Greetings, writers! We are entering the third week of Camp NaNoWriMo, and this is usually when I start losing my writing inspiration. So… Here are five tips for finding the inspiration to finish that first draft!
- Remember why you originally wanted to tell this story. Make a list of everything that originally made you want to write it, and stick it somewhere where you’ll see it often. Mine is at the very front of the notebook where I keep the info for my Shaman Novel.
- Listen to your writing playlist. If you don’t have a playlist for your project, consider making one! If music isn’t your style, check out some writers on youTube or read some writing related blog posts like this one. Sometimes listening to other writers talk about being excited to write their stories can inspire you to write your own! You can check out this post for some awesome writers on youTube.
- Do some word sprints. Word sprints are where you set a timer for a certain amount of time and try to write as many words as possible in that time frame. If you don’t want to sprint alone, you can follow @NaNoWordSprints on twitter and write with lots of other people!
- Ponder this question: What is your main character’s current social media status? This does two things. First, it allows you to think about your character in a context other than your story which allows you to understand them better by thinking about how they interact with their friends. Second, it makes you think about what they’re doing. Maybe they’re reacting to what happened in the last scene on Twitter. If that’s the case, then you should probably write their reaction next.
- When all else fails, start what-ifing! Read the last scene you wrote, and then write “what if… insert plot event here“, until you know what you need to write next. This can be super painful if you’ve outlined every single detail, but sometimes that outline just needs to fly out the window for a while. Yeah… This can cause a mess when it comes to editing the thing, but it also makes a better story in my experience!
Camp NaNoWriMo is here!!!!! If you have no idea what that is, head on over to campnanowrimo.org to learn more! If you’re looking for some last minute advice before you start your journey, stick around!
- Make sure that your Camp NaNoWriMo goal is actually achievable! If you set a goal that you’ll never reach due to your schedule in April, you’ll probably give up half way through and end up regretting it later. However, if you set a goal that pushes you a bit but makes sense with your schedule, you might surprise yourself and exceed it! Also, you can now choose to set your goal in pages or hours instead of just words, so there’s really nothing stopping you from setting your goal however you want! My goal is currently 150 hours of editing for my Shaman Novel. That seems pretty small when you do the math and convert it to days, but I know that the last two months of school are going to be a whirlwind of semester projects, therefore I made sure to set my goal according to what I thought I could accomplish. I should definitely be able to hit that, and I can always raise it if I realize I’m going to blow it out of the water.
- Organize your outline! Trust me… It is NOT fun to sit down on April 1st and go, “I have no idea where anything is in this Scrivener project!” Even if you don’t use complicated Scrivener templates to organize your projects, make sure that you know the location of all of the information that is necessary for you to write your story!
- Decide how you plan to back up your project. You really do NOT want to loose any of your precious writing due to a technological failure or a lost notebook! Personally, I dump all of my Scrivener projects into a Scrivener folder in Dropbox, which backs up everything to the cloud and syncs everything to the Scrivener IOS app. Also, don’t just trust the cloud to keep everything safe for you! Put those precious writing files on a flash drive, an SD card, an external hard drive… whatever you’ve got!
- Schedule stuff around your chosen writing time. You need to plan your writing time just like you’d plan anything else because if you don’t, it might not happen! You should either pick a time each day and dedicate it specifically for writing, or pick a day or two out of each week and write like the wind on those days!
- Be active on Twitter and in your Camp NaNo cabins! Some of you are probably going, “Being active on Twitter is NOT conducive to a good writing session!” But it is if you follow the right people! Go to the @NaNoWordSprints page! Do NOT scroll through your timeline! Do NOT check your notifications! You WILL get writing done because lots of other people will be on that page writing with you!
