No Really, Power Through: Kieran Scott talks NaNoWriMo

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NaNoWriMo is all about powering through. You know the drill: Getting out that first draft in one month means writing two-thousand words a day. And at the end you’ll have a first draft and it doesn’t matter how crappy that first draft is—at least you’ll have a starting point. Sounds great. Except it’s so freaking hard sometimes. I know. Believe me, I know. And I’m here to tell you, you are not alone.

I have written over one hundred books in my day. Some longer than others (I think I topped out around 80,000 words and bottomed out around 1500), and some easier than others. The one thing I’ve always had to do is write fast. In order to make a living as a writer and live in one of the most expensive counties in the country and having never signed a seven-figure deal, I sometimes had to write twelve books a year. I’d balance out novels with quiz books and quickie biographies of the star-of-the-day, but I was always writing. And there are some days when you just . . . can’t . . . write. Your head feels heavy. Your fingers freeze over the keyboard. Your joints creak when you try to type. Oh look! There’s a new Buzzfeed list about Gilmore Girls. A load of laundry staring you in the face. And just so many Oreos that need eating. I’ve been there. I’ve felt it. And I’m here to tell you:

WRITE ANYWAY.

It doesn’t matter what you write. If you start writing, you will keep going. You can write the worst sentence of all time. Don’t delete it. (The blank page is your enemy.) Keep going. Write the second worst sentence of all time and the third. Write a few truly horrific, cringe-worthy paragraphs. Paragraphs you’d be embarrassed to show your grandmother. That’s fine. That’s the warm up. That’s getting your brain going and your fingers moving and your creative juices flowing. Just like when you really don’t want to work out, but you make yourself do it and after that five minutes of active stretching and bouncing around a little you think, hey, this actually fells kinda good, the writing will start to feel good as well.

And you’ll keep going. And after three or maybe four crap paragraphs, there it will be—the miracle sentence. The aha moment! The words that make you realize your brain just switched into high gear. And that will be enough motivation to keep you writing. And writing. And writing some more.

pretty-fierce-kieran-scottI do a lot of events—career days, panels, lectures, webinars—and inevitably during the Q&A period, someone asks, “What do you do about writer’s block?”

Answer? “I write right through it.”

It works for me every time, and I know it’ll work for you, too.

Can’t wait to read your book!

PS: I really didn’t feel like writing when I started this, and look! Just about 500 words. Not bad!

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About Author

Kieran Scott

KIERAN SCOTT is the author of several acclaimed young adult novels, including the Non-Blonde Cheerleader trilogy, the He’s So/She’s So trilogy, and Geek Magnet. She also wrote the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Private and Privilege series under the pen name Kate Brian. She is a senior editor at Disney/Hyperion and resides in New Jersey with her family. Visit kieranscott.net.

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