Next week, human beings, I have a post coming for you: Why You Should Write Mini Zines. However, this time around, I am going to be talking about how to find inspiration for them.
“But Hannah,” you cry, “wouldn’t it make sense for this to come after the post about why we should write zines in the first place?” Well, yes. But no. Because once you read on, the idea will (hopefully) be rocking around your head all week and you might even Google it before you read my next blog post! (Shame on you.) Continue reading “Finding Inspiration for ZINES!”→
It’s week two. You’re about 6 or 7 chapters in, and you can feel yourself lagging a bit. It’s getting dull, you’re tired, work’s a nightmare, the weather’s abominable and the thought of sitting down and writing for an hour makes you want to tear your hair out.
When you’re running out of steam, in any project, not just NaNoWriMo (although due to the sheer workload of NaNoWriMo, it’s most likely because of it), it’s hard to keep your chin up, the pot hot and to keep on writing. I’m feeling the same way, don’t worry – the only thing keeping me going is that I’m finally getting into the meaty bit of my book even though I accidentally added in an extra chapter.
Here’s some tips to keep going:
Bribe yourself. Hey, it works, it’s not deceitful because you know it’s there, and you get a nice treat at the end of it! One thing could be a nice bath every 20,000 words (which would be three this month, theoretically), or watching a film, or a bar of chocolate. I’m using a square of chocolate for when I hit 19,000 tonight (thanks, Classical Civilisations teacher!).
Add in a subplot/new character/kill a character/add in something. Adding in something will keep your water boiling. My next chapter (hopefully) incorporates a new subplot, which I am very excited about. It’s keeping me writing. Besides, adding in something gives you more to write about if you’re just running out of things as opposed to steam.
Music. Make a playlist for your novel. I find music really helps me to keep writing.
Participate in word wars or just time yourself. Word wars are where you ‘compete’ with other people to find out who can write the most in a set amount of time (eg 5 minutes). NaNoWriMo have their own Twitter feed – @NaNoWordSprints – where that’s all they post! I sometimes just time myself, too, and try to do what I can; it adds on the pressure, as when the timer goes off, you stop.
Warm up before you start. Just write 200 words of drabble before you begin your novel – it’ll get your fingers hot and your brain warmed up, just in time for your characters to pop in and say hello.
Have an end goal. My personal end goal is a marathon of Agents of SHIELD season 2 if I hit 50,000. If I don’t, I only get to watch one or two a week. Man it’s spurring me on! Create a big goal that you actually really want to hit – maybe a trip to the cinema, or a new dress. If you have a reminder about it around you, as well (better make it your computer background!) then you’ll really want to hit it.
Get people to make you write. When all else fails, get someone behind prodding you with a big stick when your fingers stop moving.
How’s NaNoWriMo going for you? Or, if you’re not doing it this year, how’s life in general? Good, I hope.
I didn’t know what to write about today. So, I Googled ‘writing advice’, and a quote from Jack London came up:
Many people – not just writers; artists, even teachers looking for entertaining ways to teach their urchins – suffer from severe case of what I like to call inspirenza.
Are you a sufferer? There’s some ways to tell:
When you sit down to write/draw/teach your mind goes blank and you have no idea what to say.
You catch yourself browsing social media for ideas. Yes…even Twitter.
The outside is scarily looking welcoming.
You think you’d rather have a job where you know what you’re doing and it requires little-to-no work for your brain.
So if you’ve caught inspirenza, what can you do about it? Well, let me tell you now, antibiotics aren’t an option and plagarisation will get you sued. You’re on your own (well, apart from the entirety of the writing community willing to help you out).
As Jack London said, you have to go after your inspiration with a club. IE: you have to drive out that inspirenza yourself. So. Cures.
Google. Google is life, everyone knows that. Google random words, prompts, whatever. Have fun.
Walkies! Take the dog, or if you don’t have a dog, the cat, turtle, even the goldfish (ok maybe not the goldfish) and have a walk. Don’t listen to music – instead, listen to the sounds of the outdoors. Eavesdrop carefully and steal conversations. Look at the flowers and the trees, the people, interactions, buildings.
If the hint of an idea comes to you WRITE IT DOWN. The thing with inspirenza is that it can take an instant to recover from, but you can relapse just as easily. Don’t let those ideas get away from you!
Ask friends and family. Scary idea, but they can really help. Bounce ideas around (unless you’re JKR who says that that kills them for her). Ask if they have any ideas.
If all else fails, grab a club and go caveman style. I don’t mean killing buffalo and going after your PE teacher (as hard as it is to differentiate, they’re not a Neanderthal). I mean just think of something. Just get some words, any words, your thoughts on the page. Set the timer for a minute, 5 minutes. Write. Just write.
Inspirenza is curable. Honest. If it can take a hold of you, you can shake it off. It may seem dark and dreary when it’s hovering over your shoulders like a mouldy blanket you can’t bear to wash, but as soon as you scrub it clean things will be better on the other side.
If you want a real life example, look at me right now: I had no idea what to write about, and I’ve just invented a new word. Anything is possible.
Everybody has days when inspirenza strikes. Sometimes you just have a mind blank. And then you have to fight it off. Go on, try it now! Otherwise this guy will be after you and he looks pretty frickin’ angry.