits to Leverage Your JuNoWriMo Success

In this final stretch, boost your creativity for success with these five tips from Judy Lee Dunn.

For years, I thought that creative people had been blessed with a special gene. That they were sprinkled with magic dust from the patron saint of imaginative thinking. Though some people try to make it complicated, it’s really not that hard. Because while creativity is part ability and part attitude, mostly, it’s a habit. Now that you are in Week 4 of JuNoWriMo, you are probably noticing how much easier it’s getting to hit your word count with each passing day.

You’ve been showing up every day and coming up with new ideas has become a habit.

One thing I learned as a teacher of lower primary school kids is that we all have it, this creativity thing. My students came to school ready to explore, to try new things. They were imaginative, full of wonder and curiosity. They taught me so much about writing and blogging and the joy of seeing the world through a child’s eyes.

How can we as writers nurture our creative sides so our idea banks are always full? Here are a few starters: Continue reading

Pep Talk Week 3: Friend or Foe?

Dan Wells helps you soldier on even when you feel like writing your book is a chore.

You made it to week three! Woot woot! You’re over the hump, and it’s all downhill from here, and ha ha ha ha I can’t even finish that sentence.

Real talk: this is where it sucks. Week three is the worst week of all, and I’m sorry. Don’t worry, though, we can get through this together.

Week one was about getting started, and everything was kind of new and intriguing. Week two was about finding your groove, and week four will about sprinting to the finish line. They’re all awesome, in their own way. Week three has nothing. Week three is about keeping your head down and getting the work done; it’s about pushing forward when all the novelty has disappeared, and the finish line is still too far away to see. There’s nothing sexy or easy or exciting. You’ll get to the end of the week and hate your entire book, along with maybe everything you’ve ever written.

Depressed now? Don’t be. Because here’s the good news: week three is my favorite one.

Week three is the work horse. It’s where the thing you started because it was fun turns into a thing you keep doing because it matters. It’s where the words you were writing because they were easy give way to the words you keep writing because they’re worth the effort. It’s where your investments start to pay off; where the threads you placed start coming together and the whole thing finally starts to look like “a story” instead of just “a bunch of stuff that happens.” The mid point is where, more often than not, your characters stop reacting to the plot and start acively driving it: they’re sick of this crap and it’s time to take matters into their own hands. Enough running from the Nazgul: let’s take this ring to Mordor and destroy it. Enough waiting around for Dumbledore: let’s break into the dungeon and protect the Sorcerer’s Stone ourselves. And the great thing about it is that we, as the authors, get to do the same thing. No more relying on the outline/the writing group/the inertia/the emails from random authors on the Internet. It’s time for you to pick up your sword and/or laptop and finally become the kind of hero your story needs.

Week three isn’t finished. It’s not the home stretch, and it’s not the polish, and it’s not a finished bicycle that you built yourself and can ride around on. It’s something better: it’s that beautiful moment where you’ve put together enough of the bike that the gears start to turn each other; you can push one part and another part spins, and you know in that moment that you’re not wasting your time. You really can do this, and it really can work, and it might not be done or pretty or even recognizable by doggonit but it WORKS. It’s a THING, and you made it YOURSELF, and it WORKS. And sure it’s going to need a lot of work before it’s done, but that’s okay because you can do it. You’ve gotten this far, haven’t you? Do you think that’s easy? Only amazing people can do what you just did, and that means you’re amazing, and the second half of the process is going to be…well, not easy. But doable. Reachable. Accomplishable. Those aren’t even real words, and they’re still true. That’s how amazing you are.

So write! Write until your fingers bleed and your eyes burn and your butt gets sore and your back curls into a permanent hunch. Write until you wish you’d never started this stupid book and no one’s going to want to read it anyway and why am I even doing this? Because you’re a hero, and that’s what heroes do, and even though you can’t see it yet, you’re going to win. You’re going to slay this dragon or save this world or solve this mystery or unite these lovers. You’re going to get to that home stretch and it’s going to be thrilling and you’re going to be victorious. And week three is the only thing that’s going to get you there. See? It’s not a monster. Week three is your best friend.

Let’s do this.

Dan Wells writes a little bit of everything, but he is best known for the Partials Sequence and the John Cleaver series, the first book of which is now a Major Motion Picture. He is a co-host of the educational podcast Writing Excuses, for which he won a Hugo and now helps run a yearly, week-long writing conference. In addition to novels, novellas, and shorts, he has also written and produced a stage play, called “A Night of Blacker Darkness,” and works as a staff writer on the TV show “Extinct.” He has lived in the US, Mexico, and Germany, and currently resides in Utah with his wife, six children, and 439 boardgames.