If you’re a newcomer to this blog and you haven’t already figured this out, I’m a self-proclaimed tech nerd as well as a writer and bookworm! I recently cleaned out my iPad, (no one needs 128 apps in their life when they aren’t using 50 of them), and decided to compile a list of the top ten writing apps that got to stay on my home screen. I am using the Mac/IOS versions of everything, but I’m pretty sure some of them have Android and Windows apps as well. Also, if you’re visually impaired, all of these apps are fully accessible with Voiceover! 😉
Scrivener is literally the best thing that has ever happened to my writing process! It basically lets me have all of the files associated with my WIP right in front of me in the same window! If you’re a writer and you’ve ever had to do a bunch of research for something, you know what it’s like to have multiple Word docs stored in multiple subfolders. It’s not exactly the easiest thing in the world to look at your research info and your writing document at the same time, and when it comes to reorganizing the scenes that you wrote in the wrong order, you’re in for a copy/paste party and lots of scrolling. Scrivener makes all that super easy because you basically get to drag and drop virtual index cards around your screen! It’s kinda hard to explain, but it’s amazing, and you should go download the trial!
Dropbox keeps your files synced between your phone, tablet, dropbox.com, and the Dropbox folder on your desktop! Also, you can put your Scrivener projects in there, so all your writing syncs with the Scrivener IOS app! If you forced me to pick only two writing apps, Scrivener and Dropbox would be my dream team.
Simplenote is possibly the easiest text editor I’ve ever used on my phone. All you have to do is open the app, tap the plus button, and start typing. It keeps everything synced in the ever mysterious cloud so you always have it on any device. You can even collaborate on notes by putting someone’s email address in the tag field! It’s kind of like Google Docs, but simpler and way more blind friendly. I put all my random brainstorm notes in Simplenote before I transfer any of them to Scrivener.
This app as a list for pretty much anything you could possibly want. I use the name lists all the time, and sometimes I’ll shuffle a random list to get a quick writing prompt. I believe the IOS app costs $3 now, but it is well worth the money!
Write or Die!
This is for those times when you just really cannot make words happen. It’s for those of you who need some rather… threatening circumstances to get you through writer’s block, and it does its job quite well! I usually don’t need any incentive to write, but it’s super fun to just watch my score climb!
Have you ever wanted an angry robot to yell at you for not completing items on your to-do list? There’s an app for that! I put all of my tasks into Carrot To-Do, (writing related or otherwise), and I’ve actually been a lot more productive since I bought the app. There’s just something about an angry robot screaming at you that makes you wanna do stuff so she’ll shut up and let you gain a level so you can unlock another function of the app…
This app lets you create reminders and preset timers. I haven’t used the reminder feature much because I always either yell at Siri to make my reminders or feed them to Carrot, but the preset timer thing is awesome! I do a lot of word sprints, and I also use the Pomodoro method, so that means I set a lot of timers! I don’t always wanna yell at Siri to set a timer, and the little flicky time picker thingy in the IOS clock app gets real old when you change the time length 20 times in a given day, so having a list of timers set for various lengths of time that I can just tap to start is super nice! Also, it has cool sounds!!!
Voice Dream Reader
This is a text to speech app that was originally developed for the blind and dyslexic. Basically you can give it almost any document, hit play, and it’ll read it in a really good sounding computerized voice. You can also buy several other high quality voices, and some of them make your documents sound almost like a real audio book! I’ve used Voice Dream to read eBooks and convert stuff to blind friendly formats for a while, but I recently got the idea to use it to play some of my writing. I’m currently editing my “shaman novel,” and listening to it with Voice Dream Reader has helped me pick out some rough places, so I thought I’d include it on this list.
So maybe this isn’t directly related to writing, but I’m the kind of writer who cannot write in silence. When I just need a little background noise, this is my go-to app. It has a ton of super realistic sounding nature sounds, so I can slip on my noise canceling headphones, turn on some ocean waves, and write away!
This isn’t directly writing related either, but I always make a playlist for the plot and characters of whatever I’m working on. I use Spotify to do it because it’s super easy to use, I don’t have to pay $1.29 a song, and it even shows me related content so I can find songs that I myself might never listen to but that fit my characters perfectly!
That concludes my top ten writerly apps! I hope y’all found this helpful, and feel free to ask me any questions about any of these! Also, tell me about your favorite writerly apps in the comments!