Unlock the Muse – November 21, 2018

It’s the time of year for family gatherings, feasting and giving thanks. It’s also the time for school conferences, progress reports and book fairs. Who doesn’t love a book fair? Progress reports, maybe not so much. Especially when they show how much room there is for improvement. If your NaNo – or other writing endeavor – is going as well as mine, the progress report isn’t so great. Okay, let’s take an honest look at where things stand: I’m currently at 21,000 words. I should be at 33,000 words. Ouch. Still, it might be bad, but it isn’t hopeless.

Here is this week’s writing prompt:

If you could have a conversation with yourself, what would you say? Write down the dialogue. Then read over it. It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself if you only take the time to listen.

If it makes this exercise easier, imagine yourself as a child talking with you as you are today. Or have this conversation with future you.

This is just about the hardest part of NaNoWriMo. If you’ve made it this far, don’t give up! Whether you’re well ahead, right on target, or woefully behind – Don’t. Give. Up.

Though the website focuses on business and financial success, this article from lifehack.org offers some useful tips that can be applied to NaNo.

  1. Revisit your purpose.
  2. Remember your accomplishments.
  3. Understand that obstacles and setbacks are necessary.
  4. Focus on what you do best.
  5. Clear your head.
  6. You are not alone.

So there you have it. Remember why you started this adventure in the first place. Look back at all that you’ve already accomplished. Setbacks only make your novel stronger. Whether you write dialogue best, or description, go with it! It’s okay to step away from the novel and recharge. Reach out to other Wrimos, either locally or online and get the support you need to finish this month strong!

Today’s vocabulary word is: Challenge.



1. A call to take part in a contest or competition, especially a duel.
2. An objection or query as to the truth of something, often with an implicit demand for proof.

1. Invite (someone) to engage in a contest.
2. Dispute the truth of validity of.

The use of the word challenge as a verb predates its usage as a noun, dating back to c. 1200, from the Old French chalongier, “to complain, protest, haggle, quibble;” and from the Vulgar Latin caluminare, “to accuse falsely.” From the late 13c., it came to be used as “to object to, take exception to,” and later still (late 14c.) as “to call to fight.”

As a noun, challenge was original used to mean “something one can be accused of, a fault, blemish,” again from the Old French chalonge, “calumny, slander; demand, opposition.” According to etymonline.com, accusatory connotations of the word died out in the 17c., and it didn’t come to mean “a difficult task” until 1954.

Happy writing!

Please consider sharing a link to your response to the writing exercise. Got a question? Just ask!

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