How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 2 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

 

FRIENDS ARE THE BEST! INVITE A READER ON YOUR JOURNEY WITH YOU.

Making the big decision to commit to writing a 50,000-word tome in 30 days is a PRETTY BIG decision to make.

togetherNow that you have done that, and have decided to take my advice on just writing whatever comes from your imagination, and flies out of your fingertips like magic sparks, allow me to offer you token number 2 that I learned in my experiences.

TIP 2. Have an honest friend (One who will be straight with you if your plot is not great) support you by reading your daily progress. (This person is not writing, ONLY reading.)

One of the biggest attractions of  NaNoWriMo is the worldwide support system that a writer becomes apart of for 30 days.  I read an article, a few years back, out of Writer’s Digest. That entire edition was dedicated to, you guessed it, NaNoWriMo, and it likened this experience to running a marathon, and how being surrounded by strangers with the same goal helps each runner keep pressing forward.Mag Cover

I believe that is sage, to have that kind of support, HOWEVER, that is not what I mean by having a friend come along with you…obviously, because I said that already, twice.

In the first 2 years (This year I flew solo and paid for it, yikes! I know right?! How selfish of my reader friend to get married and be on her honeymoon and stuff…I digress.) that I participated, I had a friend who I sent my daily progress to.

This helped in several different ways:

  1.  I had an audience who kept an eye on plot points and pointed out mistakes for me if I got off track.  By them pointing out my mistakes, it saved me time in the future with revisions AND it enabled me a quicker movement back on track with the progression of the story.  She also tended to print out the pages and make copy edits all on her own. PRICELESS!
  2. Because they were invested in the story (They kept reading because they liked the plot) they acted as a dog on my heels, nipping when I wasn’t writing fast enough. This is encouraging because their desire to read more was a sign that they were enjoying the story, which meant I wasn’t writing a bunch of crap.  (If they didn’t like it, they said so. Again get an honest friend for the journey, not one who likes everything you do just because.)
  3. Having to send my daily progress gave me a sense of a more immediate goal to work toward. When there is a feeling of expectation, you are more willing to perform without coming up with a ton of excuses and reasons to not follow through.

So if you have time (and you do) find a friend who loves to read, is honest about what they read, and who will give it to you straight as they read.  As Ecclesiastes 4:9 says:

 Two are better than the one, for they enjoy a better reward for their toil.

Enjoy your journey, and as always, happy writing! And if you somehow missed my Token number 1:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest readers eye, and give you feedback. 

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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It Was A Start: Flash Fiction Results for Monday’s Muse May 9th 2016

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It Was a Start

He glanced at his watch and choked on a nervous knot. He was already running late and yet he’d still not written a thing. They were just simple words, should have been and yet his mind remained as blank as the page before him.

How in the world did a man who had been forced into the ‘friend-zone’ by his own request, tell the woman he’d kept at arms length that he was madly in love with her?

Acknowledging that truth, chewing on it in that moment with the same bite that he put to his pencil made his palms sweat.

He loved her. He loved her beyond fleeting feelings and lies that potential partners often told each other just to make a good ‘sale.’ No. he genuinely loved her. The thought of not being with her, not being able to hold her hand or taste her rosy lips made his heart ache.

He was oh so curious to find out what Grape jelly Pizzaz lip balm tasted like.

He’d even found himself imagining a starter home in the burbs with a dog called Rocket and a little girl that had her freckles. He felt like a sap, but a determined sap.

What was  a relationship if it wasn’t founded on friendship?

Odd, how he’d spent so much time praying the Lord would send him the ‘one,’ when all the while she was right there, across the hall in apartment 8. They’d known each other for almost a decade, met in youth group.

Well, she was the youth at sixteen, he was the too cool for his own good twenty-year-old youth leader.

It wasn’t until their paths crossed four years ago that they’d started being friends, real friends. Then she dropped the news about her teenage crush, one that had followed her to that moment.

He gently shut her down, still seeing her as the girl who sat in the back of the room with the oversized hoodie and black frame glasses, and a messy bun on top of her head.

She’d agreed to be friends, just friends when he pestered her into it. She’d begun to avoid him, but something in him wouldn’t let that stand. He needed to be her friend. He realized he was being selfish.

But he truly enjoyed her company. He simply liked her, but now he more than liked her. He wanted to give her all the things she desired in life, laughter and joy, happily ever after.

He wasn’t even a romantic that way, but somehow between laundry nights, cartoons on lazy Saturday mornings and conversations about each other’s work days, he’d grown deep roots for her.

Glancing at his watch again, he blew out a breath and put the pencil to the paper praying that his words would be enough. He wrote her name in all caps, followed by a comma and simply began with ‘I love you’.

It was a start.

THE END

* I hope you enjoyed my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt, May 9th, 2016. To read the original prompt with rules, and even give it a try yourself, you can do so by following this LINK.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

In Silence: A Short Story and Song

“Well, I am going to go then,” I thumb towards the front door from the back deck and look down at him, waiting for him to respond. We have been sitting out here for the last couple of hours. The perfect buffet line for every mosquito in the neighborhood.

