Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, November 05, 2010

Some bits of encouragment for those tackling the challenge of National Novel Writing Month

One of the most common dreams of pop culture success is in writing the Great American Novel,a goal that many would argue has not been reached by any one writer.

However,that doesn't stop the ambitious folk who take on the task of participating in the annual event known as National Novel Writing Month(NaNoWriMo,for short). Aspiring authors from all walks of life decide to settle down and see if they can string together enough words to reach the required number count(50,000)accepted to claim personal victory here.

Writing is not as easy as it looks,something that plenty of well meaning people have found out the hard way. Even for those who have been putting pen to paper since they were less than double digits in age,this craft does have it's own pitfalls and distractions along the way that are tricky to avoid.

Even though I haven't partaken in NaNoWriMo,I do have a little experience in this area. At the moment,I'm working on two books while trying to sell the first one I completed and while my struggles have yet to borne fruit,I'm still hoping to make a nice batch of novel jam to share with the world.

Not a great way to put that,I know,but that's part of writing,testing out those awkwardly original phrases and clauses to hear how they sound. As a show of support for those daring to take on National Novel Writing Month's challenge,here are a handful of helpful hints to spur you onward along the path to a finished work of literary art:

THE ROUGH ROAD TO REJECTION: Everyone in the arts faces this demon,sooner or later. Whether it's a publisher,agent or well intentioned(or offended)loved ones,having your writing rejected can be difficult to not take personally.

What can be even worse than a direct "sorry,this is just not what we're looking for" is an acceptance that is quickly taken back,sometimes for reasons beyond the control of the person who said yes in the first place. The best way to deal with this is to not let such setbacks bring you down for long. Many of the top authors of the past and present have had to cope with these fickle twists of fate before getting that one big break that changed everything:

SWEATING OVER THE FIRST SENTENCE: A major cliche about writing that still persists for good reason is in finding the "perfect" words to start your book off just right. There are no perfect words,folks,at least not ones that you're deliberately searching for.

The important thing about starting any book is in telling the story that's caught in your head and making it come alive on the page. By focusing too much on the words themselves,you can easily get stuck behind the cart next to the horse that's supposed to be front of it. Let the story introduce itself to you in it's own words in it's own good time:

DON'T BE AFRAID TO TOOT YOUR OWN HORN: Since most writers tend to be introverted types,sharing your work with others is the scariest part of the process. While bragging and being overly self confident can be a real turn-off,a simple modest declaration of your achievements will always be appreciated by the right people.

Getting that honest feedback and emotional support is the fuel that every writer needs for their creative health and stamina. It's also a way of thanking those who stood by you and made the effort to keep your spirits up. Fortune favors the brave and tends to reward the generous of heart as well:

DISAGREEMENTS ARE NOT ALWAYS MEANT TO BE DISAGREEABLE: When showing your work to someone else and asking their opinion,it is entirely possible that they may like what you did but hate the entire concept or genre. Art is subjective,after all,and while admiring the architecture yet disliking the building sounds strange,it does happen quite often.

Don't be too upset if this happens to you,particularly if this comes from a person who you most admire and wish the good opinion of. Just because they may hold a different standard for judging art than you do doesn't mean that you have lost any serious standing with them. You may simply prefer one cup of tea than another but you both can sip them somewhat harmoniously together;

So,as I offer the best of luck to the NaNoWriMo contenders out there,let me add one last piece of advice;resist the urge to pull an all-nighter. Even if you are only a few hundred words away from hitting that goal number by midnight of the last day of November,there is no shame in getting some much needed sleep. Exhaustion may seem like a small price to pay for completion but it comes at the expense of creating anything worth reading or readily comprehensible for your troubles:

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