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Writer Resources

NaNoWriMo Tip #10: 3 Ways to Tackle Writer’s Block

Murakami QuoteEven the most seasoned authors tangle with writer’s block. We’ve collected three methods to help with this affliction so that NaNoWriMo participants can continue to progress with the projects.

(1) iPad users can try out the “Unstuck” app to access digital tools and encouragement from an empathetic community.

(2) Grammy Award winner Sting was able to beat his writer’s block by drawing inspiration from other people’s stories. The memory of the the shipyard workers he knew from his youth lead him to write the songs for The Last Ship musical.

(3) American Born Chinese graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang forces himself to write “horrible, amateurish, grammatically incorrect, barely comprehensible sentences.” At some point, “ the decent sentences start coming out.”

This is our tenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #9: Banish Away Self-Doubt

tiny buddhaThe Andrew Lownie Literary Agency, a London-based company, asked 25 authors to describe their writing habits. Journalist Adrian Addison confesses that he has to constantly battle “that voice in my head, that bastard who tells me…Who the f’k you think you are, Shakespeare?”

Many human beings claim to share Addison’s plight with their own internal “Debbie Downer.” For the writers who are working away at their NaNoWriMo projects, this judgmental voice can be a great hindrance. We’ve rounded up three recommendations from Tiny Buddha on how to cast away self-doubt:

(1) Identify and ease your doubts.

(2) Trust and love yourself.

(3) Give yourself permission to try…and try again.

This is our ninth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #8: Follow The Hero’s Journey

How does one craft a hero? Scholar Joseph Campbell studied thousands of myths and found that a number of them follow a pattern that he calls the “hero’s journey.”

In the animated video above, educator Matthew Winkler explains this concept in detail. This TED-Ed lesson provides examples of famous characters whose stories follow the “hero’s journey” including Katniss Everdeen, Harry Potter, and Frodo Baggins.

This is our eighth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #7: Always Carry a Notepad

evernoteIdeas can come at any time. All writers, that certainly includes NaNoWriMo participants, should get in the habit of carrying around a notepad to jot down their thoughts at a moment’s notice.

These days, there are other ways to doodle and scribble besides using pen and paper. The Evernote team recently released the Penultimate app for iOS mobile device users; the developers made it a mission to give users the “most natural digital handwriting experience on iPad.”

This is our seventh NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #6: Get Comfortable With Telling Lies

When author Mac Barnett gave a talk at TEDx SonomaCounty, he described his occupation as writing “honest lies” for children. Barnett is not the first (nor will he be the last) to point out that being an artist sometimes requires spinning a few tall tales.

To help NaNoWriMo participants get in the right mind frame, we’ve embedded an animated video above that focuses on “The Language of Lying.” We’ve also collected three tips from this TED-Ed lesson:

(1) “Liars reference themselves less when making deceptive statements.”

(2) “Liars tend to be more negative.”

(3) “Liars typically explain events in simple terms.”

This is our sixth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #5: Start With a Memorable Introduction

How should you start your NaNoWriMo project? Locking down a memorable introduction may be the best course of action.

The animated video above features a TED-Ed lesson called “The Power of a Great Introduction.” Towards the end, educator Carolyn Mohr shares this warning: “If you’re bored while writing, your reader will be bored while reading.”

This is our fifth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #4: 3 Methods to Trigger Story Ideas

Oliver Jeffers 200Before one word is written down, every National Novel Writing Month project starts with a single thought. The question now becomes, what can writers do to trigger story ideas? We’ve collected a list of three helpful methods.

1. The Huffington Post suggests giving “freewriting” a try. This exercise entails that people write without adhering to any sort of structure or restrictions.

2. SHOUTmkt’s infographic, “Simple Ideas to Stimulate Creativity,” recommends that writers “do something different.” The intention behind this act is to break up monotony and allow for new notions to surface.

3. Don’t be a stickler to a schedule! When we sat down for an interview with children’s book creator Oliver Jeffers (pictured, via), he pointed out that “you can’t plan creativity.”

This is our fourth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #3: Plant Some Greenery On Your Desk

desk plantWhen tackling a difficult project, looking after one’s well-being can mean the difference between success and failure. If you are trying to write a NaNoWriMo book, perhaps it’s time to put down a plant on your desk.

Scientific research suggests that adding a little greenery to your work environment could help with improving and maintaining wellness. Some of the healthy benefits include clean air, stress reduction, and better focus.

Here’s more from The Huffington Post: “Research shows that keeping plants at our desks can boost our well-being at work – something that’s desperately needed when we hit that 3 p.m. slump each day. Plus, there’s a plethora of research showing that spending time in nature or amidst the color green can lift our moods and boost creativity. With so many perks, why not bring those benefits indoors?”

This is our third NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month. (Photo Credit: thechosenrebel)

NaNoWriMo Tip #2: Get Some Pep

Kami GarciaNeed some pep in your step? Every year, the organizers behind National Novel Writing Month reach out to authors to write “pep talks” so that participants can turn to a source of encouragement as they work on this daunting task.

Some of the writers who have contributed essays this year include Divergent trilogy author Veronica Roth250 Things You Should Know About Writing author Chuck Wendig, and Beautiful Creatures series co-author Kami Garcia (pictured, via). Here’s an excerpt from Garcia’s piece:

“Give your friend Doubt a name, and then block his calls. I’m not a fast writer. I type with three fingers, and there’s a video on YouTube to prove it. The way I finish my novels is one word at a time. Don’t focus on 50,000 words or 30 days. Just write one word at a time, and focus on hitting your word-count goal one day at a time.”

This is our second NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

I.N.J. Culbard: ‘I do take the story apart and reconstruct it again…’

I.N.J CulbardHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

We sat down with comics creator I.N.J. Culbard to discuss his new graphic novel, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. Culbard adapted the story from H.P. Lovecraft’s novel. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: Back in 2004 I was enrolled in The New Recruits programme set up by Dark Horse comics. I had two stories appear in an anthology there and a short while after that, 2000AD publisher Rebellion published a short strip of mine called “Monsters in The Megazine.” Following the work I did there I got in contact with artist D’Israeli, who put me in contact with a long time collaborator of his, Ian Edginton.

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