First off, Happy Halloween! As a horror writer, I LOVE Halloween. And the entire month of October is just my favorite over all. I was so pleased (and also frightened) by the fact that this October we had a Friday the 13th, too! FUN (and terrifying).
Halloween is also NaNoWriMo Eve.
I write all year long, but ever since 2004 when I “won” my very first NaNoWriMo challenge (and subsequently won 10 years in a row after that), I started to understand a few things about how to reach The End, or at least how to keep going when the going gets tough. Which it usually does (around week 2).
Whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo or not, these five little mindset shifts will help you reach The End. This is another little bonus lesson for the NaNoPrep series!
Everyone has their own process. For every writer out there, there’s a different way to write a book. These are the mantras that have helped me, personally, move from the proverbial Once Upon a Time to The End.
I’m a pantser (autocorrect always wants to change that to panther), but I truly believe these little mindset nuggets can help any writer out there.
5 little mindset shifts to help you reach The End.
- Give yourself permission to suck! Take the pressure off of your first draft by knowing it isn’t going to be a pile of golden sparkly words but more like a shiny turd.
- Your first draft is for fun, experimentation, exploration, and for your eyes only! Have fun with your first draft. Use it to explore alternate pathways in your story. Sometimes we get stuck believing our story is one thing, and when we right we try to shoehorn it into that one way, ignoring the muse when she offers up alternate forks in the road. Experiment. Explore. Have fun. That last bit, “for your eyes only” harkens back to the post I wrote about when to share your work.
- Put more on the page than you think you need to. You can always trim it, but it’s a lot harder to add stuff back in. This goes for character emotions and internal thoughts as well as any research you’ve done for the story that lends to the story. But also, if you’re on a roll and you need to stop to research something, don’t! Put a placeholder (see 5 below) and keep going!
- Let the creative juices flow through, around, and inside you! Bathe in them! Relish in them! This is the time for all the weird and wonderful things your creative higher power showers down upon you!
- Write through it! If you get stuck, put in a placeholder and keep going! I personally use II placeholder text II, that way I can easily find those after I finish. This will prevent you from going down rabbit holes of research in which you start out looking up what women wore in the 1870s and end up on a site telling you how to get blood stains out of carpet (blot up as much as you can first, then use two rounds of ammonia and warm water, followed by detergent and cold water. You’re welcome).
Happy Halloween, Happy NaNoWriMo Eve, and Happy Writing!