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Day 26: Inspiration

One week from today, the floodgates will open. You’ll be one of nearly 300,000 people setting out to accomplish the heady feat of writing a novel in 30 days. Are you excited? Nervous? A little of both. I am. And despite all my preaching in these blog posts, I don’t feel ready. I haven’t been following my own advice about readying my plot. Not yet anyway.

Now is the time to ramp up your excitement and to take some steps to fill your well so that you will find inspiration at hand when you need it in November. Here are some fun ideas to get you thinking…

Create a cover for your book

There are amazing free tools out there to help you do it. You can download free stock photos at Pixabay or Unsplash. Then you can doctor the photos, add graphics, and text at sites like Picmonkey and Canva.

You can post your cover on your Nano dashboard. Also, print it out and put it where you can see it while writing. There’s something about being able to visualize your work as a finished project that will push you forward. Here’s one of the covers that I made for my book, complete with pen name! It’s still a work-in-progress—I think it reads too ‘political thriller’ whereas my story mashes up elements of that plus fantasy… but I digress. This just illustrates what you can do:

grey cross CAPS

If you’re not up to making your own cover, you can request one as part of Nano’s 30 Covers in 30 Days project.

Cast your characters

Find images of models or actors who might portray your characters. A great resource for this is fellow writers who have created character inspiration boards on Pinterest.

You can check out my character boards here:

Female Characters

Male Characters

Kristen Kieffer is the boss lady of character boards. Check out her stuff here.

You can also use Pinterest to find pictures of your setting. Create a vision board for your novel.

Organize your music

Get your playlists together to suit the mood and pace of your story. Here are two hours of instrumental music that should get through 2,000 words.

Absorb some wisdom

Soak in the nourishing words of those who write about writing, including:

Christina Baldwin

Julia Cameron

Natalie Goldberg

Here are some samples:

“I was told… to post a little sign by my desk that said something like, “OK, Universe. You take care of the quality. I’ll take care of the quantity.” – Julia Cameron, The Right to Write

“Our creativity is none of our business… it is a natural function of our soul… We are intended to breathe and to live. We are intended to listen and create…. What we do need is the intention to allow creativity to create through us. When we open ourselves to something or someone greater than ourselves working through us, we paradoxically open ourselves to our own greatest selves.” – Julia Cameron, The Right to Write

“Story—the abundance of it, and the lack of it—connects us with the world and outlines our relationship with everything. When the power of story comes into the room, an alchemical reaction occurs that is unique to our kind: love or hate, identification or isolation, war or peace, good or evil can be stirred in us by words alone. The power of story is understood by the powerful, yet the power of story belongs to all of us, especially the least powerful. History is what scholars and conquerors say happened; story is what it was like to live on the ground.” – Christina Baldwin, Storycatcher 

“The only failure in writing is when you stop doing it.” Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind


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Looking for more support? I coach writers on the Nano process and I’m currently offering a free planning session to help you get started. You can sign up here.

Table of contents for other articles in the series.

Be sure to also check out the 5 Epic Clues to NaNoWriMo Success webinar.


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