What Do You Do When You Get Writer’s Block?

It’s a good question. I thought I should ask it.

Why? Well, you may or may not have guessed this yet, but . . . when I sat down to write today’s blog post, I got a very bad case of writer’s block.

Don’t worry, it’s not contagious.

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Cat, I know how you feel.

Yeah, I’m just gonna cut right to the chase and say that I really don’t have anything to write about today. I tried everything I could think of to get rid of my writer’s block — I even banged my head against a wall to get my brain juices running again.

Okay, not really, but seriously. I just don’t know what to write.

. . . Except I’m kind of writing something right now . . . well, that’s something!

OOH OOH OOH I KNOW! I can write a few tips on how to beat writer’s block! I just . . . you know, won’t use them right now. I want to go play video games. *nods*

So. Anyway. Here’s a few tips for when you don’t know what to write:

  • Write. No, seriously, just write. Even if you absolutely hate what you’re writing. Just write. Writing begets writing. The more you write, the more likely it is that you’ll actually start to write something good.
  • Take a break. If you’ve been staring at that blank Word document for a while, you should probably just get up and do something else. Take your mind off your writing for a bit and then come back to it later. Getting a fresh new start often helps.
  • Bang your head against a wall. I hear it works pretty well. You should totally try it. Go on. Don’t be shy.

Hope these tips are helpful to you the next time you’re stuck! I also hope I’ll have a better post for you guys next week. See you then!

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NaNoWriMo: To Plan or Not to Plan

That is indeed the question.

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When it comes to NaNoWriMo, there are basically two approaches you can take in planning your novel. They are as follows:

Option #1: Pantsing. Derived from the expression “flying by the seat of your pants,” this approach involves little to no planning whatsoever. Basically, when November comes, you just open a new document and start typing away, making everything up as you go. I’ve never “truly” pantsed a novel — my second novel had the least planning of any of them, but I still basically knew who my characters were, I knew where the plot would (very) generally go, and I had a few ideas for some specific scenes. I would personally not recommend pantsing your first novel, or even your second or third, unless you’re crazily spontaneous when it comes to creativity and have zero worry about producing a bad first draft. (You shouldn’t be worried about producing a bad first draft no matter what your approach is, but still.)

Option #2: Planning. There’s a pretty wide spectrum of planning: everything from just your main character and a general outline all the way up to a detailed roster of all of your characters, a description of what happens in each chapter, a written-out character arc for each character, et cetera. I’d recommend this approach, especially if you’re a newbie, but beware of over-planning. Preparing too much of your novel beforehand can actually hamper your creativity, not to mention productivity, when you actually sit down to write the thing. At the very least, you should know your main character(s) and have a basic idea of the overall plot.

Whichever approach you choose, be sure to have fun doing it! NaNo is less than two weeks away.

Which reminds me… I’d better get planning. Meep. o.o

NaNoWriMo 2014: A New Adventure Awaits!

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It’s that time of year again! Writing. Madness. Caffeine, if you’re a coffee drinker. Thousands of participants. Forum conversations. Inspiration. Plot bunnies. Writer’s block. And, most importantly:

50,000 words. 30 days.

I’m talking, of course, about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, sometimes shortened to just NaNo). It’s an amazing event that has taken place every November since 1999. People all around the world gather together via the Internet to cheer each other on as they each attempt a seemingly impossible goal: to write a 50,000 word draft of a novel in 30 days. That translates to about 1,667 words per day.

“That sounds insane,” you might be thinking. “Is that even possible? Why would anyone even want to attempt it?”

Well, first off, I can assure you that it is possible. I’ve done it every year since 2009, and have won each time. (When you say you “won” NaNo, all you mean is that you reached the goal of 50,000 words. It’s not really a contest — no prizes or anything.) So, yes, it is possible, although quite challenging. In fact, as I understand it, less than half of NaNo participants win each time it happens. Even if you don’t win, though, it’s an absolute blast if you’re into writing, or if you’ve had a story you’ve been wanting to write for a long time.

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This NaNoWriMo will be my first time while in school and while having a job, so I know I’m going to be more time-crunched than usual. I’m also a little nervous that I might not be able to win, and I don’t fancy the idea of breaking my streak. Still, though, it’s been so much fun every year that I’d hate to miss out on it, so I think it’s definitely worth the risk!

Curious? Maybe even thinking you’d like to participate this year? Head on over to the NaNoWriMo website and check it out! I’d start with the About, How it Works, and FAQ sections. And if you do decide to sign up, add me as a buddy if you like!

Even if you don’t decide to participate, I hope you’ll pray/cheer for me as I embark on my sixth noveling adventure!

November is just around the corner. *evil chuckle*