November 11, 2013

5 Ways to Stay Creative in the Madness of NaNoWriMo

    Fifty thousand words can put a lot of strain on us during the month.  It can push our creative selves to our limits and even help us to exceed them.  Some days it will be harder to crank out your 1667 words or more if you have fallen behind.   Here are some strategies to keep your creative self going this month.  

NaNoWriMo 2012 web badge.  

Play Dress Up

    Dress up is not just for little kids.  A good outfit or costume can affect your mood in positive ways.  Put yourself in your character's shoes.  Literally.  What kind of attire do the people in your story wear?  Does your character like to wear pillbox hats or cowboy boots?  Try wearing something that would be worn in your story or by one of your characters.  If you or your friends don't own anything that your characters would wear try visiting a place that carries the appropriate clothing.  Tr different things on.  See if there are any costume shops near you.  They can be amazing places to explore and may even seed some new ideas to spice up your interest in your story. My story takes place in a medieval fantasy world so I shall be donning my renaissance outfit.

renaissance outfit
My renaissance outfit.

Do a Physical Activity

    It can be refreshing to get up from your chair, go outside(weather and health permitting), and move.  Do something that will give you some time to think.  A run or walk.  Maybe even hit the local playground and just swing for a bit.  My personal favorites are long walks and bike rides.  Not only do you get some exercise, you also get fresh air and possibly some new sights.  An activity that you don't have to completely focus on can give your mind time to wander.  You never know what you'll come up with when you let the thoughts flow.  An activity you have to focus all your attention on can also be beneficial in that you get a rest from having to crank out ideas.

Write in a Different Location

    It is always nice to have the convenience and comforts of your own dedicated work space or office.  However, monotony does not breed creativity.  An occasional trip to a new and invigorating location could be just what you need.  Just yesterday I did some outlining at a coffee shop.  It was great to be away from the looming distractions of my office.

Prompts and Challenges

    This one is especially for those of you who are pantsing their novel or anyone who wants to goof around with their setting or characters for a bit.  Get a prompt for your writing.  Just do a Google search or pick up a book of writing prompts at the bookstore.  You could also try one of the many NaNoWriMo writing dares.  Here is a link to the main thread.  Dares 2013  You can search "dare" on the NaNoWriMo site to quickly find a few of the other dare threads.  Or go through the genre threads for more specific dares.


    I am not kidding.  Sometimes so many ideas and thoughts are speeding through our brains that we have trouble focusing.  Taking some time to be still can help us focus and as such be more creative.  I have been using Calm for my meditative purposes lately.  However there are plenty of resources out there.

    There are plenty of other things you could try and each person is different.  Each story or creative project is different.  So just find what works for you and don't be afraid to try new things.

    How do you stay creative during projects that push you to create vast amounts of material?  Do you have any great strategies to add to the list?

P.S. The writing exercise and response to last weeks haiku prompt will be up tomorrow.


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