Take a Deep Breath…

Because it’s almost time for the plunge.

Those of us participating in NaNoWriMo are all about to dive into cold water, only emerging briefly for gasps of air as we pay obligatory attention to our families, jobs, and personal hygiene.

Maybe you’re like me, and you’re diving into shallow water for a race to the finish line. Each day of November, you’ll take another 1,667 strokes as you add an additional 50,000 words to your work-in-progress.

Or maybe you’re starting fresh–as the rules do say you should–and you’re plunging headlong into a dark, wild pool, plumbing the depths for the treasures that will form your novel. Every day you’ll find a new gem, one that will embellish the chain of story you’re building.

Either way, it’s good to have a few basic diving supplies.

Goggles: You’re about to start seeing the world through the lens of your story. You’ll be adopting your characters’ viewpoints, trying to interpret events the way they would. You might start to see your town differently, too, and a familiar field becomes a mystical meadow, or the too-cute house by the grocery store becomes the scene of a murder. Put your goggles on and think about what you see through them.

Wetsuit: You need something to protect yourself from the extremities around you. Close the door. Tell your inner critic to bugger off. Snap at anyone who wants you to wash dishes before you’ve achieved your word count. Wherever you’re diving, the water will be cold, and some story-demons bite: make the swim as comfortable and easy for yourself as you can.

Fins: You have to propel yourself when your energy starts to flag. Gulp caffeinated beverages, motivate yourself with chocolate, or enlist a friend to cheer you on. Anything to keep you swimming through the long, soggy middle of your story.

Air: This one’s important. Work nonstop, and you’ll start to drown… or worse, you’ll smother your story. Take breaks to do whatever refreshes you. Go for a walk. Take a real swim. Read. Polish your collection of antique pocket watches. Do anything that aerates your mind, body, and imagination.

And remember… those badass bites you get from plot-sharks or the winner’s medal you receive at the finish line will make you all the more intimidating to story-demons you meet in another month’s dive.

Tune in tomorrow for fewer flimsy dive metaphors and my personal list of goals for NaNoWriMo 2011.

2 thoughts on “Take a Deep Breath…

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