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Elayna Mae Darcy

NaNoWriMo Prep Pep Talks

Have Courage

A pep talk for first time NaNoWriMo writers

One of the scariest sensations to a human being is that of the unknown. Will I get that job I interviewed for? Will I ever find love? Will they renew my favorite show next season despite low ratings? (We sure hope so!) Not knowing how something will turn out keeps many of us from doing the things we want to do, because somehow to our minds, not doing the thing at all is easier than the notion of trying the thing and “failing” at the thing.

NaNoWriMo is here to shut that argument right up, and remind you that you got this.

This #RoadToWriMo pep talk is here for those of you who have never tried NaNoWriMo. It’s for those who have waited in the wings of the internet during the month of November, watching everyone else try and write their novels, while you go, HA! That’s crazy! Who would attempt such madness?! (All while silently telling yourself you want in on the madness.) I’m here to tell you that you can do it, and the only thing you have to do is decide. You have to take the leap, even if you can’t see where you’ll fall. From my experience with NaNo, the place you land always ends up being way cooler than where you jumped from. Because here is the real point of NaNoWriMo. Lean in close for this one…It’s not about writing 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s about trying.

It’s about flinging every inhibition you have ever had into the wind to try something that quite frankly should be impossible, but isn’t. It’s about telling a story–your story. It’s for those of you who feel adventures whispering inside of you aching to be free. NaNoWriMo is about letting go, taking a risk, and seeing what magic can come of it. Sometimes that means 5,000 words, sometimes it means 20,000, and sometimes it means going the whole 50K. The point is that you tried, and you ended the month with more words than you had when you started.

So many writers tell themselves that they just don’t have what it takes. But take a moment to imagine where we’d be if Jo Rowling hadn’t taken a chance? How boring would our lives be without Angie Thomas or Ray Bradbury? Madeleine L’Engle or John Green? All of these people were individuals who were bigger on the inside, with something to say about the world and the unique way they saw/see it. People just like you. The only thing separating you is that you’ve yet to take the first step. I’m here to tell you take it. Seize the opportunity to tell your story like you’ve never seized anything before. Carpe the heck out of this damn diem. BEGIN. YOUR. BOOK.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo thirteen times, and I’ll be honest in saying it never gets less daunting, and there will always be times when you doubt yourself and think you can’t finish. But the reason I’ve stuck with NaNo, and why so many people do too, is because of the community. When you hit that I can’t do this anymore moment, there are others doing the same thing along side you to remind you that every word counts. There are strangers from every corner of the world fighting the same battle as you. NaNoWriMo takes away the solitary nature of writing, and gives you an environment full of comrades so you never feel alone. It will be one of the most rewarding things you can ever do.

So, potential future WriMo, I hope to see you this November. I hope that no matter your Hogwarts house, you muster up enough Gryffindor courage to take on this challenge. Your friends here at IndiePen Ink, and the many WriMos around the world, will be there for you if that courage ever fails.

See you out there on the road, new WriMos. Let’s boldly go.

Carry on my wayward writers,


 

 

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Prep

Step Onto the Road to WriMo

 

Early in the fall of my fourteenth year, my sister told me about this little thing called NaNoWriMo. Being a curious and imaginative kid, I was intrigued by the notion of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. And so as November 2004 rolled around, I found myself with absolutely no qualifications (or skills to be honest), attempting what felt impossible, and somehow, I cranked out my first book. The rest is history, and I’ve since taken up the mantle of being what I like to call a NaNo-Lifer (n. Someone who does NaNoWriMo every year for the next conceivable forever) which is why I’m incredibly excited to announce IndiePen Ink’s upcoming blog series.

IndiePendents, get ready for our first annual Road To WriMo, or as the kids on the twitter say, #RoadToWriMo. We both loved and were inspired by the official NaNoWriMo’s awesome Road Trip to NaNo blog series, which you can check out here. So we thought we at IndiePen would share our own encouragement and inspiration with you as we head towards November.