Twitter: @TheDanWells

Tumblr: @thedanwells

Pep Talk Week 2: 4 Tips to Succeed this June

Robert Chazz Chute offers his tips on how to succeed this June!

So, you’ve decided to commit to writing 50,000 words or more this month. Blood oaths have been sworn. You promised yourself, as God is your witness, you shall be a novelist! Heroes will sing your praises in Valhalla this night. As it was foretold in the prophecy, you shall write and you will finish to great acclaim. Beer, Cherry Cokes and champagne for everybody!

Good. Now that we’ve got the drama, grand pronouncements and the first flush of enthusiasm out of the way, let’s settle some priorities and expectations so you, too, can win JuNoWriMo and the love of your cold, aloof parents.

  1. You have made your writing a high priority this month. You matter and what you want is of value. We’re talking hopes and dreams here! No shame in such selfishness.

That affirmed, know that you will have to tell someone no this month. You’ll probably have to defend your writing time against the onslaught of several someones repeatedly. Fine. Do so. Your family, friends and enemies will still be around to suck the life out of you when you’re done your word count for the day. Put your writing session on your calendar just like you would an appointment for a colonoscopy. You probably wouldn’t look forward to a such a procedure, but you definitely would not miss such an important appointment.

Yes, your writing is just as important as meeting a doctor with a startlingly long air hose, a camera and a penchant for proctology.

  1. You are here for the writing and this will be fun. Not always, of course. If scratching out words were an easy  and endless gigglefest, everyone would be a novelist. There is a trick that will help you through the rough spots: just as with a bad movie, you can always fix your manuscript in post.

Write confidently. Write swiftly. Don’t look back. Push through to the end. Editing and worry is for later. The key to a great book is to start with a crappy one. There will be plot holes. You can fill those in another time. Too often, writers compare the wretchedness of their first draft to some genius’s finished work. Trust me, that so-called genius looks like half an idiot in his or her first draft, just like you and me. Relax into the inevitability of disappointment with your first attempt.

This isn’t baseball. In writing, you can take as many swings as you like until you hit a home run. Writing is a sport for cheaters. We keep our lousy attempts in locked drawers and the fans only see our triumphs in highlight reels.

  1. I guarantee you will have a ton of fun with this challenge if you resolve to stop being so precious about writing. We fetishize the act like some dudes dig the smell of leather when they’re naked. We talk instead of write. We develop elaborate rituals, light candles and demand everything be perfect before we can begin. We think too much about how hard writing can be. But wait! Remember physical labor? Remember that sunburnt summer you got a job as a roofer pouring hot tar and day after airless day was a heatwave full shimmering punishment? Or what about that summer retail job that was so bad you studied harder in September so you would never have to work that counter at the mall again?

The quiet solitude of writing combined with the social support of JuNoWriMo is heaven compared to those mundane horrors. Writing is play. Look around. Writing is everywhere. You can already write so don’t make too big deal of it. If you want to be a novelist, be a novelist and be grateful. Storytelling looks just like typing at first. After we learn more craft, we call it writing. Eventually, we call ourselves writers and it doesn’t even sound weird when spoken aloud. Your parents will remain fretful and unsupportive, sure. But hey, you knew Mom and Dad weren’t going to change.

  1. I know you probably think writing should be hard. I had a lot of false starts thinking that way. When I got into traditional publishing, I had a romantic view of the profession. Then I drove authors to signings where no customers showed up and the author blamed me. I attended literary parties hoping for witty repartee with great minds. Sadly, the number of geniuses in the publishing industry is no more nor less than what you’ll find among any random clutch of accountants, plumbers or dentists. Elite publishing parties are more about bon bons than bon mots. You’ll find ego, avarice and envy at those cocktail soirees, but surprisingly little material for your next book.

Freedom came when I let go of all those trappings and got to the core of what you and I do. We write. Creative writing is a meditative, hopeful act of faith. When the words are coming fast, a neural engine chugs along that changes the way you think and feel. You won’t know where the ideas are coming from but it feels magical. Writing is the only magic I believe in.

This is a great thing you are attempting. If you hold on to that, you’ll persevere. Congratulations on getting started. I hope you discover a great story along the way and end up with something you’ll love. Remember, you don’t have to love it all the time. Sometimes the only virtue in the exercise is that you made your daily word count so you don’t have to write more today. Fix it in post. Tomorrow, find the fun again. Repeat until complete. Write so much and so freely that you stumble upon the magic.

Throwing down words to build stories is addictive. Let’s get high on this wonderful drug. Once you crush this goal, you’ll probably find that 50,000 words was a great start. Most serious writers I know write at least 50,000 words every month. That’s how you know you must be victorious in JuNoWriMo. If mere mortals can complete this task or something like it twelve times a year, surely you can do it once. As your confidence grows, what once seemed difficult will become easier. This might even turn out to be your new day job.

