Ideas Getting Lazy? Take Them for a Sprint!

Five.

That’s the number, the measly, panic-inducing number, of days between now and NaNoWriMo.

Are you ready? For most of us, 50,000 words is a struggle in just one month, and we all have different ways of planning for them. Some plan all throughout October (or even write all throughout October, as this year’s #NaNoWarmUp and #OctoWriMo have shown us) and others jump in blindly. But regardless of our processes, we all have a goal to meet and stories to flesh out.

It’s obvious that sprinting can help you meet your word count goals, but in order to achieve those daily 1,667 words, you need ideas. And what writer hasn’t experienced that horrid, hollow sound of his or her brain screeching to a halt under the hulking weight of writer’s block? Just about every book, no matter how promising in the first couple thousand words of execution, harbors sneaky writer’s block gnomes hiding in the shadows, waiting to snatch up your plot bunnies.

Your best bet? Sprint after them! You never know where it will take you.

As someone who has written probably the last 25,000 words of her novel through word sprinting alone, I can say that the most deviating I’ve done in my work in progress thus far has been a result of sprinting. When you’re pressured to hunker down and write, there’s no time to think. No time to work out the logistics of your next scene. If you don’t have it plotted out, or if your existing ideas are too boring or posing some other kind of problem, that’s where your creative brain goes into overdrive. It’s like a pressure cooker for your creativity; eventually, the words need to burst through, and there’s a good chance of them veering in a direction you may not have anticipated.

Many writers might get nervous about this, but the best advice I can give for unanticipated creative detours is this: let them happen. If you’re the outlining type, or simply have your next scenes mapped out mentally, put them aside and let your sprint take you down whichever road it pleases. You may be pleasantly surprised at your destination. If not, you can always double back later, and count those words as practice. After all, NaNoWriMo is about being reckless. Save your editing and outlines for December; it’s time to let your work in progress out for a walk and some experimentation!

So if you’re stuck this NaNoWriMo, pop on over to our Twitter. We’ll be keeping our eyes out for and advertising whatever sprints and scrims we find, as well as hosting our own! It may just be the creativity boost you need. And at the end of those lightning fast 20 or 30 minutes, you may find yourself with a new scene, a new character… maybe even an entirely new plot to fuel your NaNoWriMo project.

Have you ever detoured during a sprint? Or during writing at all? If not, do you think it would be a scary experience? Let us know! We promise we won’t lead you TOO far astray.

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2 thoughts on “Ideas Getting Lazy? Take Them for a Sprint!

  1. Pingback: NaNoWriMo: Quantity or Quality? |

  2. Pingback: My NaNoWriMo Experience: Cristina R. Guarino |

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