Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


A Quick Message for the End of November

Three cheerleaders holding a fourth girl on their shoulders

Image Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

I’m working on my last 3,000 words for NaNo WriMo today so I’m going to keep this short.

To all those who have already finished their word count: Congratulations! Pat yourselves on the back. You’ve worked hard and it’s paid off. We’re proud of you.

To all those still working to finish their word count by tomorrow: Go, go, go! We’re cheering you on. You can do it. Just keep putting one word in front of the other. You’ll get there. We’re proud of you.

To all those who won’t finish their 50,000 words this month: Well done for putting in the effort. You have participated and produced words which would not otherwise have seen the light of day. We’re proud of you.

To all the hardworking writers out there (whether you’re participating in NaNo WriMo or not), we thank you for your effort and cheer you onwards.



Are You Taking Advantage of Story Detours?

Orange detour road signs.

Image Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

If this post is a little less coherent than usual it’s because I’m writing through the brain fog of illness.

Ah, what’s NaNo WriMo without the mandatory flu? I know I’m not the only one who has had the dreaded lurgy this month. Let’s give a big cheer for all those who are writing through the sneezes and sniffles!

I’ve participated in NaNo WriMo three years in a row now, and each year has been different. But each story had something in common – they worked much better when I was willing let my story take a detour.

The first year I stuck rigidly to my plan. I had my rough layout of my story and I wasn’t going to divert from it. The writing was hard and I didn’t make my word count.

The second year I was much more flexible. My writing voice changed several times. On the 28th day I suddenly realised the perfect voice for my story. I would never have found that answer without my willingness to experiment and stubornness to plod through 50,000 words in order to get there.

This year I didn’t have a plan for what I was going to write, I just opened a document on November 1st and started writing.

On day one I made a rough outline of what my story was about – time travel which turns out to be a worldwide hoax.

My main character was planning to go back in time and change her childhood. But before she left on her adventure, I felt it was only right for her to go and say goodbye to her mother.

As it so happens, her mother lives in a beautiful little town cut off from technology – a haven for those who need a rest from the information age.

My character arrived at the town and was invited to stay. We’re over 35,000 words into it and there’s no sign of my main character leaving the town! Could the town and the mother/daughter relationship actually be the story?

I have no idea but I’m very happy to go with it. For November I only care about the word count and the words are coming smoothly.

But even if that weren’t the case, my story radar started beeping as soon as I got wind of this town. It’s full of quirky inhabitants and interesting conversations. Who cares what my character wants to do? I don’t want to leave. I want to know more about this place. I want to explore the people, the relationships, the backgrounds, the interactions. I want to know the story of this town and its people.

I would never have found this story if I hadn’t been willing to let the story detour from my original outline.

What about you? Where’s your story headed? Is your story radar beeping, pointing to something down a different path to where you thought you were headed?

There’s still plenty of November left. Why don’t you take a detour and see what story is down there?

You can clean everything up in edits later. This is your first draft. Seize the opportunity to explore all the angles and see past the obvious story.

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Ready, Set, NaNo WriMo!

The piece of film at the beginning of a movie.

Image credit: Microsoft clip art

Before I start this post, I just want to say that our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by Superstorm Sandy.

NaNo WriMo starts today!

Are you ready?

The first day of November usually hits you in one of two ways.

  • Full of excitement you plonk yourself down in front of the page, ready to free all that pent-up energy and get your word count started!
  • The overwhelming pressure of 50,000 words completely paralyses you and the ironing, gardening or alphabetising of bookshelves becomes irresistible.

Either way, welcome to November.

This month will be full of highs and lows, times when words come easily and times when they won’t come at all. But you can do it!

Here are three posts I wrote last year to get you in the writing mood.

  • 3 Myths About the First Draft – If you’re finding it hard to get your words flowing, this is the post for you! It’s a great reminder that first drafts are written only for you and they must be messy.
  • Tips for Those Writing by the Seat of Their Pants – NaNo WriMo is all about writing by the seat of your pants. If you’re not used to your story finding its own path as you write, then have a look at these tips and the related articles. Embrace the random and don’t look back.
  • Hit a Snag With Your Story? Why Not Try… – If you get to the point where you don’t know what to write, then try one of Creativity’s suggestions to capture your Creativity’s excitement and attention again.

Congratulations on setting out on this crazy journey. We’re all supporting you. Leave a note below and let us know how you’re going. You can also link through to your NaNo WriMo profile so we can watch your word count grow!

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If You’re Preparing For NaNo WriMo, Read These Posts

Little girl standing on a diving board looking very excited

The National Novel Writing Month starts in two weeks. Eek! Are you ready?

Unfortunately, I won’t be taking part in NaNo WriMo this year. I’m working on slowly getting back into routine. I think 2,000 words a day would kill me at this point.

However, I know that some of my readers are taking part. I’m giving you a big cheer and dollops of encouragement to get you through!

With our intrepid writers in mind, here are a few of my posts from last year on the subject of prepping for NaNo WriMo:

Last year I encouraged everyone to ‘declare their novel‘ with the hope that it would provide excitement and momentum going into November. It worked really well and everyone who participated seemed very enthused.

So I once again encourage anyone who is participating in NaNo WriMo to declare their novel below. Tell us a bit about what you’re planning for November, even if it’s just a phrase, location or character. Describe whatever has captured your imagination.

Share a little piece of what you’re working on so we can get behind you and cheer you on!

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art