But you don’t have time to read this. Write now right now.

Robert Chazz ChuteA former journalist full of self-loathing, Robert Chazz Chute is now an award winning suspense novelist (still full of self-loathing.) He writes assorted apocalyptic epics, SFF and crime thrillers that would make your momma pee the bed. Learn more at AllThatChazz.com and love him, dammit! Since you’re climbing JuNoWriMo, you might especially like Crack the Indie Author Code.

Another #JuNoWriMo Giveaway! #amwriting

JuNoWriMo Twitter BannerIt’s the middle of May. THE MIDDLE OF MAY! That gives us just over two weeks to finish our pre-writing (if we are the pre-writing sort), stock up on our favorite snacks, and enjoy a lazy evening or two before all our spare moments are full of words. To make the preparations even better we are having another giveaway!

Before you go check out the awesome prizes I want to remind you that there is still time to join the blog hop. It’s a great way to spread the word about JuNoWriMo and earn more entries for the giveaway.

Joining is easy.

1. Write a post.

You can copy and paste what you need to from this post, create your own unique post, or do a combo of the two. If you choose to write your own, have fun with it! Share a little bit about what you will be working on this June, talk about your favorite part of JuNoWriMo, share your favorite recipe for a late night snack on those nights when you need to stay up and write all the words, the sky is the limit. The only must is please include a link to the JuNoWriMo website.

2.  Join the linky list.
Once your post is live, join the linky list. That way everyone else participating can visit and help promote your post.

3. Hop!
Visit a few of the other participant’s blogs. It’s a great way to meet some of the other writers before the event.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with JuNoWriMo, it’s a month long writing adventure in the style of NaNoWriMo, complete with word sprints and plenty of other writers to cheer you on. The goal is to write 50,000 in one month (1,667 words a day). You can write whatever you want. Fiction, non-fiction, the final 50k to something you started five years ago. Anything. We’d love to have you write with us!

You can learn more and sign up here.

Our Facebook group is here.

Now for the prizes!!!

First prize – writer care package  including chocolate, coffee, assorted teas, and a JuNoWriMo mug.

Robot mug

Cute, right? Perfect for long writing sessions!

Second prizeJuNoWriMo swag pack including a JuNoWriMo button, JuNoWriMo sticker, and a hand-painted JuNoWriMo bookmark.

junowrimo rocket button

These buttons are a great way to show what you’re doing this June.

Robot sticker

What’s more fun than a sticker? Especially an adorable, writing robot sticker?

JuNo bookmarks

Now you can show your JuNoWriMo spirit even while relaxing with a book!

What are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway now:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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JuNoWriMo Twitter BannerCan you believe that it’s already May? Before we even know it, it will be June 1st, and we’ll all be tucked away in our favorite writing corners with a vat of our beverage of choice. We’ll be tallying up our word counts and gathering momentum as we sprint with other writers and tweet encouragements.

One of the best parts of JuNoWriMo is being a part of a huge group of writers, all striving for the same goal. At almost anytime, day or night, you can find another writer working towards their word count. You can ask for help brainstorming the perfect name for a character and get several replies. Plus there’s all the accountability you could possibly want.

This year we want to build up our community so we have even more writers to connect with. In order to do that we are hosting a blog hop to spread the word and we would love it if you would join us!

Joining is easy.

1. Write a post.
You can copy and paste this post, create your own, or do a combo of the two. If you choose to write your own, have fun with it! Share a little bit about what you will be working on this June, talk about your favorite part of JuNoWriMo, share your favorite recipe for a late night snack on those nights when you need to stay up and write all the words, the sky is the limit. The only must is please include a link to the JuNoWriMo website.

2.  Join the linky list.
Once your post is live, join the linky list below. That way everyone else participating can visit and help promote your post.

3. Hop!
Visit a few of the other participant’s blogs. It’s a great way to meet some of the other writers before the event.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with JuNoWriMo, it’s a month long writing adventure in the style of NaNoWriMo, complete with word sprints and plenty of other writers to cheer you on. The goal is to write 50,000 in one month (1,667 words a day). You can write whatever you want. Fiction, non-fiction, the final 50k to something you started five years ago. Anything. We’d love to have you write with us!

You can learn more and sign up here.

Our Facebook group is here.

One more thing! There is a giveaway, and these prizes are perfect to get you ready to write.

First prize – writer care package including a pen, post-it notes, and this official JuNoWriMo notebook.

Notebook

Second prizeJuNoWriMo swag pack including a JuNoWriMo button, JuNoWriMo sticker, and a hand-painted JuNoWriMo bookmark.

junowrimo rocket button

Robot sticker

JuNo bookmarks

What are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway now:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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