Pep Talk Week 2: The Dreaded Week Two Blues

This week, Becca Campbell gives you some tangible tricks to beating the monster of Resistance, the big bad boss of week two.

Congratulations You made it to Week Two. Yay! Now, can I rain on your parade? No? Well, here I go anyway…

The Monster

I’m going to be bluntly honest with you. Week two is the worst week of this challenge. It’s the week your story hits its halfway point—that slogging, muddy middle where you have no idea how you’ll make it to the end.

Week two is when you lose your buffer of surplus words (if you even had a buffer). It’s when you run out of ideas. It’s the point where you realize that everything you’ve written is total garbage. It’s where your story suddenly derails because your plot-train jumped the tracks and ended up at the edge of a cliff, barreling ahead over nothing but thin air at a hundred miles an hour.

And should I even mention the outside forces trying to pummel you off track? Your boyfriend starts asking why you’re too busy to answer his texts. Your friends remark that you’ve gone AWOL. Your neighbors complain that the grass in your yard is a foot high. Your wife asks when you’re going to get groceries because the fridge is empty, and oh, by the way, have you fed the kids today?

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls these forces “Resistance.” Week two is when all these forces of Resistance come to a head. Suddenly, it feels like every living creature in your world does not want you to write that book.

Week two is when most writers quit.

There’s only one way to make it through week two. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 2: The Dreaded Week Two Blues”

Pep Talk Week 1: Exuberant Imperfection

Becca Campbell offers sage advice on perfection…and the importance of letting it go.

I’ve been a serious writer for eight years now. I have a dozen novels under my belt. You’d think I have this WriMo thing down.

But coming up with an outline has been more difficult this year than normal. I wasn’t quite sure why until I picked up No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, and a simple truth made itself clear:

I had slipped into the mindset of aiming for perfection.

This is a very, very bad thing for a writer. It’s not healthy for anyone, but when you’re sitting down to begin a novel, that blank page can be crippling.

You aren’t good enough, it says. You haven’t figured out all the details. You don’t even know how the story will end! And how are you going to write that one scene—the one that terrifies you to even think about?

Even when you start writing, this fear doesn’t go away. Look, you spelled that word wrong. Your grammar’s atrocious. And those lines of dialog don’t make any sense!

For me, this year the self-doubt began before I even started writing. I’ve written four stories in my current series and have four more to write. I stand on this precipice in the very middle, plagued with fear that I will take a wrong move. That I’ll write myself into a corner. That I’ll break the entire plot and won’t be able to pull off a satisfying ending. That I’ll finish the series and discover I need to completely rewrite the first four books. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 1: Exuberant Imperfection”

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.

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: MC Simon

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

The Writer’s Tao – MC Simon

Writer’s Tao

Two years ago, when I was told to consider the option of becoming a writer, all the cogwheels inside my brain started to turn rapidly.

Oh! Did I just say “rapidly”? Actually, a hurricane started up inside my brain. The storm met up with a volcano, and soon all my being was under fire.

“Why not?” asked my heart. “The man you love sees it inside you.”
“You should think more,” argued my brain. “You have a stable engineering career ; why should you bother?”
“But… what about the dream–my childhood dream? It was told that I was already a writer”, whispered my soul.

The soul’s victory came fast. The project manager residing inside my brain planned the details.
In a blink, the writer inside me was born.

After the first two published books, again my life turned to an interesting direction. Because of my passion for blogging, soon I started earning as a web content writer.

What’s next? Of course… quitting my engineering job to become a full-time writer.

But… there is one thing that was not mentioned above. My first published book is not the first book I started. My beloved unfinished novel, “Memories of an Arcturian” has been locked away, awaiting rediscovery.

But… I have great expectations now.

Because 2016’s JuNoWriMo starts.


“Memories of an Arcturian” is a blend of personal experiences in the corporeal life and the parallel dimensions of my dreams—dreams that started in my childhood. Do strict borders exist between these worlds? What are these boundaries?

What is true and what is fantasy will be up to YOU, the reader .

12-year-old girl has a revelation one day while at school and decides to run away from home. She wants to find her true family which she suddenly thinks it’s not from this planet. She takes a small luggage bag, writes a goodbye letter to her parents and leaves home. While walking the streets without having any direction she meets a mysterious beggar who finally convinces her to go back home. But they continue to meet almost daily. Until one day, he takes her on a trip.


M.C. Simon is an author, SEO content writer, blogger, reviewer, project manager, engineer, happy mother and a beloved wife.  Find her on social media at any of these sites:

How to Have a Successful JuNoWriMo, No Matter What!

Honorée Corder, author of twenty books (and counting!) kicks off our series of JuNoWriMo 2016 pep talks with a plan to make this month a successful one.

