Unlock the Muse – November 26, 2019

At one time all things are new. But old things revived can also be new. This year for my NaNoWriMo project, I chose to continue working on an ongoing project rather than start something completely new. Although this is not recommended by the official website, sometimes, you just got to break the rules. And there’s nothing wrong with revisiting an old project, especially when the new ideas start flowing and everything feels fresh once again.

Whether you’re working on something new, or “new again,” November is coming quickly to a close. I hope you are finding success in whatever you’re working on. Above all, have fun with it!

As a bonus dare for this week, here’s a thought brought to you from Dove chocolates:

Dove chocolate

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Write a journal entry that describes nothing about your day. Pretend you’re living another life.

This is another opportunity to try out something new. Don’t care for the way your life is going today? Try out someone else’s. Maybe you’ll find the “old” is just fine after all.

Encourage
In keeping with the spirit of “new” this month, I have a new set of Rory’s Story Cubes to share with you today. Here’s a roll of Batman dice for you! I hope you find fun inspiration to keep you writing all the words.

StoryCubes18

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – November 19, 2019

I recently tried a new route to work. More and more, urban growth has been impacting my normal route, and things have consequently slowed down. And now, signs have been posted indicating a massive development project will be underway on this route for the next several months. It seemed like a good time for a change.

Of course, new isn’t always better, and in this case, it made little difference. Sometimes in our writing routines, it might be a good idea to try something new. If what you are doing feels slow and stagnant, change it up. Take your laptop out to a cafe or a park instead of writing at your desk. Write in the morning instead of at night. Use pen and paper instead of your computer.

A new routine can shake things loose. If you’re stuck, give it an honest chance. You can always return to the normal routine if things don’t work out. And maybe you’ll return with renewed energy.

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Spend 10 minutes today drafting the beginning of that dream novel or poem you’ve imagined writing.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, you’re likely already deep into that new novel idea that maybe doesn’t feel so new anymore. In which case, it might be better to jot down some quick notes on the “shiny new idea” that hit you in the middle of the night and table it until November is over.

If you’re not NaNo-ing, there’s no time like the present to dive in to that novel you keep thinking about. Write it!

Encourage
new
/n(y)o͞o/

adjective
1. Not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.
2. Already existing, but seen, experienced, or acquired recently or now for the first time.

The word new comes to us through the Middle English neue, which comes from the Old English neowe, niowe, or even earlier, niwe meaning “made or established for the first time, fresh, novel, unheard of, untried.”

I found this bit from etymonline.com very interesting:

There was a verb form in Old English (niwian, neowian) and Middle English (neuen) “make, invent, create; bring forth, produce, bear fruit; begin or resume (an activity); resupply; substitute,” but it seems to have fallen from use.

Apparently, even what’s new can become old. Maybe we should bring it back into use – I’m going to newen a novel!

Make something that didn’t exist before. Experience something for the first time. 

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – November 12, 2019

It’s a new week. November is nearly half over already. When did that happen?

Did you try something new this week to excite your senses? I went to the local art museum and spent a good hour enjoying color, shape and texture. I had a fabulous time examining all the beautiful artwork. I am always impressed by the creativity of other artists. I’ll share more about my experience there later this week.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, how’s your word count? I’ve had a rough beginning, but that is nothing new. I’ve made good strides this week to make up the deficiency, but I remain a little behind. My goal is to get caught up by the end of this week.

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Celebrate Wednesday – the hump of the week – in a poem!

Don’t normally write poetry? That’s okay, we’re trying new things this month. Wednesday isn’t the middle of your week? That’s okay too. Write about Friday. Or Monday. Have fun with it!

Encourage
I’ll leave you with this thought from Dr. Seuss:

New quote 1

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – November 5, 2019

November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is all about new things – new ideas, new goals, new novels. Whether you are starting a new novel this November, or – like me – working on an ongoing project, I’ll be celebrating all things new this month.

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Excite your senses. Take a day and go to an art museum, a fresh-air market, anywhere that allows you to see, touch, taste, smell or hear new things.

This is a great challenge for this week, or even this entire month. Find an event that focuses on one sense in particular. Write about your experience, giving special attention to the specific sense you chose to focus on. If you’re feeling ambitious, find an event for each of your five senses!

Go try something new this week, I dare you!

Encourage
New things are exciting and fun – new adventure, new recipe, new shoes. But they can also be challenging and scary – new baby, new roommate, new novel.

