NaNoWriMo is only a few days away. Are you excited? Are you ready? I wasn’t until this past Saturday. I was having a really hard time thinking of an idea to work on this November. More specifically, I had 1,000 different ideas, and I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to write. Are you having that problem, too?
It’s okay if you are. You still have several days before you have to know what you’re doing. Just in case you’re still trying to find an idea, I thought I’d share some quick tips.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have tons of ideas floating around in your head, and you aren’t really sure which ones are viable. By brainstorming, you give yourself the freedom to explore all kinds of ideas and see which ones might work the best. You can do this by making a list of ideas, mind-mapping, drawing pictures, or tons of other techniques. The point is that you explore any idea that comes to mind without judging it. NaNo is all about ignoring that critic in your brain, so practice by letting yourself go wild with ideas.
Talking about your ideas can be really liberating. This is especially true, when you’re sharing your thoughts with another writer. He or she can help you work through your mental blocks to get to the idea you really love.
If you don’t want to talk about your ideas, you can also talk to a friend about important events in his or her life, powerful emotions, or even just vague concepts. Your friend doesn’t even need to know that you’re trying to decide what to write. Just having a conversation and thinking about it like a writer can help you generate new themes to explore.
3. Using Other Media
If you need help coming up with an idea to write, try letting other types of art influence you. Maybe a painting at a local museum will give you an idea. Maybe music will help you set the tone of your novel. A movie might give you a concept you can spin another direction.
Sometimes when I’m stuck, I like to create boards on Pinterest that capture the tone or feeling of the work I want to create. Other times I use it to pin images that match my vision of a character’s look or actions. There are all kinds of great inspiring images online, so use the internet to help you, just don’t get too distracted. Another cool and relatively new feature on Pinterest is the ability to create private boards, so if you aren’t ready for the world to see your idea, you can keep it private.
This list is obviously not exhaustive, but hopefully it will give you some ideas in time for NaNoWriMo. If you need other resources, feel free to reach out to other writers in the NaNoWriMo forums, or send me a message.
I’d love to learn about the ways you like to find inspiration. Share your ideas in the comments.