A common assumption about NaNoWriMo is that people write crap to meet the word count demands of 50K words in one month, but NaNo writing doesn’t have to be poor quality. Let’s take a look at how we can make NaNo work for us.
There are almost an infinite number of ways we can develop our story. As long as we end up with a finished book, our process works. And just like the variety found in the overall writing processes we might use, we have many options for how to come up with our protagonist’s arc as well.
If we have multiple story ideas, how do we decide which one we should write next? We want to pick one that we feel strongly enough about that when the going gets hard—and it will—we won’t be tempted by a different shiny idea. So how can we avoid second guessing ourselves?
In the quest to come up with unique stories, we’ve probably all explored different situations, characters, and premises. Another way to add more layers of uniqueness to our stories is by exploring different cultures.
Aphantasia is the term for when someone can’t imagine something in their mind–“mind blindness” or not having a “mind’s eye.” As writers, this perspective not only gives us all sorts of story and character ideas, but it can also raise many questions about the concept of imagination itself.
Writing is an art form, and yet I don’t usually think of myself as an artist. But all types of artistic endeavors have the concept of a muse or a gut feel for when something is working—or not—so we might be able to use that general “artistic muse” concept to help us with our writing, especially when we suffer from writer’s block.
Whether we put any stock into tests like Myers-Briggs, they’re interesting for providing insights into our strengths and weaknesses. Once we understand our traits, we can decide whether we wish to fight to improve, find a way around them, or embrace them as part of our process.
We’ve probably all seen us vs. them attitudes for many aspects of writing, implying that there’s only one right process. However, just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for everyone, and in the end, there’s only one thing that matters.
Some authors are able to write coherent stories while drafting. Others put together words willy-nilly and end up with a story that doesn’t hold together. And still others plot but are just writing their chaos down in advance. For all, a strong sense of story structure would help them during planning, drafting, and/or revisions.
Ever heard the advice: “If you can stop writing, you should stop writing”? I’m here to say *pfft* to that. I gave up writing for years, yet I’m now a multi-published author. Choices we made about writing yesterday don’t determine today.