Ten days into NaNoWriMo and I see a variety of emotions. I saw one person who was over halfway to their goal of 50,000 words. Many more are already struggling with dastardly computers, illnesses, blasted work – or in other words, Darth Real Life. But whether it’s looking like they’ll make the lofty goal or not, I think all the participants are winners right now simply because creativity is alive and kicking in November.
If you’re someone who’s struggling, here’s a simple exercise to feed the muse. It works every time for me.
Pick a moment that will fit into your schedule today or tomorrow. It might be a pre-dawn sunrise down by the pond at the local park or the exuberant early minutes of the football game on Friday night. Then, while you’re in that moment, at that football game say, take fifteen minutes and pretend there is nothing else. Make yourself a vessel. Don’t be; just observe.
They say blind people have better hearing. Shut your eyes and give it a little test run. It’s incredible what happens to your other senses. I bet you can still tell what’s happening on the football field – the fans are screaming on your side of the stadium, the team is shouting for Waldo, cheers erupt, Waldo just scored! Funny, though, that amid all this you notice the hint of jasmine and citrus touching your nostril. That’s your pal, Kim. She just shoved past wearing that soft, warm peacoat she bought last week. Is that… yep, the aroma of freshly made popcorn is unmistakable. Your stomach growls. Maybe her trip to the concession stand was worth it.
Do you get where I’m going with this? Storytelling is a visual journey, but it’s all our senses that make the trip enjoyable. Sometimes if we as writers remind our brain that visualization is only one-fifth of the reader’s sensory input a grounded story will take flight.
Many Blessings on your writing endeavors,
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.