Friday, November 6, 2015

A Little November Encouragement

Shannon Dittemore is the author of the Angel Eyes trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a love of all things literary. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days with her husband, Matt, imagining things unseen and chasing their two children around their home in Northern California. To connect with Shan, check out her website, FB, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Well, friends, writers all over the world are about to wrap up Week One of National Novel Writing Month. I've been trolling the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group and I've noticed a little discouragement setting in.

I AM HERE TO CURE YOU OF IT!


Let me tell you a little about my week.

I wrote absolutely nothing for the first two days. NOTHING! After my lovely little post a couple weeks back about being an everyday writer, I failed. But I'm okay with that. And here's why.

We are in this thing for the long haul. Okay? One month. 30 days. LONG HAUL. You will miss a day or two. I did. You will cheat, totally cheat, on occasion (if you can't figure out how to cheat, you have more integrity than I'll ever have), and you will want to give up. Often.

Don't.

It's not necessary. Honestly. You do not have to throw in the towel because it gets hard. You do not have to be done because you skipped a couple days. But there are a few things you absolutely must do.

Sit. Write. Be disgusted with the words that come out of your fingers. JUST WRITE THEM.

But, I digress. I was telling you about my week.

First two days, zippo. Nothing. Nada. I was sick. I might still be sick, actually. I've just been pretending to be healthy because there's so much to do and now I can't tell anymore. In fact, anyone have a tissue?

Day three was a good one for me. Lots of words. More words than I had any business writing, to be honest. My house suffered for it and now I may never get caught up on laundry. Seriously.

Day four, I met up with a girlfriend and we wrote next to one another while sipping coffee from Panera. THIS IS SO HELPFUL, you guys. Write with friends whenever you can.

Day five. I cried. Bawled my eyes out, actually. It seems the words were taking a little more out of me than I realized and it doesn't take much to get me sobbing. See, our heater hadn't been working and when you're a writer who sits at home all day and makes stuff up, you must be cozy. It's a rule.

So, you know what I did? I went back to Panera. That's right. Two days in a row. And I've discovered that Panera has magical powers. I can write there. And they'll make me food and I don't even have to do the dishes. It's AMAZEBALLS.

Now, I realize that not everyone can just pick up and go whenever and wherever they'd like. You all are teenagers and have rules and such. But there are some things you CAN do to make NaNoWriMo easier on yourself.

First, if you need the encouragement of others, ENGAGE. There are so many ways to do that. On the NaNoWriMo website itself or on the Go Teen Writers FB group. On Instagram or Twitter. A couple of my writer pals started a hashtag on Twitter just to chat books and writing. NaNoWriMo was a topic last night. They plan to do it again next Thursday evening. Keep an eye out for #leafypages and chime in. They'd LOVE to have your thoughts. I'll even give you an opportunity to engage here when I'm finished blabbing. There is no shortage of ways to be involved with other writers during November. The best part about NaNoWriMo is the fact that you're not writing alone even when you are.

That said, the constant word count updates by all of our lovely writer pals can actually discourage some among our ranks. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the rate at which your friends write, it is perfectly okay to bury yourself deep inside your writing cave. Stay there if you need to. There are writers who can only write when they feel the darkness of solitude press in on them. If you're that writer, be that writer unabashedly. You do not have to check in on your friends. We will all agree not to be offended by this, okay?

Also, remember, 50k does not have to be the end goal here. A better goal would be NOT GIVING UP WHEN IT GETS TOUGH.

And for those of you who have already stumbled into a rough patch, I thought I'd give you a little help. You know, throw a twist into your story. Give you something new to chew on and (possibly) incorporate into that tale of yours.

In Cutthroat Kitchen they call it a sabotage. I call it a Word Count Accelerator!

You ready?


No, no, no you don't have to use this. But sometimes it helps to have someone else prompt you and I can totally be that person!

Tell me, friends, how is National Novel Writing Month going for you? How can I help?

51 comments:

  1. I'm not doing NaNo this year, but I am trying my own variation of it: editing a chapter a day. It's actually going to work out pretty nicely, because my book has 33 chapters. There is an idea that's been moseying around in my brain for a couple of days, so if I can get it all worked out, I'd like to go for writing it in January. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Mrs. Dittemore!

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  2. NaNoWriMo is going pretty tough for me. It seems that in November schools decide to start late rehearsals for all the December performances and give way too many tests. I've barely managed to stick to my daily word-count. Thankfully my friends have the utmost confidence that I will be able to do it, but it's still really difficult. Today I just sat down at my computer during some free time and frantically typed all the things that could happen in my NaNo novel (the second of a trilogy I'm writing) and found it helped just to get it all down. Thanks for the encouragement!

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    1. I know! November is crazy busy, isn't it? Glad you've got some friends to spur you on.

