Prepping for NaNoWriMo: A Letter to Future Jen

Dear “In The Thick Of It” Jen,

I know, you are pretty sure by now that this story blows right? That once again you’ve taken a perfectly good story idea and sucked all the life and love and joy out of it by attempting to put it to paper. Ready to walk away yet?

Well consider the last time you abandoned this story. You thought you could just willy nilly walk away from it and that it would disappear into the black hole of unfinished stories. But it didn’t, did it? It followed you around like a love sick puppy for a whole damned year until you finally did the right thing and tried again. And if you walk away again this time, that puppy is just going to follow you around some more, with it’s sad pathetic eyes and it’s Taylor Swift songs about how you two could have been amazing together if you’d just tried harder.

So, I’m not just going to guilt trip you – here is a little bit of advice that seems obvious to “Hasn’t Even Started Writing Yet” Jen:

  • Have fun – forget about the time line and the story arc and the unfun feelings that you are murdering a beautiful story. Just have fun – write something crazy, go nuts. Let your characters have fun and experience new things. If it’s really terrible, we’ll delete it later. LATER.
  • Have you been mean to your characters today? You know they say that a good author tortures their characters. If you’ve been being too nice lately, it’s time to mix things up.
  • Try following a new character around for awhile and see what happens if you need a change of scenery. Maybe they’ll become something amazing in this story, you never know.
  • Breathe – stand up and take a walk. Experience life for a little while and come back to it later, as long as you come back. :O) Life’s experiences are the bread and butter of art so don’t forget to have them. Don’t sit in that darkly lit cluttered office all day, no matter how low your word count is. Go kiss your children.
  • Have you eaten? Hungry writers are grumpy writers.
  • If all else falls, maybe the story needs more chickens?

Did that make you feel any better? Any more energized to kick this novel’s ass? I promise you can do this, you’ve done it before and you can do it again – don’t let that damned puppy chase you around for another year!!

Good luck,

“Starting to Get a Bit Nervous” Jen

A note of explanation: In short, I’m crazy. I’ve decided to give that old National Novel Writing Month another go this year, with essentially the same story I tried and failed to write last year. But it’s different now – it’s better and more exciting and evolved and it lost 5 pounds and swears it’s changed. I have mixed feelings about all of this, but as you can tell in the above letter, I feel like I owe it to the story to try again. And to myself. I owe it to myself to try and be a better writer. Anyone else joining me this year in a chaotic month of novella writing? You can follow my journey here.

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