Ten Tips for Getting Through NaNoWriMo without Losing Your Mind (Part VII)

Two tips today, as a little bonus since I haven’t updated this list in a while!

6. Write a poem in a very formal style from the perspective of each of your main characters at the moment you’ve left off with them. Something short, like a haiku or a sonnet. Sometimes working in a different genre can get you out of the rut of prose and force your perspective to shift, even if only temporarily.

7. Engage in ritual behavior. I’ve seen this suggested in countless other places as a cure for writer’s block in general, but this could be especially helpful when you’re engaged in an already overly routinized writing exercise, which is ultimately all NNWM really is. If you’ve already set aside a specific time of day for writing, as I suggested in earlier entries, then divide that writing time even further by setting little alarms and doing a specific action at the end of that smaller period of time. Write for 20 minutes, do 5 pushups. Write for 20 minutes, eat an M&M. Write for 20 minutes, walk up and down your stairs twice. Whatever it is, this little micro-break will serve a couple of purposes. First, it makes your writing time seem even less intimidating. You think an hour sounds tough? Well, 30 minutes is way easier, and 15 is even easier still. The physical action or activity will also allow you a second to breathe, to stretch, to clear yourself out of your intensity space and come back with just a tiny bit fresher perspective. Also, you may find that some days your ideas are flowing so well that you hear the alarm sound and you opt not to take that micro break, that you’re too invested in what’s going on with your plot, and you just plunge ahead. It’s kind of like getting awakened ten minutes before your morning alarm goes off. Some days, you’ll decide to just go ahead and start your day ahead of the game, and some days you’ll decide you’re glad you woke up because you’ll appreciate that extra bit of sleep. Either way, you’ve been jostled a little and can make that decision on your own based on your specific needs. Personally, my back and neck usually need a second every so often to move and shift, and I’ll grab a yoga pose or a drink of water or just do some mindful breathing. Whatever I do, I return a minute or so later feeling just a little refreshed.

1 Comment

Filed under writing advice

One response to “Ten Tips for Getting Through NaNoWriMo without Losing Your Mind (Part VII)

  1. Pingback: NaNoWriMo advice in one handy spot! « K.W. Taylor

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