Wordsmithing and Getting Into The Writing Groove
Well, it’s time to come up for air and check in after almost two weeks of NaNoWriMo!
In case you missed my last Kentstead Media post or don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, November is widely known as National Novel Writing Month. It’s the perfect time for writers of all stripes to challenge themselves to write an unedited first draft of a novel — typically 50,000 words — in 30 days or less! This year, I’m being a “rebel” and continuing work on a previous pet project, rather than starting from scratch. (That will be next year!)
If you do the math, writing 50,000 words in 30 days works out to an average of 1,667 words per day. I haven’t finished today’s tally yet, but over the past 9 days, I have written 13,073 words, and my current total word count sits at 27,053 words. (I did mention that I got a head start by working on a pre-existing project, right?) It took me almost a month to write that much last year, so, “Yay me!” (Kindly disregard the fact that 9 x 1,667 = 15,003, which is 1,930 more words than I have right now.)
The key to making progress on my story is, obviously, to “just keep writing” no matter what. Keeping up the pace of writing about 1600 words a day means that I have been taking my own advice from past blog posts. Did you notice my hat in the picture, above? My old UPS Writing Hat has continued to be a good reminder for me to “deliver” words to the page. (In case you’re wondering, my Editor Hat has been banned from the office for the rest of NaNoWriMo — except for poetry, and blog posts like this when I throw him a bone to keep him happy.)
I’m finding that one of the things that helps me get words out and keep moving is to listen to music, preferably instrumental tracks; podcasts and songs with lyrics can be too distracting. My Spotify and Pandora playlists change regularly (I even have different ones for whatever mood or genre I’m immersed in at the time), but currently my playlist includes artists like:
- Lindsey Stirling — ‘cause she’s just awesome!
- E.S. Posthumus — great experimental classical/electronica with an epic feel.
- Hans Zimmer — Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception, Interstellar, Sherlock Holmes, etc.
- LiSA, Luna Haruna, RADWIMPS, and music from several Anime soundtracks.
- Infinite, Super Junior, SHINee, The Rose, and other KPop artists.
- Ludwig Goransson (The Mandalorian Soundtrack)
- John Williams (Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc.)
- Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings, etc.)
Some of these songs are K-pop or action-based anime themes, and while they have lyrics, I don’t understand most of them so they just become a part of the music and aren’t distracting. Come to think of it, that actually supports what I’ve said before — that words matter in the communication of meaning and emotion. Even though I don’t speak Korean or Japanese, the words the songs contain have a sound and tonal context and delivery that feels motivating or suspenseful or aggressive or inspiring as the case may be. Many of them still pump me up and move me emotionally, as I remember the titles and episodes in which the songs appear.
If you find yourself wrestling with your words, give some of these techniques a try! In future posts, I’ll provide other strategies for getting the words out and getting stories told. But, for now, I’m listening to some music from Sword Art Online and heading back to grinding out words. I can hardly wait to find out how my characters get themselves out of the predicament I put them in yesterday! Wish them (and me) luck!