Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Writer's Block Linkup

Rachael and I are so excited to be hosting the Writer's Block linkup today!! Rachael and I are both participants of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is an online "contest" to write 50,000 words of a novel over the 30 days of November. She and I both have several friends who are writers and we've had many conversations about the frustrations of writing a novel (or even writing a blog post). During one of those conversations the idea of hosting Writer's Block was born, and here we are! We're here to talk about anything that has to do with writing. Talk about being stuck in your novel, what inspires you, what you're writing... get creative! We're all here to encourage, inspire, and learn from each other.

I've always been a reader. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on my Grandma's lap being read to. When I was older and could read on my own, I couldn't get enough. I would beg my parents to take me to the library, and they were usually more than happy to cater to my thirst for words, unless I hadn't done my schoolwork for the day or my room wasn't clean. Yeah, you got spanked? I got my library privileges taken away.

I'm the one in the dress and dirty ballet slippers
Starting around when I was in high school, I started to love writing. I had dreams of one day writing a book, but instead wrote on secret blogs and in notebooks. One of my best friends, Cristen, encouraged my writing and we have spent many hours over the 10 years of our friendship just sitting in coffee shops, bookstores, or in our homes just writing. Since high school, my writing process has changed a lot, mostly for the better. The NaNo writing process is my favorite because I work best under pressure. (I mean hello, I always write my blog posts at the very last minute and I was always that student printing off essays five minutes before they were due.)

So, let's talk about WHY I love the NaNo process.

1. Quantity over quality.
The goal of NaNo is not to write the next great American novel in one sitting, it's to write 50,000 words. Anywhere you look for writing tips you will find things that tell you the first draft of any novel is usually total garbage. The first draft is the bare bones, and the editing process is where you fill out your novel, giving it life and making it beautiful. Remember, it's easier to delete things than to add thing, so it's encouraged to write about things you think may be totally ridiculous. I did this and ended up writing around a thousand words about a baked potato. The baked potato may end up getting deleted when I go through and edit my book, but for now, it's there and it's upping my word count, and that's the goal.

2. Write without thinking.
What, does this not make sense to you? It's one of my favorite things. Many times I will close my eyes and just type for a while, imagining scenes and writing things, and most of the time I write things that I never would have if I had been thinking about it. My favorite way to do this is through sprints, where you focus only on writing for a set amount of time (30 minutes is good). I have to close out of any social media websites and turn my phone over so I can't see the screen or I'll get distracted.

3. There's an endpoint... and a prize!
Knowing that I only have 30 days to do this and then it's all over gives me a burst of energy that I wouldn't have if I had as much time as I wanted to write. Of course, for a procrastinator like me it's easy for me to say, I still have 17 days left so I can up my word count tomorrow if Keith and I decide to drive all over LA today, and that's not great. So there is some responsibility I have to have, I guess. And at the end of the month, if you win NaNo, you get a t-shirt! I mean, you have to buy the t-shirt, but you're not allowed to buy it unless you've uploaded your 50K words onto the NaNo website, and I think that's pretty cool.

4. The community.
Coincidentally, the community is also one of my favorite things about blogging. On the NaNo website there are forums where you can go and ask any question and people will answer you. Really, any questions. Some of my favorite questions are, "Does anyone live where there are bears?" "What does a hangover feel like?" and "Goats! And spinning goat hair into yarn". 

If I'm not on the NaNo forums, I'm texting my writing friends. Usually it's stuff like, "I think I might have my main character get a tattoo," "MY WRITING SUCKS NOBODY WILL EVER WANT TO READ IT," "Words are hard," or something like, "Wine helps me write." It's really encouraging to talk to people who are going through things like you are, and it's even MORE encouraging when one of those friends has actually finished her manuscript (LINDSAY) and you have proof that it actually can be done.


So, what are you writing? What's your favorite writing music? What do you do to help you get through writer's block? Link up your post below!!

And if you want to know what I'm writing, here you go. About two months after [figure out good female name] and [figure out good male name] get married, they go on a hike and the husband suffers a fatal fall from the top of the mountain. The wife is devastated, but guess what? She actually pushed him off the top of the mountain for a lot of reasons that I'm not telling you because if I do you won't buy my book.