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  3. School has definitely been a big stinkin' roadblock. It is sitting right there in my free time. I really love Nanowrimo though and am getting a lot done because I've been making writing a priority. I've been getting together with my writing group and we just sit around, drink tea and write for three hours and we eat reeaally good snacks.(which is also a priority :D) I find that with friends I do get a lot more done. Thanks for this encouragement! It's really needed :D

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  4. Thanks for the encouragement—I think everyone needs it right now! I just crossed 13K this morning, so overall I'm doing pretty well, but I'm not sure it'll last. I had a couple roadblocks early on and had to restart at one point, but I've pulled through and things are starting to fall into place—word warring on the NaNo forums has been a lifesaver.

    And I'm taking this prompt/sabotage. It actually works perfectly for this story. I already have a million different villains, but why not throw in another?

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    1. 13k! BOOM! You're ahead of schedule. Good job.

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  5. It's going pretty well for me so far. Not amazing (I don't think I've reached the target daily word count yet), but I'm starting to really love this story and I get excited about writing it every night when I sit down with it. I'm not saying it's good yet (I've already decided to make a major change in almost the entire first chapter later), but I'm having fun and I guess that's all that matters. :D

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  6. This post is great! Thanks for the encouragement. This month started off pretty well. (I'm a early bird so I've been getting up in the early hours in the morning and writing. On the first we were actually traveling home from a writing conference and the car broke down. So while we were waiting for the tow truck my eyes were glued to the clock and I started writing the second it his 12:00am so I got almost a thousand words there. :D On the past few days I'm only gotten like 500 words. I'm having a hard time with my college algebra class to begin with so I'm sorta frustrated because I'd rather be writing.
    As it is I'm almost to the 12k mark which has greatly surprised me. I don't know that I'll be able to go to any meet ups since my laptop is half dead. (The screen doesn't work so I have to use a monitor.) So it is not very convenient to travel with. This makes me frustrated, because I'd love to go write with others.
    I'm enjoying all the writing though and have been pushing away all the doubts and just writing. I actually already started this novel last year, and was not going to do it for Nano, but at the last minute I decided to do it instead of the other brand new idea which I was (and am) really excited for. In away it was easier to start in the middle, but that was also hard because where I stopped was at the climax of one of the plot lines and there are a lot of battle scenes, and for some reason I have a really hard time righting those. :)

    Sorry I did not mean to go on like that. Prayers going out to everyone to be encouraged and have fun with flying fingers. :)

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    1. I so wish I was an early bird. And I hear you on the algebra. Keep enjoying the writing, girl. THAT HELPS.

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  7. I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo but I am pushing myself to complete the first draft of my WIP, hopefully before the end of the month. I guestimate I have 38k to go yet, so your motivation is most appreciated :)

    Deborah

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  8. NaNoWriMo is actually going really well for me. Admittedly, I've come down with a cold from staying up late writing . . but I hit 15K yesterday, so it's all good.

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    1. Oh, and I use wordcount accelerators rather often . . . usually in the form of stuff that almost-but-not-quite breaks the fourth wall, but oh well. xD

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    2. Lol, I love the mentality of the writing community, summed up in Sarah's post. "I got sick as a result of writings but it's ok because I got a lot done."

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    3. Oh! Yes! I caught a cold too. SUCKS!

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  9. Thank you so much for the encouragement! This week has been going pretty well for Nano, but I'm beginning to feel a little discouraged in it. Which that fact freaks me out even more since it's not even the end of Week One of Nano yet and I'm already feeling this way!
    Thankfully, however, I have some of the most amazing friends in the world who I've done word wars and chatted with every day, and they've been such an encouragement to me. <3 I definitely think it's super important to have friends to help encourage and write with you!

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    1. Yay for friends! It's normal to be discouraged at times, but don't let it beat you. Even if you quit for a day or twelve, get back in. Progress matters when it comes to writing.

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  10. Actually, I'm going pretty well so far...somewhat slow, but not too bad.

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  11. Thanks for this post, Shan. I wish I had a Panera and a writing friend in my town. Sounds magical. But it's always helpful to hear that other writers have these same ups and downs. I know then do. But I forget. Especially when I'm down. ;-)

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  12. I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, but I totally want to. Right now I'm thinking of my next story. Next year, maybe? If I have time.

    But good luck to you guys! My advice? If you get stuck, try some writing prompts, or word wars. They always get me up and running.

    Also, from now on I'll be commenting from a new pen-name and account, called Jason Starlight (whaddya think of the name? Jonathan, my current pen-name, was too boring). So if you see a comment from that name, you'll know it's me :).

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    1. The name's catchy. It would be really good for a long series of adventure books like "Jason Starlight and the Purple Unicorn Minions."

      ~K.A.C.

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    2. Thank! Purple Unicorn Minions, LOL.

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    3. Aw! I like your name. Jonathan Fay is catchy.

