Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reverse-Lent/Screw Writing! I'm Going to Mime College

NaNoWriMo--have I posted enough about this yet? No, of course I haven't.

For you outsiders, let me give you a quick rundown of how it looks from the inside compared to the outside.

OUTSIDE: Crazy people waste a whole month of their lives writing fifty-thousand words of what they admit is crap (and we do admit it.).

INSIDE: All of us Nanites finally get to come together and chatter amidst the intoxicating clickity-clack of millions of keyboards worldwide--and we might even get a salvageable manuscript out of the whole ordeal.

It's all about perception.

Now, as any Nanite could tell you (I know the official term is "WriMo", but wouldn't you rather be a Nanite than a Writing Month?), NaNoWriMo is sort of a religious event--think of it like reverse-Lent. Every Catholic I've ever met hates Lent, and for good reason--you have to give up something awesome for something like a month. I know people who have given up soda, candy, sugar (that didn't last) sex (surprisingly, that did last), and on and on and on.

NaNoWriMo, on the other hand, is a month where you get something you only get once a year--reverse-Lent. Cherish it for the gift it is.

Now for something completely different.

Writers are solitary, fairly depressing people a scary amount of the time--in fact, according to standard psychology, people with as much self-induced stress and worry as the average American writer are considered mentally ill in one way or another, depending on who you ask. But we know better than that--it's a process that helps us do what needs doing.

Sometimes, though, that writerly depression and nastiness will line up with something else, like low biorhthyms, a death in the family, the two-week long snot fest that's running rampant around town, or one too many rejection letters for the same piece. During those, I have a quick (ish) process to pull yourself back up.

1: Mope. Mope a whole hell of a lot. Allow yourself anywhere from 1-3 days of straight up moping. What you do is up to you, but feel sorry for yourself, binge on chocolate and expensive coffee-esque drinks, take bubble-baths, get drunk--just mope.

2: Work. Start getting back into work-mode. I find that the best way to do that is to read about writing, especially with a good, familiar "How to Write" book. My favorite for that situation is a tie between "No Plot? No Problem!" by Chris Baty (go figure), "The Romance Writer's Handbook" by Rebecca Vinyard, and "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy" by Orson Scott Card. Also research for your next project. Whatever research materials you can find, snag them and devour them as quickly as possible.

3: Submit. Take that problem piece that no one will take, and lower your standards. If you've exhasuted half of your pro and semi-pro markets, go for token pay, even if you think that it's worth that $0.25 a word that Tor.com will give you, settle on that five dollar and a free e-copy market--just get it into someone's hands and out of your hair.

4: Smile. That's it. You've taken, at most, a week to stop being a real, professional writer, and now you're ready to get back on that war-cat and ride it into the four setting suns on the plains of Gilagag...or what have you.

Happy happiness,
Voss

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