Over the next two months, we’ll be providing readers with a series of encouraging and informative posts to help get you to and through this year’s National Novel Writing Month. If you’re unfamiliar with what this is, check out their website here and catch up. But essentially, as I mentioned in the paragraphs above, NaNoWriMo as it is affectionately known, is a month long challenge launched in 1999 by Chris Baty and his band of story-loving friends, who got together to ask a big what if―what if you could write a novel in a month? The idea behind NaNo is not to pen a masterpiece in 30 days, but rather to throw caution to the wind, and just write. Too many people have the goal of “wanting to write a book someday.” NaNo makes that “someday” become “this day.” And to make things even better, you’ve got thousands upon thousands of other writers from across the globe, all trying to accomplish the same goal, there to encourage you along.

It’s pretty nifty, which is why I’ve done it that past 14 years in a row. (Okay, so I skipped 2012, but 13 OUT OF 14 IS STILL PRETTY SOLID. Or so I tell myself to sleep at night…)

So what does this have to do with IndiePen Ink? Well, we at IndiePen want you to DO THE THING. We want you to put aside distraction, toss inhibition in the bin, and GET. THAT. STORY. WRITTEN. So to help make that happen, here’s what we’ve got lined up for you for the month of October…

  • A NaNo Pep Talk for Beginners: To encourage those of you who’ve never tried before to do so.
  • Advice for Plotters: Some pro-tips for the meticulous planning writers among you who love color coded plot breakdowns and the like.
  • A NaNo Pep Talk for Returners: Coming back for more victory? Tried, but never completed it? Somewhere in the middle? This one’s for you.
  • Advice for Pantsers: As Chris Baty said in his own book, “No plot? No problem!” Get the creativity flowing and get some ideas that you can write on the fly.
  • A plotting and structure course on our new writing workshop platform, Inkademy!

And as a bonus! This November, yours truly will be shooting a series of Pep Talk videos to help get you through the beginning, middle, and end of the month of November, as I will be down in the trenches writing with you all month.

I could not be more excited to launch this initiative, and I hope that those of you who are fellow NaNo-Lifers will join with us in sharing your own wisdom & encouragement for newcomers, either here in the comments, or on twitter using #RoadToWriMo. And for those of you for whom this is finally your year to try, or who’ve tried before and haven’t succeeded yet, we’re here for you. You can do it. Your story matters, and we’re going to help you get it told.

So ready your pens, brains, and keyboards, people. It’s time for us to make like Bilbo Baggins and blow this popsicle stand.

“You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ―J.R.R. Tolkien

Can’t wait to see where our #RoadToWriMo sweeps us off to, and I’m glad we get to go on the adventure together!

Carry on my wayward writers,


 

 

 

 

 

 

Pep Talks Savvy

Always the Write Time

A pep talk from Savvy:

I’m here today to deliver a spoiler about life as a writer. Something that all those articles promising you time optimization never mention. In the FRIENDS theme song, when no one told you life was gonna be this way *clap clap clap clap*, this was one of the things no one told you about. You ready?

There’s no such thing as the “perfect” time to write.

There, I said it.

This month has been Camp NaNoWriMo, which for those of you who don’t know is like National Novel Writing Month’s lite edition. Like NaNoWriMo proper, which takes place every November, the goal is to write as much as you can in 30 days. However, the camp versions, which take place in April and July, are the “lite edition” in that you can set your own goals. As long as it is at least 10K, it can be whatever length you want. You can use the time to edit old work, start something new, or heck, be like me and do both because you walk on the wild side.

As I reach mid month with one new project and one old, both in need of some love, I’ve found myself thinking once again, as I often have, about what constitutes the right atmosphere for getting the most writing done, and one step further, when is the best time to write. The problem is, there is literally no answer for this that I can discern for myself, let alone share with you, and here’s why:

What we forget as writers is that we’re also people.

We are people who have lives, and wives, and kids, and boyfriends, and coworkers, and sick grandmas, and deadlines to be met, and inner demons that like to go, nah you suck too much to write today, NETFLIX INSTEAD. All of these interconnecting relationships that one has to deal with and the demands placed upon us make it difficult to pinpoint what conditions work best for us to write. And so, the idea that one person with a quick fix article can tell you “write between 7am and 8am with exactly 1.5 cups of coffee and sunlight streaming in your window” is just ludicrous. The person telling you that doesn’t realize that maybe you work early and can’t write then, or maybe you have a baby keeping you up at all hours, so that ‘optimum hour’ for writing is legit the only hour in which you can catch shut eye.