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  13. A writing friend would be awesome but I've been pretty good in sticking to my schedule by myself. A few times, when I've really needed to get some writing done, I've taken it to the Starbucks at an outdoor mall right near my house. Between the ambiance, the smell, the good drinks, and the people strolling by for constant inspiration, I've gotten some really good work done there.

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  14. NaNo is going fantastic for me! I just hit 10k the other day! I would definitely recommend listening to the live thingies, and if you listen to the one that was on November 4, they mentioned something I wrote :)

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  15. Well, I'm not *technically* doing NaNo. More like just working on writing again. But today--about two hours ago, in fact--I sat outside on the RIDICULOUSLY HOT pavement outside the church we have homeschool co-op in (seriously, Florida, give up the summer already! Please?) and talked with my little writing students and my assistant. Said assistant was definitely feeling a little discouraged. So it was cool to talk it out with them. And you know what? I hadn't written a thing all week, but I just took a deep breath and wrote something. That's right. Just something. I didn't have a scene in mind, and I still don't know what exactly I'm doing, but I wrote something because they were there writing too.

    Even little people can be an encouragement. :)

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  16. At first, I was really worried about NaNo. I only just hit 50K last year and I have to add XC, high school, and a million other things to the mix. But to my surprise, NaNo's going great. I'm going above my word count every day which is...new. I'm also in love with my story and not putting it off to plot other ideas. However, I'm pretty sure that feeling won't be there by late November.

    Good luck to everyone else out there doing NaNo! Only 24 days to go.

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    1. So glad things are trucking along for you! Keep writing!

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  17. I'm not doing to "official NaNoWriMo" challenge. Meaning, my goal isn't to write 50k by the end of the month. My goal is to finish my book by the end of the month, which at this point might very well be 50,000 words. So far I have written 5,515 and haven't even finished my chapter yet. :P But I'm going for 2k tonight, so we'll see how that goes. :) Good luck everyone on your writing goals!

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  18. *hands you a box of tissues and daytime medicine* So far this week, I have written over 15k words this week. I'm surprised that I have written that many. Normally I would have quit be the end of the first week. What helped me get through it was having wordsprints and word wars with friends on this website called myWriteClub. It's a great site for posting goals and keeping track of them. You can automatically save your work and writing on dropbox and it's free to sign up. They have two different types of word sprints: Globally (meaning you can write with anyone in the whole world) and Custom Sprint (meaning you can have your own private writing sprint session). I got to meet new people who were doing NaNoWriMo this year, and we encouraged each other with our writing.

    Now granted, I'm not entirely sure where my story is going now. I seem to have planned one way and started writing something, going the otherway, trying to connect the biggest points of my story. But I am really excited on seeing how this story will turn out.

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    1. Good job! And wow, I'd never heard of myWriteClub. I'll have to check it out.

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  19. Haha, your writing prompt made me smile because my story is about "In a land where twins are outcasts identical princesses masquerade as one girl: Rylie, heir to the throne, a secret not even their father knows." So yeah, no evil twins there, but totally a twin no one (hardly, I should say) knows about. :)
    And, I'm finding it rather easy to write fast this month and I have written celebrating posts on the GTW's FB page, but I DID put the disclaimer that Hey, not everyone has as much time to write as me so really, just because someone is writing faster than someone else does not mean one is better than the other... Thanks for your post and I hope you feel better soon. I've been chugging the vitamin C and garlic and all that goodness to hopefully ward off a cold before it becomes full-blown.

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    1. Your story sounds very interesting. I've never heard of one quite like it before :)

      Deborah

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  20. Would anybody want to word war with me right now? I know it's kind of random but I'm here if you would like to!

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  21. I am currently at 10k. Just right on track, as long as I write my amount today that I'm supposed to. Everything I've churned out has been totally stinky, but I'm choosing to ignore it, because I won't get anything done otherwise. Can anyone relate? :P I'm in the midst of college classes, so that's...difficult. To say the least. I carve out an hour and a half in the morning and write like a madwoman. My rate is approximately 300 words per 10 minutes. So in 90 minutes, if I'm focused. I can get my daily word goal out. That's worked, mostly so far. Always fall a bit short, like maybe 400 or 500 words, but if I dedicate a couple of minutes in the evening, right before I go to bed (which is when my brain is the most creative) I can get it done. And Thursday and Sunday evenings our writer's group meets and eats snacks, drinks tea and writes. That always puts me ahead a bit for when I'm feeling uninspired.

    On the midnight of November 1st, me and my sister's got up and I got nearly 3,000 words in. That was fun. :)

    This is my first year doing the adult program, and I've never written 50k in a month, so we'll see how this goes. :) Good luck to everyone doing NaNo!

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    1. Stinky is good. Repeat that to yourself over and over again!

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  22. You guys! I'm so far behind (not in NaNo, just in life!) and I'm just now getting back to this blog post. My apologies for taking so long. We had my boy's 11th birthday party this weekend and between the Nerf darts and silly string, I'm just now remembering there are other things to be done.

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