NaNoWriMo Week 4 : Guest Pep Talk with Ryan Elizabeth Clark,”I Put the PRO in Procrastination…”

During November, I will be posting Weekly Pep Talks written by myself or by guest Pep Talkers. This Pep Talk was written by New Hampshire author and Gibson’s Bookstore (Concord) staff, Ryan Elizabeth Clark and originally sent to the NH Region participants on 11.21.17


Ryan Elizabeth Clark (NaNo handle: momewrathsoutgrabe)

Greetings NH WriMos!  Since I’m many thousands of words in the red, and I’ve got to double up my daily wordbcount to reach 50K, I’ve enlisted NH WriMo Ryan Elizabeth Clark (NaNo handle: momrathsoutgrabe) to bring you Week Four’s Pep Talk. Those of you local to Concord will recognize Ryan from Gibson’s Bookstore. Stop by and say Thanks. – Yvette/wilabea94

Has this ever happened to you? You sit down at your computer, you open a word document, you may even have an idea in your head, but the second you put your fingers to the keyboard, your eyes glaze over and you open Facebook instead. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the world of procrastination. 

I like to say that I put the pro in procrastination. I can procrastinate astonishingly well. Tell me I have a deadline, and I suddenly have snacks to eat and shows to watch and Facebook friends to stalk. If you’re like me, you will do almost anything to avoid working on your novel, not because you don’t want to write, but because your brain simply jumps away every time you try. You find excuses not to write. I have to work. I have to make dinner. I have to decorate the house. I have a newborn. I have used each and every one of these excuses this month, and while they may sound valid, they are just my procrastination in disguise! 

I don’t know if there is a cure for procrastination, but I do have some tips that got me through college and several years of NaNoWriMo and will hopefully help me hit my goal this month.

1. Pick a writing space. Find a spot that works for you. Maybe it’s your bedroom, surrounded by cozy blankets and pillows. Maybe it’s your kitchen table with snacks all around you. Maybe it’s somewhere quiet and clean, maybe it’s somewhere chaotic! Everyone is different. Try writing in a few different spots, and pick the one that works the best. It may not be your writing space forever, but if it works for RIGHT NOW, then that’s all we need. You can pick a new writing space tomorrow if you’d like. 

2. Snacks. Are you a snacker? I’m a snacker. I find that when I’m writing, I need to know that there are snacks nearby. I use them as rewards when I write. You can’t have that cookie until you finish this paragraph. If you’re a snacker, stock up on your favorites and keep them close by. 

3. Background noise. This is a big one for me. I like to imagine myself as the type of writer who goes off into a silent room and lets my inner monologue pour out onto the page, but in reality, I need noise and lots of it. I like to layer sounds. There are several websites and youtube channels out there that offer different types of sounds and background noise. I have several that I open all at once, and the end result is soft music playing over furious typing on an old keyboard in a bustling cafe in the Slytherin Common Room. It’s a lot, and it’s kind of chaotic, but it works for me. Maybe music works for you. Find your soundtrack. In college, Rush was my study music. Sometimes classical works better. I write more quickly when I’m listening to hip-hop. I can’t write at all when I’m listening to Hamilton because I just start singing along. Maybe you’re a silence person. Get some noise canceling headphones and bask in the void whilst you type away. Whatever you need for background noise, find it and use it. 

4. Just write. Even if you’re staring at your novel and you have no idea what your characters are going to do next, and you can’t for the life of you figure out what your plot is, or even if you haven’t even started yet and you’re staring down a blank page with an evil blinking cursor, just write. Write what you’re thinking. Get some words out. Once you start, you’ll get into a groove and your novel will break out of the confusion. Give yourself small goals. Are you stressed by the idea of writing 1,667 words every day? Try breaking it down. Write ten words at a time. Write five sentences. Write a paragraph. Fill a page. You’ll get there. 

Hopefully, these tips can help you at least a little bit. If nothing else, reading this just helped you procrastinate a little bit more. Now, write! 

Ryan Elizabeth Clark / momerathsoutgrabe

Bradford, NH


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