Since this is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, let’s take a look at the “shiny new idea.” If you’re starting NaNo this month for the first time, or the tenth, and you still aren’t sure what to write about, don’t worry, the possibilities are endless. Your life experiences – whether they are memories of actual events or those experienced vicariously – are all fair game for novel writing.

However, if you’re genuinely stymied about what to write, or maybe you got ten pages in and just don’t know where to go from here, Sandy Writtenhouse of makeuseof.com has collected some idea generators to help spark more creativity.

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – October 29, 2019

November is only days away. For many this means end-of-year holidays are upon us. Fall has nearly fallen. And football season is in full swing.

It also means National Novel Writing Month. This year I’ll be trying to balance a 50,000-word writing goal with a 100+ books-read goal. I’m still behind on my reading challenges, and I hope that doesn’t translate into a disastrous NaNo.

Of course, before we can arrive at November, we have to get through Halloween. Or All Hallow’s Eve to some. The night we put on our disguises and become the monster within. Or perhaps it’s truly the disguise that falls away, and the true self emerges.

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

You may be thought of as “your father’s son” or “daddy’s little girl,” but are these descriptions true? In one sentence, write a description of yourself through your father’s eyes.

This is an exercise in empathy. Can you think enough like the other person (in this case, your father) in order to describe yourself the way they would?

Encourage
It’s bonus week, and National Novel Writing Month begins in three days. If you’re participating this year, here are a few thoughts and resources to help you make it through:

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – December 5, 2018

It’s the beginning of a new month. The final month of 2018. And it’s a busy one, full of holiday craft bazaars, concerts at the elementary school, lighting candles, cookie exchanges, singing Christmas trees and secret Santas.

This time of year can also be difficult for a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons. Wherever you’re at, I hope you’ll find an outlet in writing.

Inspire
Here is your writing prompt for this first week of December:

What elementary or high school teacher most influenced your decision to write by helping you with your work or exposing you to great literature? Write a letter of appreciation thanking him or her. If you can locate the teacher, mail the letter.

Maybe it was a parent, or another relative who inspired you to write. A neighbor? A friend? A coworker? Whoever it was, write them a letter.

Encourage
After the frenzy that is NaNoWriMo, it can be all too easy to step away from the daily writing and let “taking a break” become consistently not writing. To avoid that, here are some great tips from prolifiko.com on how to continue (or create) a daily writing habit.

Equip
December can be a busy time filled with lots of traditional activities. My question for you this month is, how do you build these types of traditions into your fictional world?

Happy writing!

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

NaNoWriMo Week Five: Books, Basketball and the End of All Things

This week was our final in-person writing event for this November, and I was determined to finally get my word count caught up to par. And I did it! Thanks to the huge slog on Black Friday plus three days of writing 3,000+ words, I finally managed to catch up to where I needed to be to win.

I have been hugely distracted the past week and a half or so with the 2019 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The new list of reading prompts was recently released, and I have been unable to resist working on my reading plan for next year. I am looking forward to getting back some of my reading time since NaNo is over. Especially the precious reading time I get to have with my kiddos. Oakland and I can’t resist a good story.

Oakland19

Speaking of the kiddos, all three of my sons are playing basketball this winter, and their first practice came this week. They are on two different teams, but fortunately, both teams have practice on the same night at the same location. After the soccer/football season we just had, this is a huge blessing! Oakland and I were hoping to get in a few words, but alas, there was simply too much chaos for writing.

Oakland20

I made it to 50k! It was a rough go for most of the month, but now it’s finally over. I have 50,000 words of a novel I didn’t have just 30 days ago. It is the End of All Things!

Okay, so reaching the end of the first draft isn’t really THE END. It is, in fact, only the beginning. Now, I will move on to the next stage in this process and begin turning this hot mess of a novel draft into something more palatable. Rewriting, revising, editing. Rinse and repeat. I may, however, take a bit of a break in December to catch my breath, reintroduce myself to my husband and children, catch up on my reading, and celebrate Christmas.

Oakland21

I went into this NaNoWriMo November with an attempted plan for the novel I intended to write. The planning didn’t go as planned, but I think the novel still came out stronger in the end for all the pre-NaNo pondering. I have a lot of work still to do, but I’m now more excited than ever about this series of stories I’m writing.

For me NaNoWriMo is a place where anything can happen, and often anything does. Now that it’s finished for another year, I plan to move forward with this series in a less mad-dash sort of way until it’s finished.