HonoreeCorderHeadshotCongratulations on your decision to embark on JuNoWriMo! Right now I am sure you are filled with the excitement that can only come with a shiny new project. Executed well, in 30 days you will be the proud owner of a completed manuscript. And right now, you might be feeling invincible… as though not a thing or person could possibly stand in your way or take you off course.

I do hope that is the case, but I know better than almost anyone that just about the moment I 100% commit to something, at almost exactly that same moment the universe conspires to test me. (How rude!)

I want to help you get from June 1 to June 30 with finesse, style, and ease. Let’s go ahead and set you up for super success so that no matter what happens you will crush it!

Number one: the goal. If you’re like me the goal isn’t just 50,000 words, you have a story or outline already percolating in the back of your mind that comes with a title or even an ending. But on the off-chance you don’t have a specific goal, go ahead and set one. Something like: Complete 50,000 words toward my manuscript by June 30th, or, Finish Game On! The Ultimate Guide to Getting All You Want from Your Life and Your Work (my current WIP).

Write your goal on a 3×5 card and look at it twice a day: right when you wake up, and right before you go to sleep.

Pep Talk Week 4: Do you ever get stuck?

Stacy Claflin, author of four book series, shares with us her advice on what to do when you get stuck in the midst of your novel–just the Pep Talk we need for the middle of JuNoWriMo!

InspirationDo you ever get stuck at some point when writing a novel? Sometimes that middle-ish point can be the most challenging. The beginning is fun because you come in with all these ideas, and it’s exciting. The end is full action, and the writing sometimes seems to happen by itself.

Really, though, any point of the story can give the writer problems.

Feeling stuck

When you’re in the thick of it and things slow down, a lot of different variables can leave you feeling stumped. Maybe the story has gone in a different direction than you planned. You’re not sure if you need to map out a different ending or maybe look for a new path to the end you have in mind.

Or it could be that the story is right where it should be, but doubt has crept in. You know what I mean. Do I have enough material to get to the end and have it long enough? Is this as good as it could be? What if it sucks and I just can’t see it? Or maybe you feel like it is horrible, and you don’t know whether to go on or not.

That valley between the exciting peaks can feel like a wasteland. 

The good news is that it doesn’t need to stay that way. There are a lot of things you can do to turn everything around and get excited about writing again. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 4: Do you ever get stuck?”

Pep Talk Week 3: Breeze Through the Middle of Your Novel

Ruth Long addresses how to work through the middle of your book and how to tackle the rest of this challenge. 

My first attempts at novel length stories were exhilarating and demoralizing.

Exhilarating because I could so clearly envision the beginning and end of the story.

Demoralizing because I could never quite manage to bridge the gap between the two.

Why is it that middles so often become baffling, exhausting, and tedious to get through?

I’ve been actively seeking the answer to that question and here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

There are no hard and fast rules for writing a novel.

There are, however, a handful of techniques that make the process easier.

The first technique we’re going to reference is the Three Act Plot.

The general breakdown of the Three Act Plot looks like this:

Setup = 25% of story

Middle = 50% of story

Resolution = 25% of story

Whoa! No wonder the middle seems like a monkey on our backs. It’s half the story.

We need to cut that sucker down to size but where do we start?

By employing a middle-of-the-novel-tedium-busting technique I like to call “Lemony Snickett’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events.’”

This is the technique we’re going to focus on. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 3: Breeze Through the Middle of Your Novel”

Pep Talk Week 1: The Dancer and the Nag

Mat Morris comes to us as a veteran of the 30-day novel challenge–and not only a veteran, but a wizard, having completed 50,000 words in 24 hours. Enjoy his Pep Talk; we know it’ll fire you up for the challenge ahead!

 

Greetings, fellow Dream Warriors. Welcome to the beginning of the end.

Most of you don’t know me, and that’s fine. This isn’t about me. It’s about you.

You see, you’re about to embark on a journey that will change your life. You’re about to do something that most only fantasize about. You’re going to take that little voice whispering in your ear, and you’re going to set it free. And I’m going to share with you a dirty little secret that will let you do it.

Everyone has a story to tell.

Now, you might be wondering why I called you a Dream Warrior. And we’ll come back to that. Promise.

More importantly, you might be wondering why someone you’ve never heard of was asked to impress upon you some words of inspiration. Honestly, as I sit here on the night of my deadline, writing what amounts to my third attempt at arranging my thoughts into something coherent, I’m wondering the very same thing.

So, a short bit about me—the current voice in your head.

You see, I was asked to write this because of my past successes in completing these little word challenges. Technically, I’ve completed the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a single month on more occasions than I’ve actually counted. But what seems to impress (read: stupefy) people the most is that, on four occasions, I’ve completed it within a 24 hour period.

Yes. You read that correctly. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 1: The Dancer and the Nag”

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

‘);
// ]]>

JuNoWriMo Blog Hop (and a giveaway!)

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

‘);
// ]]>