Last weekend I attended the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference in Los Angeles. It was stupendous (and about 20 other sublime adjectives), chock-full of great people and inspiration. There was a NaNoWriMo pep rally with Grant Faulker…and a bunch of aspiring authors who were worried about “where to begin.”
Here’s the brass tacks about writing, y’all…I’m gonna let you in on the “big secret to writing success.”
Are you ready?
Are you really super-duper ready?
Brace yourselves. It took me years to figure this shiz out.
We all have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is in the chair.
Some days the writing chair feels like it’s at the end of the Green Mile, so I wanted to throw some ideas out there, for all the newbies navigating through their first NaNoWriMo and anyone who’s wondering what to write about.
3 Ideas for when “You Don’t Know What to Write”
Combine Concepts: Seriously, stir up a few concepts and see what comes out.
Millennial starting his career under crushing student loan debt? Make him a YouTube blogger, or a stockbroker, or some career with the ability to generate lots of money if he’s good at it. Then make sure there are major impediments to being good at it.
What do I mean? What if your YouTube blogger still lives at home and his mother keeps crashing his videos…talking, or carrying laundry, or in her bathrobe. She won’t stop. She’s hurting his mojo. OhEmGee…
It doesn’t really matter what the problem is. Really. Truly. Make it some creative or weird problem that requires some creative or weird problem-solving and your book is going to rock.
Chris Baty’s fun kit, No Plot, No Problem, makes many seasoned authors shudder, but it’s rockstar for getting words on the page until the “writing every day” thing becomes more natural.
Whatever you decide to write about, do it with abandon.
Combine Genres: Do you read in two different genres? Combine them!
Romance and suspense are a natural fit. Or YA and thrillers. Historical fiction and mystery. You decide, or invent your own. Kristen Lamb and I decided awhile back that Amish Romance and Erotica could fit together if we were creative enough – Fifty Shades of Hay could take the world by storm, right? (Right??)
Combine Stories: Speaking of Fifty Shades of Grey…it started as Fan Fiction.
There’s nothing wrong, especially when you are learning, with emulating a story that you love and throwing your own characters and twist on top of it.
Julia Quinn, a popular historical romance writer, said she started writing by taking her favorite book from her favorite author at the time (Johanna Lindsay) and typing up the first few pages of the book. By page four, Julia diverted off on her own tangent and was on her way to her own debut novel. Today, she is a New York Times bestselling author.
Everyone starts somewhere, and that somewhere is the chair. Wherever you begin — in the middle of your current work, or starting something new — and whatever you decide to write, do it with your whole heart and mind.
Enjoy yourself. OWN that NaNo draft of yours. It could be the start of something amazing.
— Wet Zebra (@wetzebramedia) November 1, 2016
NaNoWriMo’s slogan is: The World Needs Your Novel.
I believe that is 100% true, and I encourage you to believe it too. I hope you’ll share your NaNo name and talk about your writing process/fears/angst down in the comments.
Happy writing this month!