~The End~

grab button for Writer's Block
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  1. writing is the hardest thing ever. but i will tell you, straight up, you are clever. I always enjoy reading your blog posts and the life you seem to give to even the simplest situations. which is what, at least I think, the point of writing well. Good luck!

  2. Well I totally already want to read your book so hurry up and finish so I can read the first 50,000 words, k?

  3. Thanks for hosting this awesome link-up, and Rachael too if you happen to read this comment! It’s such a great idea, because you’re absolutely right – it’s the shared, communal experience of all writing together that makes it bearable. I would have stopped long ago if I didn’t have you, Amber, my mom and Andy to harass and make listen to my rantings and ravings about characters, plots, and how very hard words actually are. Proud of you. :) KEEP WRITING YOU CAN DO IT.

    1. Thank YOU for linking up!! I don't know how (or if) people write without having their supportive friends, because I wouldn't be able to do it without you all.

  4. What's so funny about watching everybody do this challenge and go through the different processes is that I've never EVER considered myself a writer. EVER. Even though I do technically write every day, I just never have thought about it that way. Maybe I should rethink and redefine writer for myself?

    YOUR BOOK. Where do I place my pre-order?

    1. Ummm hi I'm here to tell you that you ARE a writer. Now join the madness and write a book so we can all read it and laugh at how funny and clever and witty you are, dang it.

    2. What's so funny about your comment is that I TOTALLY consider you a writer. And not just a writer, but a GOOD writer. You're funny and smart and you like wine so THERE YOU GO YOU'RE A WRITER.

      This comment is your pre-order. You'll probably receive your book in about 20 years because that's how long it will take me to finish it.

    3. Hahahahahahahaha - well y'all are NICE. And I'll try to be free in 20 years but no promises k?

  5. Writing together was one of the best parts about being a writer in the Twilight fandom. So excited to see your novel come to fruition!

  6. the picture of little juliette kills me. i mean like i want to pinch her sweet cheeks.

    i can't wait to read your book and be like JODI PICCOULT IS THAT YOU!?!

  7. I love this link up and I wish my day wasn't so crazy so I could have participated. But blah blah blah I won't complain.

    Also, EVERYONE AROUND ME IS DOING NaNoWriMo and I have total FOMO about it and I'm upset I didn't participate. I'm way too late to start, but le sigh. Maybe next time.

  8. This really wants me to write a novel! But then I remember a story I wrote in elementary school about clouds and flowers and how utterly terrible it was and then I think I'll just stick to blogging. But reading, on the other hand, I love. So feel free to send me your manuscript for my professional opinion when you're done.

  9. YES!!!! I'm so proud of US and love how this linkup was born when you had too much vodka and I was at work #timedifference lol. love you <3

  10. I love it for those same reasons--the end point makes it seem doable!

  11. I've participated in NaNo for four years (or maybe five ... I can't remember), and I've only reached 50K once. And I ended up self-publishing that book about eight months later. It's very hard. I've only gotten about 10K words this month, mostly because I just don't have time to write. With two jobs and social obligations, I'm just never home. That said, I'm not calling it a failure. I'm still writing. I tend to write better with mindless TV on --- a movie or TV show I've seen dozens of times. This year, I've found "Glee" to be a good marathon writing companion. I write write write between musical numbers and then take a break to watch the performances. It's like sprinting on my own. :)

  12. Writer's block is the worst! But I notice that some of my best ideas come right before I go to bed when I'm just thinking. Hence, why I always have a notebook on my night stand :)

  13. I don't know if I have any book writing in me... Even though I blog I don't consider myself a writer either. But anyways, I want to read your book... it sounds awesome so far! :)

  14. Ahhh, it's been a goal of mine to one day DO THIS. Buuut, I always forget about it until I read about it on someone's blog and by that point it's halfway over. :p Also, if it makes you feel a little less alone, we were also punished as kids by having our books taken away, LOL. Oh, the CRUELTY. Espeeeecially on a long road trip!!