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How to clear writer’s block this National Novel Writing Month
It’s National Novel Writing Month!
For those who don’t know—National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a challenge for budding writers, where you commit to writing 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days—that’s 1667 words per day!
Starting November 1 each year, thousands of people sit down with the tools, structure, community and encouragement of NaNoWriMo’s not-for-profit organisation to get writing.
It’s proven extremely useful, and I’ve personally seen a lot of budding writers and already published authors utilise the challenge to get their work onto the page.
There is a lot that can stand in the way of writing—be it time constraints, work/life balance, social or sporting commitments, kids to take care of, and other unforeseeable circumstances. The worst of them all, however, has to be the dreaded writer’s block.
Writer’s block is the classic idea of sitting down at your computer and staring at a blank document for hours. It’s not being able to write, or not ‘feeling’ the words you have written.
It’s being uninspired and unmotivated—and it’s exactly the kind of thing NaNoWriMo is trying to assist with.
My second novel, Cosmic Decay: Debris, is being officially launched this Saturday 23 November here in Canberra—but it hasn’t been all smooth sailing.
This second novel of mine was met with nine months of writer’s block. Yes, that’s right, nine months—my second baby took as long as an actual baby to gestate!
I had started writing the sequel off the back of the launch of the first novel, Cosmic Decay: Contamination, but I hadn’t gotten very far into the first chapter when my world came tumbling down around me.
In fact, I can even pinpoint the moment—it was at the first-ever book signing of my first novel that life as I knew it had suddenly changed, and because of that, the writing rug was pulled out from under my feet.
What followed was nine months of intense grieving and change, and writing the sequel became the furthest thing from my mind.
I couldn’t bear to sit down by myself to do anything let alone write, and for a while, I didn’t think the sequel would make it past the first chapter.
The world I have written about was heavily inspired by the world that I had been living (you know what they say, authors write what they know!) and it was like the zombie apocalypse had actually happened. I was Mindless like my characters in the book—lost in a stumbling world.
This went on for nine months until I started to think about finishing the saga off. What I needed was some inspiration and a bit of a challenge to get myself writing again.
Now, I didn’t set out to take part of NaNoWriMo, but my challenge was suited to me—watch 31 horror movies during the month of October.
The idea was to get myself back into a creative horror-writing mindset—to prove I could succeed in setting myself a challenge—and maybe if I watched enough zombie movies I’d be inspired to fight the zombies I had left behind.
And it worked! I was re-inspired to start writing again, and I even created a blog called This Side of Sanguine which focused on my love of horror and pop culture.
Writing and managing blogs have always been a way that I have stayed connected to my passions and keep the writing chops active, which is just what NaNoWriMo is encouraging.
Writing a little bit a day—whether that be your novel, an article, or a blog—keeps your creative juices flowing and your skillsets developing.
Eventually, after getting back into it with This Side of Sanguine, I found the inspiration to dive back into the world of Cosmic Decay, and once the idea was there the story just flowed.
I wrote the whole thing and finished it in exactly three months, and promptly started the next arduous task of publishing.
So, setting yourself a challenge and sticking to it really works when it comes to actually getting your thoughts out of your head and onto the page. NaNoWriMo just makes it easy for you to set your goals and stick to it.
If you’re keen to join up for next years’ National Writing Month, you can join up on the website and get started with the online community, but you also don’t have to wait until November 2020 to unstick your writer’s block!
Set yourself your goals and stick to it, as you would with fitness and eating goals. Make it part of your second nature, and you’ll be publishing your own book in no time!
Cosmic Decay: Debris Book Launch
The long-awaited sequel to Cosmic Decay: Contamination—Cosmic Decay: Debris—has finally landed, as the remaining survivors of the war against invading Visitors from another world and Mindless humans with cannibalistic hunger move in search of a new home.
Taken in by a new group of survivors with a connection to their past, their newfound knowledge is put to the test as the rest of the fleet of Visitors arrive looking to finish what the initial settlers started.
Now faced with vastly greater numbers and personalised vendettas, the survivors—led by couple Victoria and Max Stone—race to defend their planet from the Visitors and secure their home from the Mindless.
And when a mysterious and dangerous connection between the Visitors and Victoria’s unborn child comes to light, the group must question if hope is still worth fighting for in a world that seems to be empty of it.
All copies will be signed by the author on the day. Light catering will be provided, and drinks are to be purchased at the bar.
Happening Saturday 23 November from 6.30 pm at Bolt Bar, 68 Bandgalong Crescent, Aranda.