Wednesday, November 23, 2016

All the Words // Part #3

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, you are likely to enter a writing slump at least once this month. Please allow me to offer you some questionable advice on how to get more words on the page. 

Cut corners if you have to. Skip difficult or boring scenes that are bogging you down. If writing in chronological order is messing with you, write stuff out of order. Embrace structure, or don’t. Skip dialogue tags if you find yourself struggling with them. Or use too many, if you can’t decide which one to use. If you write a sentence and then think of a better way to phrase yourself, don’t backspace. Just write the sentence again the way you want to. You’ve written both those sentences, so keep the words. 

Don’t hold yourself back. You are just throwing ideas at the page and hoping some stick. Don’t expect to keep even half of what you’re writing here. Go into full mad-scientist mode. (But only in terms of writing. Please don't start dissecting people.) 

Be smart about your rest. All-night sprints are fun, but consider the long term consequences. This writing gig is a month long. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and you need to pace yourself accordingly. Make sure you get the sleep you need. 

Vomit words. It’s amazing what your brain can do when you release all restrictions. I know there are going to be purists who cry foul at this, but if you need to spend five thousand words describing scenery or narrating your character's thoughts, do that. It might help you dig up an idea or a plot point or a theme you wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. At least it will help you get to know your story world. 

This month, literally anything goes. Toss the rule book. Who even needs that? You are a mighty viking. You make your own rules. Stab people with your viking helmet if they say otherwise. (Please don’t actually stab people. I don’t want to go to jail.) 

If you are fiercely competitive, word sprints are your friend. Slay your competition. You are the alpha. Make it so. 

Embrace alternate locations. Write-ins are great because they are both social and focused. Coffee shops are helpful too. Going someplace specifically for the purpose of writing can work wonders for productivity. It’s like hacking into your mind and rewriting the code, but totally legal. Probably. 

If you are writing blog posts or essays this month, include those in your word count. They may not be part of your novel, but those are words you’ve written this month, and you deserve credit for them. That way the time you spend blogging and doing homework doesn’t have to be so discouraging. And you really want to encourage yourself as much as possible. I am giving you the green light on this. Remember, people sometimes get snippy and try to hold you to their rule book, but this is NaNoWriMo. Rules are for the weak. 

Positivity works wonders. So seek out ways to get yourself in a good mood. Or develop a healthy case of indignation over something and let it fuel more words. Use your emotions in a productive way. Learn what helps you write and then overuse it. 

What about you, my little coffee beans? What are some ways you combat writing slumps?


  1. Thanks, I needed that. Heading out into the wilds later today to find a place to write that isn't home. Will I finally pass 25k? Here's hoping.

  2. Some great advice - thanks for sharing :)

  3. Word wars are the best! And rofl stabbing someone with a viking helmet. XD