The Nighttime Novelist...accomplishes more in about 240 pages than a dozen other "how to write" or "craft your novel" books have ever done.

--Helen Gallagher/Blogcritics
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NaNoWriMo Tip #8: When You Stumble...

At some point over the course of November, life is going to conspire to keep you out of your chair and away from your work. And it'll be quite tempting when that happens to say, Well, I had a good run of X days, but this just proves I'm not cut out for this National Novel Writing Month thing. And then to walk away. Or, even if you're not so easily dissuaded, it'll be tempting (and natural) to sit down the next time and feel not just the tick-tocking of the clock--or the leafing of calendar days--but guilt over how "behind" you now are. As if that one night of non-writing has thrown the entire 30 days into complete disarray.

But if you're serious about the month, and the project, you've got to sit down the next time not focused on guilt, or the time lost, or the time ticking down as you stare at the clock. You've got to approach the writing as if you never missed a day, are completely relaxed, and not thinking that it's now November Whatever It Is.

Guilt and stress are excellent motivators for some things--parochial education, smoking--but they're pretty lousy as catalysts for creativity. So don't dwell on the stumbling...nor should you put too much pressure on the getting back up. Sit back down, crack the old knuckles, and get right back at it.

PS--This blog post partly inspired by the pangs of guilt I felt for missing my NaNoWriMo tip yesterday. So, you know...I've lived it.

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