Sustaining your NaNo momentum (i.e., foiling the SLUMP)

NaNo is coming to a close. If you haven't bowed out already (in which case, I applaud you!), I bet a night away from the keyboard is looking more and more appealing... ONE way to stave off that seductive Slump: join us for our final Come Write In! session here at Central Library, this coming Saturday, 2-5 p.m.

In the meantime, though, maybe break up your writing time with a little bit of reading. Book Riot has some stellar reading tips to consider in supplementing your NaNoWriMo word count, and I've come up with a couple of lists you might like to peruse, too. As my writing teachers have told me time and again -- avid readers make the best writers. It may be useful to reflect on someone else's words for a while.

If you've developed the notorious NaNo cold, Shantea Gauthier at the NaNoWriMo Blog offers up some ideas for emergency kit goodies.

This post is also a good kick in the pants. Here's a little taste of Wrex Writes' advice (which includes a snippet from Daniel José Older, who recently visited Central to promote Shadowshaper!):

[If you're having trouble sitting down and getting to work, s]how some compassion for yourself. Forgive yourself for not being the person you wish you were and treat the person you are with some basic decency. Give yourself a ... break for avoiding a thing that makes you feel awful.

Daniel José Older, in my favorite article on writing ever, has this to say to the people who admonish writers to write every day:

"Here’s what stops more people from writing than anything else: shame. That creeping, nagging sense of ‘should be,’ ‘should have been,’ and ‘if only I had…’ Shame lives in the body, it clenches our muscles when we sit at the keyboard, takes up valuable mental space with useless, repetitive conversations. Shame, and the resulting paralysis, are what happen when the whole world drills into you that you should be writing every day and you’re not."

The antidote, he says, is to treat yourself kindly:

"For me, writing always begins with self-forgiveness. I don’t sit down and rush headlong into the blank page. I make coffee. I put on a song I like. I drink the coffee, listen to the song. I don’t write. Beginning with forgiveness revolutionizes the writing process, returns its being to a journey of creativity rather than an exercise in self-flagellation. I forgive myself for not sitting down to write sooner, for taking yesterday off, for living my life. That shame? I release it. My body unclenches; a new lightness takes over once that burden has floated off. There is room, now, for story, idea, life."

Writing has the potential to bring us so much joy. Why else would we want to do it? But first we’ve got to unlearn the pain and dread and anxiety and shame attached to writing—not just so we can write more, but for our own sakes! Forget “making writing a habit”—how about “being less miserable”? That’s a worthy goal too!

Come Write In! on Saturday and let Central's caffeine, candy, and comrades-in-arms soothe your pain. (And, you know, CONGRATS on getting this far!)

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