How is NaNoWriMo going, you guys? Mine is abysmal thus far. Here’s a screengrab of my pitiful stats. But my motto is to never give up and there is something brewing in my head that just may explode in a torrent of 2,313 words per day for the next 20 days, which is what I need to win this year’s NaNo.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 10.08.01Last time I NaNo’ed, in 2012, I won, despite a sick toddler, hosting a literary salon mid month, reading The Aeneid by Virgil for the lit salon, a sick baby, an overworked hubby and house moving fatigue. This year the challenges include work commitments, a bereavement, overworked hubby, revamping my 2 websites and 3 published books and too many ideas. Yesterday, reading Bavo Dhooge’s story on how he goes through book pre-production hit it home how so much of my writing is pre-writing, before I put pen to paper. Doing James Patterson’s Masterclass on writing echoes Dhooge’s approach in that his outlines takes 3 months to write, but form such a solid roadmap for his books that they can be co-written and then edited fast.

How are you NaNoWriMo’ing this year? Do you have an outline or a list of fundamental scenes written for characters who are so developed that they’re driving the story forward in each scene? Have you condensed your story into one sentence then expanded it out into 3 pages and eventually a short paragraph for each chapter? If you are stuck I’d love to help unstuck you with a Story Clinic. Bring your ailing storyline to me in a one-paragraph synopsis in the comments below and I’ll reply with some story development ideas to hopefully unstuck you. We’re on day 10 of November. Don’t derail now! And don’t give up, if, like me, you’re barely rolling. As I love to say to one of my amazing writing coachees: CHUCANDOIT.*

*A reference to The Little Engine that Could, where the tiny caboose tackles pulling a heavy engine over the steep hill, saying to herself ‘I think I can’ so many times it blurs into a clackety-clack, train-sounding mantra to motivate and move her beyond her fear zone into the wonderful felt-the-fear-and-did-it-anyway zone. ‘You can do it’ works the same. P.S. anyone remember the beautifully illustrated book, published in 1930? I remember the pretty dolls.

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