So rather than sit here and give you a recipe for exactly when you should be sitting down to write, I’m gonna be real with you and say the one thing you maybe don’t want to hear, but that you need to hear: Just write when you can.

Routine works really well for some people, and if you exist in a time and space that allows it, of course it can be helpful and beneficial! I don’t ever mean to discourage what works for people, because as I said, we’re all very different beings. But this article isn’t really for those of you with perfectly planned lives and foolproof routines (even though I still love you). This is for the rest of us. Those of us for whom writing happens not at all for a whole week and then comes bursting out of us in a two hour binge write on our free Tuesday night. This article is for the you who is jotting notes for your story on your phone at the bus stop, and having to get through the rest of your day only to punch out one or two hundred words when you get home from an exhausting day. This irregularity does not invalidate you as a writer, it just validates your humanity.

As long as you are writing whenever you can, and recognizing that making time for your story is a priority, you are doing the right thing.

Tolkien took twelve years to write Lord of the Rings. J.K. Rowling took about seven to write the first Potter book. One of my favorite quotes I recently discovered sums up perfectly the advice I hope most to give to writers…

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” —Confucious

Make time where you can, and use it as best you can. Take the time you need to tell your story, but don’t EVER give up until it’s told. Remember to take care of yourself and the people in your life, and know that your story is waiting for you when you’re ready. Happy Camp NaNoWriMo, and remember to keep writing.

Carry on my wayward writers,


 

 

 

 

News Savvy Story Slayers

Let’s Slay Some Stories…

An introduction from Elayna

It is with greatest joy that I come to you this International Women’s Day, proud to announce that IndiePen Ink’s brand new podcast, Story Slayers, is officially live and out in the world!

The idea for this podcast came from two livestreams I hosted in 2016, talking about women in science fiction and women gamers. Hoping to open the door to more in depth discussion about a broader ranger of topics, I changed gears and realized a podcast would be the best format for the kind of environment I wanted to create and conversations I hoped to have.

The first episode features incredible guest hosts Natsai Todd and Jessica Schlessinger, both friends and creative women I admire more than words can type. Their knowledge of media, their appetite for good stories, and hilarious quips make for an episode better than anything I could have hoped for, and without them to help get this off the ground, I don’t know where I’d be.

During the pilot, we talk everything from iconic creators like Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay, and Emma Watson, to how woke the Powerpuff Girls used to be. We dive right into discussing a number of topics which are sure to return on future episodes, including intersectional feminism, fandom culture, and what it takes to break down stereotypes.

This show is something I’ve longed to see come to fruition for months, and given the state of the world, I feel it couldn’t be more necessary for women to persist in the telling of their stories. May this podcast be one small step for women, and a giant leap for storytellers everywhere.

Always with love,

Elayna Mae Darcy

News Savvy

We’re Going On An Adventure…

Authors, imagination travelers, and word weavers — the world needs your story, and we at IndiePen Ink are here to help you tell it.

The mission of IndiePen Ink is to serve as a multiverse of writing resources, providing blog posts, web shows, podcasts, and more, all to help independent writers and creators embrace their passion of one of the world’s most ancient crafts: storytelling.

Founded out of a mutual adoration of books, writing, and pop culture by C. Brennecke, Elayna Mae Darcy, and Rebekka S. Leber (with the help of friend and web wizard Elan Samuel) the site will include such things as thorough and engaging writing prompts, raucously weird yet informative web shows, and even a bi-weekly podcast by and about women in literature and the media. What we are not is a static, cookie-cutter operation with click-baity titles that don’t actually help you become a better writer. Our focus is on building community, helping creators with their unique problems and struggles, and having a damn good time while we’re at it.

We believe that you care about the stories you tell, and we want to be there for you to help you tell them in a way that leaves a positive mark on the world. Think of us as your support system as you endeavor to write your books or other creative works. When you need guidance on the next steps of your quest, consider us your Obi-Wan Kenobi. When you need logical advice or help with research, let us be your Hermione Granger. And when you need encouragement and someone believe in you, we’ll be your Samwise Gamgee.

Starting out on a new adventure, be it launching a website or writing a new book, can at times be a daunting thing. But if we, the creators of IndiePen, have learned anything, it is that sometimes the biggest leaps of faith lead to the most rewarding and magical journeys of all.

Ready for whatever comes,

The IndiePen Ink Team
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