I love the Nano Pep Talks. As I mentioned before, they are really why I love Nano. Nano is HARD. I've participated 5 times and finished 3. 1667 words a day, people. Some years are easier than others. This is one of the others.
But there is something about a pep talk written by an author. No, it's not the blatant appeal to authority. Or the cache of having one of your favorite authors (Kristin Cashore, anyone?) speak their best words of wisdom and enthusiasm for your eyes only. For me, it's the camaraderie I feel, realizing there are other people out there, like me.
There are other authors who get lost in the plot, who get stuck in a rut, who over think their writing, and who can't seem to write an outline to save their lives. These authors share their darkest fears and their greatest moments of clarity with us. And I deeply appreciate the vulnerability that entails. It's also one of the reasons why I love ROW80.
It's so great to not only read about others who are struggling like me, but so fulfilling to see their triumphs and successes.
So in the spirit of Nano—which is halfway over already—here are my favorite bits of advice:
1) Don't cheat! Don't let yourself get caught up in the seductive attraction of a new story! Finish your book and then move on to another idea, otherwise you will end up with a box full of starts and no finishes. (Courtesy of Meg Cabot. Side note, this one pep talk gave me the courage to finish Six Keys so long ago.)
2) Figure out what's next. When you get to the end of your writing day, take a few minutes to think about what happens next, so you don't find yourself staring at a blank page when you start again the next day. I tend to do this at night before bed. When I'm not dying of exhaustion, that is. (Courtesy of Holly Black.)
3) Write for your reader self, not your writer self. This is probably one of the best pieces of advice out there, and it goes hand-in-hand with "write what you read". If you LOVE YA fantasy, and you read a ton of it, then you know exactly what people like you want to read. Write for the you that reads YA fantasy, and the others like you will follow. (Also courtesy of Holly Black.)
4) The only way out is through. When you get to the point where you despair of your story, where it seems like nothing but a BIG GIANT TASK, remember not to quit. The only way to finish that story is to sit down and write it, warts and all. (Courtesy of John Green.)
5) Writers are dreamers. Being a head-in-the-clouds dreamer is a fine thing. Dreamers see possibilities where others see a blank word doc or an empty notebook. Dreamers give people beauty, hope and a few minutes of wondrous entertainment. They make people happy (overall, that is. I know you've all had some one star moments. I certainly have.) (Courtesy of Piers Anthony.)
6) No one else can write the book for you. I mean, they could... but it wouldn't be as good. Imagine JK Rowling had a ghostwriter for the last Harry Potter book. Would it have had her great sense of humor? Would the story have ended the same? (Courtesy of Neil Gaiman.)
So, I know I've been radio silent over here, but I've had good reason. I've written 15,500ish words so far this month. For me, that is practically a miracle. Of course, there were some setbacks and some successes. I have rewritten Zyander's first part about 3 times. I know what I want to say, but I just can't seem to say in a way that I like. hahaha I also finished my super secret project that I started... oh... 6 mths ago, I think. This may shock you, but I don't write everything under my own name. I follow Dean Wesley Smith's advice and put different genres under different names. Nothing I'm ashamed of, but I've found that fans of one or the other genres don't tend to like crossovers.
Anyway, I'm making good progress and feeling happy with where I'm at. I'll let you know when I finish Zyander's first part.