Lyla Campbell
A small section on page 76 of No Plot? No Problem! is dedicated to the use of a writing totem. The author, Chris Baty (the founder of NaNoWriMo), describes a totem as something that, "helps you transition from the world of everyday living into the fictional realms you've created."

My writing totem is a singing goat. It's a souvenir from a family trip to Glacier National Park. I purchased it partly because I think goats are cool, partly because the Sound of Music is awesome, and partly because a singing goat was the perfect thing to have in the car to thoroughly annoy my parents on a road trip.

Now, it's what I keep next to my computer during NaNoWriMo writing sessions and beyond. It puts a smile on my face when the creative cogs in my brain grind to a frustrating halt.

So, do you have a writing totem?

Lyla Campbell

I know many of you have ye ol' 9 to 5 job just like me. And when there's a deadline crunch at the office, the time available for writing quickly dwindles under the oppression of my 50+ hour week.

In order to forge on and not loose ground on progress, I've started scheduling 2 to 3 writing sprint windows into my day. The process is simple:

1. Set timer for 15 or 20 minutes
2. Write like a crazy monkey driving a speed boat
3. Stop when the timer buzzes

The lunch hour is a great place to squeeze in a sprint and so is TV time. Pause DVR...write...keep watching. I then have more word count and a backlog of recorded show so I don't have to watch commercials. It's a total win-win. Unfortunately I don't have the discipline to wake up 20 min early and sprint before leaving for work. I loathe mornings too much.

Don't let the man keep you down! Keep on writing!!!
Lyla Campbell

When in need of faster caffeine delivery from sippy-opening (that's the technical term for where you drink from)...Poke a larger vent hole in the top of the lid. This results in a faster coffee discharge flow rate.
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Lyla Campbell

You might remember from just a few posts ago that I'm already very excited about NaNoWriMo '10 and I've hit the ground running with an outline.

Here's the rub...

I had an intense "ah-ha" moment day before yesterday. A brand new plot bunny bounced forth from my forehead. (Almost like when Athena sprung forth from Zeus's cranium...almost) My mind immediately began chasing the wittle wabbit down a twisting path. Around each corner was another new plot twist. By the time I chased it as far as it was will to go that day, I had a mental outline for a brand new story that had me just as excited as my existing NaNo idea.

Now I don't know which one I want to use. I still have a month and a week to make a final decision. So, until then I'll keep working on both outlines and hopefully one will rise to the top.
Lyla Campbell

Writing is not a sprint, it's a sojourn through your story. It's a long expedition, so if you're stuck, or things get slow just remember to keep moving. Sometimes that's easier said than done. However, I ran across a brilliant idea one morning when I was doing my morning news crawl on the interwebs. There on MSN was an intriguing link on their scrolling "main news" thingy...a compilation of 25 off-the-beaten-path college courses, one of which was called The Art of Walking

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Here was another excellent tool I could adapt and use to pry myself out of a prose sticky spot. I've heard about methods to talk it out, narrating the story to yourself to navigate your story out of the doldrums. I'm also familiar with the method of just keep writing, write anything, even if it's crap, just to keep your momentum (you can always go back and change it later). But sometimes, you need might need something a little more moving to get your momentum back. Sometimes, you might literally need to put one foot in front of the other to get to you to your destination.

The whole idea of walking to work through a writing wall evoked images of my favorite movie (and book), Pride and Prejudice. This walking method must have worked for the author as well. From what I have read about Jane Austin, she was very fond of walking as well. For myself in this modern day and age, getting out of the house and walking the trail along the bayou will get me away from the TV and any housework hanging over my head that I often use as an excuse to not write.

I'm very excited to try out this walking to write method this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Lyla Campbell

I know that some people out there prefer quiet peace when they write...I am not one of those people.

Music works for me on multiple levels. It can evoke emotion, it can bring back memories, and the words can paint pictures right before your eyes. It keeps my word count movin' right along. In fact, one of my new favorite creative writing exercises is to take 3 - 5 songs, each as different from the other as possible, then create a short story knit together from the plot thread spun out of their verses. I especially love using pandora to mix it up and find some random inspiration if I'm in a writing rut.

So, what are some of your unique ways to drum up inspiration?

Lyla Campbell

Yesterday was the perfect monday, because it wasnt a Monday at all. Technically it was the first day of the work week...but that's as far as the suckyness went.

I'm actually felling quite good (one could venture to say smarmy even) after the uber productiveness of yesterday's faux Monday. we had a major breakthrough and a stroke of luck on one of our projects, I got in a most fabulous workout on my lunch hour, and I made an impressive amount of progress on my NaNoWriMo outline (I'll post some pics as proof later today). All this on the heels of a redonkulously productive long weekend when an enormus amount of housework and small fix-it projects were accomplished.

EVERY weekend shold be a three day weekend! Did anyone else tap into their fountain of energy over labor day?

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