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Tuesday

NaNoWriMo Week 1

Write His Answer: Encouragement for Christian Writers

When I am weak, then I am strong--the less I have, the more I depend on Him." (2 Corinthians 10:10)

I'm reading Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull, the "Crisis of Confidence" chapter.

Marlene discovered that "suddenly everything seemed to be getting in the way of my writing. Other things, good things, were demanding time and energy." She felt she couldn't say "no" to these things and these people. She couldn't let down the people who were depending on her.

Sometimes, the best choice could be to take care of the problem, or help that person (like the one who may be lowered down from the rafters in front of you, as one man's friends lowered him down from a roof in front of Jesus while He was speaking to a crowd). Perhaps, just as Jesus was showing in His situation, it could be a "divine interruption."

But I'm pretty sure those "divine interruptions" are not the everyday demands on our time that we experience, such as the one Marlene Bagnull described, and like the interruptions I have been experiencing this week.

Margaret Bagnull was fortunate to have a writing mentor who saw what was happening and spoke to Margaret about it. "You're running from the very thing you most want to do," she said. "You're running from your writing....New writing opportunities are stretching before you and, to put it bluntly, you're scared. You're protecting yourself from the possibility of failure by becoming so involved with other things that you have an excuse not to write." She encouraged Margaret to "move on--to make a commitment to being successful even though success is a lonely and risky thing."

Margaret says that everyone who is serious about writing will face similar choices. "Turning points--to either move ahead or turn back." She encourages us to move ahead in God-confidence, not self-confidence.

Not to sound cheesy, but today is the first day of the rest of NaNoWriMo. So, I encourage all of you (myself included): Move ahead, confident that God has called you to succeed in the ministry He has placed you in--as a Christian and a writer.

Colossians 1:29: This is my work, and I can do it only because Christ's mighty energy is at work within me."

If You Want to Write

If You Want To Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Good morning, NaNoWriters.

Congratulations on a successful week of writing! Even if you, like me, have logged in a lonely "0" word count once or a few times this week, that's a form of success, too! We're still in the game!

This morning I am reading "If You Want to Write" by Brenda Ueland. She is very encouraging to beginning writers. She says "Everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say."

I love her sassy attitude toward grammar teachers and writing critics. She reminds readers to think of when we were children and put on plays for each other and for our families and neighbors. How we spent days putting it together, and how, really, the plays and costumes were very interesting and imaginative.

But then we arrive at school and our writing, our creativity, becomes a vehicle for learning grammar and punctuation, (which isn't be so bad, except that seems to become its only reason for existence). Then off we go to high school and especially, later, to college, where teachers write "trite, clichéd" in big red letters on our essays or short stories.

And we are no longer those confident children excitedly sharing our thoughts, beliefs, and truths with the world. We've become fearful of rejection and ridicule; we're afraid of being a cliché. So we stop writing or become “frigid” writers—not writing what we feel.

Brenda Ueland is right: Everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say.” My prayer for you as you continue with NaNoWriMo is to be confident in what you have to say and Just Write. Forget those grammar teachers and critics who have influenced your internal critic, and do the work God has given you—writing for His glory. Even if sometimes you have to log in a “zero” for the day, log it in with a sense of accomplishment that you are still in the game!

Just Do It!

from the Inside...Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!

I read somewhere that when you don't feel like writing, just sit down and write anyway. I don't know where I heard that first, but it can be so helpful.

Even if you start out literally writing "I hate this, I hate this, I hate this" as someone posted earlier, you are still writing. And pretty soon, something worthwhile comes out and you go with it. By sitting down and just writing--even if it's gibberish--you are PRODUCING! It's showing up to work. (I'm afraid I've fallen down on the job a few times in NaNoWri).

What is helping me right now? I've used a few resources in the past couple of weeks, but today I'm back to "From the Inside... Out" by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. I don't want to sound like I'm a commercial or anything, but this really is helping me. I've got my characters fleshed out and their goals and motivations, a little backstory for understanding them, and now I'm ready to put them in scenes. There's a great section in "From the Inside...Out" on writing scenes. Basic step by step. It's just what I need. (Thank you Susie and Rachel!)

And even when my internal critic says "you can't do this, what do you think you're doing? Even if you do get down a few little character traits, that doesn't mean you can actually write a real SCENE!" My critic has a witch-like cackle for a laugh, too. Really a nasty person. Yuck! These basic steps from “From the Inside...Out” are really helping!

Unleashing Your Writing Muse

A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life
I have a built in hour each day for writing; sometimes I use it for reading craft and planning, but I have dedicated this hour each day for NaNoWri. My hour is every afternoon when I drive my 15 yr old son to the gym; he exercises his bod while I exercise my writing muse! I take along my laptop and a drink, and sit in the car in the parking lot and work away; the time goes by very fast.

Okay, I do feel guilty for not exercising....I really need to do that, and I will get back to it...but I know that if I don't use this time during this month for NaNo, I'll have a difficult time getting to it.
What works for you? What special places and times do you do your NaNo writing? Anyone want to share?

Pre-writing Counts Too

Someone wrote "I may not have won...accomplished my best yesterday, but today...tomorrow...they are new days that require of me all my might for that day's task."

For many writers participating in NaNoWriMo, this is the time to reach those word count goals. Maybe they've already researched, plotted, developed, all of the preparatory work before sitting down and writing the story. And that's fabulous! We pray for fleet finger tips for them as the story spills out on the page.

And there are others who aren't at that point in their stories, yet. Maybe, like me, they're fleshing out their characters, doing some research on the locations, buildings, history of the setting and plotting with all of that information they've gained. This is prewriting, and if you're like me, some piece of information will flash a scene before your eyes, and you'll jot down a scrap of conversation. Or some piece of research tells you that "the fire was actually set in that old building when you discover that the perp was an electrician in the army and served time at Leavenworth before being dishonorably discharged for setting electrical fires in the army," and of course you have to make notes on that and pencil in a scene for it.

However, this also adds to your word count, but at a much slower speed of writing. So, while we may not reach 50K words by the end of November, just look what we will have accomplished! I think it's thrilling and I am so thankful to the Lord for everything and everybody He has placed in my path during NaNo.

I'm thankful to crit buddies who are so quick to help me brainstorm my WIP when I'm stuck; I'm thankful for all the help from craft books (Susan May Warren's Lulu books, especially; I can just copy paste from them right into my MS and have pointers in the text to help keep me focused), and so many other encouragements. I may actually get this ms finished! Wow!

So, don't feel discouraged; if you are writing, researching, brainstorming, everything associated with pre-writing, it counts. Maybe not for winning NaNo; but it sure counts in moving your story forward.