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Advice for Writers Struggling for Ideas and Inspiration

To anyone who is struggling still with WHAT to write, or feeling lost, a suggestion: Invest your writing time today (best if you can when fresh) to write about what you're writing about - or the struggle. Like, a journal entry - just your thoughts. Get it all out -- if it's bad stuff, expunge your fears, your boredom with the topic etc.. get it out of you and try to end the entry coming full circle encouraging yourself.

Photo by Rochelle Joseph

If you don't know what you're writing, then journal/blog about places, things, people that have fascinated you and see if even a short story or something is in there. Look through Google images, Wikipedia, to find something that captured your imagination, and sparks an idea. Think of your top 3 fave books/movies - what was it about them that engaged you? If so, writing something like that (genre, character, location) can engage you for 30 days...

Having a hard time going from work to writing? Find MUSIC that you can play at the start of a writing session that will be the bridge from our world to your story's world (you know how music can transport your mood instantly right?). Find your theme song for this project - or various chapters or scenes.  Writing mystery? Murder? Fantasy? Sex scene? Action? Find the song that will get you in that mood and go.

If you know what you want to write but need direction or focus so you can hit the ground running when you DO have writing time, then spend todays' writing time plotting and outlining or doing some research to get you moving.

For the visual (like me) put a posted board on the wall with blue tape and get a sharpie, stand, pace around, and brainstorm. Write notes on that of whatever comes, free associate. Something will rise to the surface if you do this long enough. It's IN YOU trying to come out!

 If you're having a hard time going from work/parenting/daily life to writing, sit yourself down in front of the computer, your doc open, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply, and with each breath (it takes a few to get there), see yourself descending a stairway, step by step. The stairs lead from our world into the world of your story. It might just be 5 steps, it might be 15, but once you're there, let yourself linger a few minutes, so the sounds, smells, sights, characters, dialogue and scenes come alive. Come to the surface, open your eyes and go!

Lastly, I know a lot of people say they are so tired once they get to writing they're cashed. If you can't find a way to write when you're fresher - like waking up early and write, writing at lunch, etc... short of drinking coffee or coke for evening sessions, which may have adverse effects when you try to sleep...  try dancing. We all have a song we can't sit still to. Put yours on and dance - wildly - twice if needed. This will get your blood flowing to your sluggish limbs and clear the cobwebs from your mind. It works!

So if you need to - forget today's word count so you can get the direction and inspiration and motivation you need. There's plenty of time for you to catch up. It will pay off big time to pause now to get your train on the tracks!

And don't forget, any words you tally by the end of NANO are all GOOD WORDS. YOU WILL STILL HAVE "WON", because they are words you didn't have down before.

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Notes from Paris This material is original and not to be duplicated or used in any way without the authors permission.

DRAWING AT L’ ACADEMIE de la GRANDE CHAUMIERE or... A ROOM WITH QUITE A VIEWI relinquished speech completely in trade for the chance to spend an afternoon -  
and as it ended up, several more - drawing live models with a room full of strangers.  The entire time I said not one word. 
I was hiding in plain sight.  
I found my way to a door that led to an archway, that brought me intoa hall with more doors, one of which was ajar. There was a man, wearing glasses and a vest buttoned over a rumpled white shirt, standing at it's entrance,his back pressed against the frame, greeting the people trickling past him into a classroom. I walked beyond that door at a distance, …