National Novel Writing Month (colloquially known as NaNoWriMo) is an Internet-wide creative writing project which takes place every year and sees thousands of aspiring writers take to their word processors with the aim of writing a 50,000 novel in 30 days. It's a daunting prospect for many people, so here are a few quotes about the craft of writing from famous authors to inspire you this month.
"I think a writer's notebook is the best way in the world to immortalise bad ideas. My idea about a good idea is one that sticks around." - Stephen King
In other words, don't worry about forgetting a great idea you had. If it's genuinely worthy of story, it will be memorable. Of course, keeping a notebook for the details of said idea is probably useful. The average human brain is only capable of holding so much storage.
"Write what you care about, write what you're interested in, write what matters to you and write it as well as you can, and it will probably find its audience." - Neil Gaiman
Don't worry about writing what's in fashion at the moment. Genres go in and out of fashion, and while there may come a time where fantasy adventure novels sit dusty on bookstore shelves, if you write an amazing fantasy adventure it will be published and loved no matter what.
"Sometimes you have to get your writing done in spare moments here and there." - J.K. Rowling
If you have school, a full-time job and/or children, it might seem like you'll NEVER have time to write. That reality is, you probably won't have an 8-hour block to bang out 5,000 words in a day any time soon. You might only ever get to write during lunch breaks, before breakfast, at night etc. Use these moments and treasure them, and don't let that 15 minutes to yourself go to waste.
"You must write... You must finish what you write... You must market what you write... You must refrain from re-writing." - George R.R. Martin
If you want to write, talking about writing isn't going to get anything done: you must write! Also, never leave a story unfinished, and make sure you send the finished product out to as many people as possible. And if you get rejections from publishers, send it out to more publishers, but never begin an endless cycle of revising and re-writing unless it's on editorial demand.
"One of the most important things [writers] need to know is when they are their best, creatively." - Toni Morrison
While we obviously have to be mindful of the spare moments we have to write, if you know you write best at midnight, then that's when you should write. Also, set the scene: if Beethoven in the background and a cup of coffee on your desk makes you more focused, then that's how you should work.
"Make the writing process a learning process for you. What have you always wanted to know about?" - Dan Brown
Don't write what you know, write what you want to know. If there's something you're really interested in and would love to learn about it, use that as the basis for your novel. It will be a huge motivator if you're learning at the same time.
"If it's going to have any ring of truth, that means sometimes some of the horrible characters get to live, and for there to be any sense of jeopardy, the good people have to die sometimes." - Iain Banks
You can't always rely on a happy ending. Stories are about entertainment, but they're also about truth and authenticity. Nobody's going to be able to get stuck into a novel they don't find convincing, which means good things need to happen to bad people and bad things need to happen to good people sometimes. Because that's real life.
"The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read." - Margaret Atwood
The mistake a lot of aspiring writers make is writing with an audience in mind. For some stories this is useful, but if you want to write about real themes you have to make sure you're speaking from the heart. Don't try to appease a certain group of people if it means bending the truth.
"Read, read, read. Trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just as a carpenter works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write." - William Faulkner
Do we really need to explain this one?
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