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What to Do if NaNoWriMo is Killing Your Soul

What to Do if NaNoWriMo is Killing Your Soul

So, NaNoWriMo is killing your soul. That’s perfectly natural—expected, even! Plot holes are appearing out of nowhere, and your characters are copping an attitude. You're pretty sure there's a mental breakdown on the horizon because writing is hard and everything’s hopeless, and we’re all just wasting our time on this spinning ball called Earth going nowhere fast and what’s the point of even writing anything, anyway?

Take a deep breath. Here, have a Kit-Kat. It's all gonna be okay. Our goal here is to get you back into that "WOOHOO WRITING" frame of mind, to get you over this existential crisis hurdle and back on the path to certain victory. So sit back, try not to question the meaning of life for at least five minutes, and give some of these a try:

Open Coffivity in another tab. Some people get more work done in a public space. (Research says so.) But it’s 2013, for God’s sake! You can’t actually be expected to leave the house! Coffivity is a website that provides the quiet background noise of a coffee shop to facilitate creativity without actually having to go to a coffee shop, where you'll invariably bow to peer pressure and buy a cookie just so the barista will stop staring at you.

Drink tea and get a cat. That way, you’ll feel more like a writer. Writers have these things, right? It’s in the rules, isn’t it?

Procrastinate. Time specifically allotted for procrastination is totally underrated. Sometimes what you need to unblock your writing chakra is some good solid dilly-dallying, in which absolutely nothing gets done and you just bask in the whimsy of things like Tetris and puppies.

Go for a walk and stare pensively at things. We’re told this is how 80% of breakthroughs happen. Also, you might meet a handsome stranger, get roped into zany misadventures involving a portal to an alternate universe, or find five dollars.

Use this online whiteboard to map out your story. Maybe you’ve just been freestyling up until this point, and that’s fine, but it’s kind of eating your brain. You can use this to make timelines, webs, chapter outlines, family trees, dragon doodles, whatever.

Skip to the fun part of your story. This doesn’t mean everything else is boring, it just means there’s this one scene you really want to write but you’re not quite there yet and it’s creating an imagination buildup. Go back and fill in the rest later, when you’ve got a really spectacular chapter under your belt and you’re no longer openly weeping into your keyboard.

Can't think of a word? Try this. One of the worst things ever is having a word on the tip of your tongue and no feasible way of freeing it from the prison fortress that is your brain. Eventually you'll default to half-crazed hand gestures and frantic sentence fragments as you try to verbalize whatever insanity is going on in there. It can halt productivity for HOURS.

Use Written Kitten. It’s based on a system of positive reinforcement and possibly the greatest idea out of all the ideas everyone's ever had—after you’ve written a set number of words, you are bequeathed a photo of a kitten. This is what serious writers do, we’re sure of it. If you ever happen across John Green in a coffee shop, odds are he’s feverishly pressing onward so he can get to his next kitten reward picture.

…Or use WriteOrDie. It goes along the same lines as Written Kitten but includes the possibility of punishment, which is terrifyingly efficient when you're using loud noises or images of spiders to get your butt into gear. WriteOrDie also gives you the option to capitalize on "kamikaze mode," which will un-type your words for you until you start writing again and is actually a recurring stress dream that we have.

Go listen to "Walking on Sunshine," "Don’t Stop Believin'," and "Eye of the Tiger." Don’t ask questions, just do it.

These ideas are as terrifying as they are spectacular. Sites that supply you with coffee sounds/puppies pix or DELETE YOUR WORDS WHEN YOU PROCRASTINATE?! WHERE DO WE SIGN UP?

Topics: Books, Life
Tags: guides, writing, nanowrimo, procrastination, writer's block, motivation, funny things, how to, writing tips, cool sites

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In real life, she goes by the name Courtney Gorter. This is a closely guarded secret, and you're the only one who knows about it, so be cool. You can follow her on Twitter or check out her website if you want, but it's just going to be a lot of complaining.

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