Today we have Rochelle Melander, author of Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days.
Melander is the founder of The Dream Keepers Creative Writing Workshop, a program uniting parents, teachers and professional writers-in-residence to teach youth how through writing they can make sense of their lives, capture their dreams, and transform their communities. (www.dreamkeepersblog.blogspot.com)
One-on-one writing coach, Melander teaches group classes, Write Now! Mastermind and her podcast is Always Write!
Take it away Rochelle!
By Rochelle Melander
Picture this: you are in the middle of National Novel Writing Month, cruising away, building up a decent word count, when suddenly monkey mind hits. Your mind flips from one thing to another, never landing anywhere long enough to actually get any writing done:
“I should update Facebook.”
“What’s happening on Twitter?”
“I need a cookie.”
“Why is my character so cranky?”
“Look at those squirrels.”
Monkey mind happens to the best of writers. It’s that horrible condition that hits writers and meditation practitioners alike. Our mind dances and twirls like a whirling dervish. If we are going to write even when we don’t want to or do not feel like it, we need to learn how to tame that wild monkey! Here are five things you can do to stay productive and rescue your word count next time monkey mind hits you.
1. Unplug. Shut off the cell phone. Turn off email, the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, and anything else that beeps on your computer to notify you of new content. This will immediately give you some space to calm your restless mind.
2. Create space. Do what you can to create space in your writing environment. Move your calendar and to-do list off of your writing desk. Enlarge your document window so that it covers all of the other junk on your desktop.
3. List everything you have to do, the ideas that keep popping up in your head, and the worries that are poking at your mind. Often monkey mind happens when I am trying to juggle too many tasks my head. Getting them out of my head and onto paper helps me to let go of them and opens up space for me to think about writing. I often keep a separate document open just for jotting down random ideas. That way, I can leave them there and move on with my work.
4. Brainstorm. When your brain is in hyperdrive, harness the power! Use the extra brainpower to brainstorm ideas for your story’s plot, characters, or setting. In this state, you are likely to come up with some off-the-wall but brilliant ideas. You might even sketch out future scenes in your document, adding words to your daily total. In addition, brainstorming often leads into writing and before you know it, you’ve beat monkey mind and written several pages.
5. Do what you can do. When you cannot focus enough to write your novel, but need to move forward with a project: do anything you can do to support the project. This might include researching the story, organizing files, or adding information to a character chart. Who knows, maybe in the process of designing your main character’s house or researching the clothes women wore in the late 1700s, you will have a brilliant idea and start writing again.
Writers, above all do not worry. Monkey mind happens to most writers. If you cannot write right now, set your work aside for an hour or so, do something mindless and repetitive, and get back to it when your brain calms down.
Rochelle Melander, the Write Now! Coach, is the author of 10 books, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Her new book helps writers conquer National Novel Writing Month, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). Melander teaches professionals how to write fast, get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Writing Group, a program that teaches writing to at-risk tweens and teens.
Get access to free tips, classes, a write-a-thon word count tool and more online at www.writenowcoach.com. Contact the author to speak by phone with your critique group, NaNoWriMo region, or book group: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days – published just in time for National Novel Writers Month in November (Nanowrimo.org). This book is a compendium of writing tools, performance techniques, problem solving – plot, structure, voice, dialogue, encouragement and life skills for writers. Detailed dos and don’ts for the writer about query letters, agents, publishers, writer’s platform, marketing and reading lists round out the program.
Thank you Rochelle for stopping by today and letting us be apart of your tour!
Now who wants to win a signed copy of this book? Just fill out the form below and I will announce the winner next Wednesday the 16th.