He stares forward still unmoving before finally tilting his head around to look at me. He can’t see my face, which is a good thing. The sun behind my head has created the perfect backdrop, veiling my face in darkness.

Like I said, it is a good thing. I have never been good at poker, and I can’t mask my expressions so well anymore. When this began I was good at it, but its been almost a year now. I began to wear down six months ago.

His eyes glance down at my toes and he grins. I must be balling them and releasing them again, a telltale sign that I am irritated. He is very astute that way. He chances another peek at my face, still veiled in black, now with a scowl that he still can’t see and he says, “So soon? Its only been,”

“Two hours.” I say, the words gliding over my sighing like a surf board against a gentle wave. Two hours doesn’t seem like much to Gavin. He isn’t the one who has to fight through traffic to get back to the other side of town. On a good day, it takes me an hour.

“Two hours,” He repeats my words and then readjusts himself where he is seated. The blanket he keeps over his atrophied legs slides down to the ground at the feet of his walker, and he struggles to reach it. I intervene.

“I’ll do it, Gavin.”  I squeeze in between his chair and mine, reaching for the blanket. He pulls it up just as my fingers connect with it.

“No worries, love. I can do it. I don’t need you to do everything for me.”

His tone isn’t bitter. It just…is. And it freezes me still because that was what I used to come here for, to help him, to do for him what he could no longer do. The accident broke more than just his legs and hips, it broke his soul. It broke me too.

I have been his only constant help besides the nurse who checks on him a few times a week, and the physical therapist who draws more swear words from his lips than a leech does blood.

Even though he has gotten better, rehabilitation has been slow moving, even for a man in his prime, so has our conversations. I miss him, even though I sit next to him almost daily for hours in silence, worrying about my cancerous gas bill for my car. I don’t say anything to Gavin about it. I don’t say much of anything anymore.

He doesn’t respond as much as he did before this. Most of the words I have heard from him over the last few months have been whenever his mother or other family members call from across the pond, and by that I mean England.

I feel like an intruder and less of a friend. I don’t know why I come around anymore. I don’t know how to read him anymore. I finally get up my nerve and ask the question that has been beating within my heart like a caged bird. “What is it that you do need from me, Gavin?”

Truly I am at a loss, but I don’t tell him that. His astuteness allows him to discern that all on his own.

For nearly a complete minute he stares into my eyes, doesn’t glare, just stares as if he has waken up for the first time and has only just in that moment recognized who I am. A smile spreads across his stubbly jaw. He takes my hand and coaxes me into standing only to guide me back to the front of my chair.

“Gavin,” I say his name and begin to resist. It’s to little avail. His legs are weak, not his arms.

“I need you to sit, that’s all.” The smile has gone but there is a “please” dancing in his cinnamon eyes.

Sit, in silence, silence that has been deafening and confusing. Silence that has made me feel awkward, and unwelcome, silence that has made me…I pull the length of my skirt around my legs and lean back into the chair next to him, revelation biting me harder than any of the mosquitoes that have made their meal of me.

Me. This isn’t about me. This is about my friend and his need. This is about his healing and his acceptance of what has happened to him. I suddenly want to cry for having been so selfish, and foolish for missing it.

What did he need? What did he want during his time of loss and struggle to gain himself again? For me to sit. In silence. That is all.

“You want me to sit? That is all,” I ask, tasting the salty savor that comes within my mouth whenever there is a threat of tears.

“No,” He shakes his head, another smile teasing the corners of his lips. “I want you to sit, and have a biscuit.”

I scowl as he chuckles and snatch the cookie from the plate. He knows that word drives me bananas.

“Thank you, friend.” He says, his jaw bulging with the morsel he has shoved in his mouth. Then he grabs my hand, gives it a gentle squeeze, and even though he loosens his hold, he doesn’t let go as we stare forward again, together, in silence.

THE END

Watching the ones we care about be wounded and then heal, can be one of the most difficult valleys to walk through. Our purest desire out of our love for them is to help them, to show we care. Often our care seems to be met with what seems like indifference and silence. It is an easy thing to take these responses personally, but what we often fail to see, even though we are hurting along side that person is that the pain is first their pain that they have shared with us. In other words, we are to abide by their rules in their moment of vulnerability.

This does not mean we enable them to do themselves further harm, but it does mean if all they need is silence and our company, then out of love that is what we should give them. The Bible says we are to share one another’s burdens, we are to cry when our brothers and sisters cry, grieve when they grieve, rejoice when they rejoice…be silent when they are silent. 

After reading someone’s testimony about grief, Christa Wells wrote this wonderful song that speaks volumes as to how we, the friends, the lovers, the sisters and brothers, are to help the ones we love when they are broken. It is called Come Close Now.Take a listen. If you go to the Youtube page, you can read the lyrics. I pray it will help you better help those you love whenever they need you to just sit with them in silence.

Cheers!