Now that we know what NaNoWriMo is, we’re at the perfect opportunity to start thinking about an idea for our stories. If you already have an idea, some of these could just be fun writing exercises to practice getting a certain amount of words a day.
Believe me, if I can give one piece of advice, it’s get practice writing 1667 or more words a day. If you start now you won’t have to start at a cold run come November 1st. You’ll be in the habit of sitting down and making yourself write. Now, a note of caution, don’t burn yourself out or beat yourself up if you can’t do it one day or a handful now in October. This is merely an opportunity to see what your output is going to be so that you can adjust in November.
First step is getting an idea, and if you don’t have one already a good way to do that is from writing prompts. My Nano idea this year had been rolling around in my head for a year or so now, but a writing prompt I found on the NaNoWriMo forums suddenly solidified the idea in my head. I went from an abstract jumble of words to a clear idea, just because someone else suggested a sentence of a prompt. Sometimes that’s all it takes. I highly recommend you check out the forums even if you’re not looking to do NaNoWriMo this year, but just enjoy writing. It’s a good resource for prompts and support. Also, these prompts are a good place to start for your October writing exercises. Go through and pick a handful of prompts (or even share some) and set a goal for yourself to work on one prompt every other day.
Prompt Resources (I recommend and have used):
- Creative Writing Prompts
- NaNoWriMo forums: Word Wars, Prompts & Sprints
- Learning Express’s 501 Writing Prompts (Maybe a little technical, but still a good resource)
Maybe you need something a little more structured, and that’s fine — everyone’s mind works differently. I’m someone who needs to know what the “box” is so that I can think outside of it. Sometimes, you also need to get back to basics. Purdue’s Writing Lab is great for this. Now if you’re an English major, this website isn’t going to be for you, but if you write a little here or there, or haven’t written anything since high school, this is a good refresher course. However, if you’re looking for more involved writing exercises, let me recommend the following websites (they are as good or better than anything I would have suggested, and can be future resources to you as well.)
- Daily Writing Tips’ 10 Writing Exercises to Tighten Your Writing
- A Selection of Fiction Exercises, from The 3 A.M. Epiphany from University of Denver
- Lightning Bug’s Website has a writing activity page as well as other resources
Still struggling? Take a break. I want to resubmit the idea: Don’t burn yourself out. Sometimes just writing about your day can slow your brain down enough to have that “light bulb” moment. Try other techniques like a dream journal. Write a silly story about your pet, best friend, write about your hopes, write about your fears. Everything and anything could be inspiration. The only way to become a writer is to write. Good luck!
Did you have trouble finding an idea? Have any advice? Maybe you could share a writing prompt for people who are still working on an idea. If you share a writing prompt I will!