Why I Tried Something New for NaNoWriMo 2017

Like those in every other profession, writers get into ruts. And though I wasn’t particularly in a rut this past October when I decided to try a whole new genre, I knew it was possibly a great preventative to avoid becoming rutted. So, the idea for the Eden Blum mystery series was birthed. I love reading a variety of genres, so I thought I’d try writing one of those that I thought I could never write: a mystery.

I decided to start with cozy mystery, as those are less “hardcore” than things like Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs write. I have vision for a stage play to write in the more hardcore realm, but a novel–my first mystery novel–wasn’t the place to start with hardcore work since I only had 30 days in which to write it (and no time ahead to research).

It was still intimidating to step into a new genre world, though. I kept thinking, “There’s no way I’ll pull this off.” I had always assumed I couldn’t write a mystery of any kind without years of research. Heck, I haven’t written any book before that wasn’t loaded with years of research and personal knowledge of the main topic. The “For the Love of Music” is saturated with knowledge from my own musical education, experiences, et cetera, plus the heavy research I did interviewing musicians, studying life and career histories of famous bands and musicians, and hundreds of hours analyzing music.

But this new book, the Eden Blum mystery, I just chucked it all in and did it without researching prior to writing.

It was an odd freedom filled with mild terror. “I’m not cut out for this genre!” echoed through my head a thousand times over that 30 days. “This is absolute rubbish!” chimed in my research loving self. But I pushed through the stupid voices in my head, and I did it. I wrote an entire mystery novel on my first attempt. I didn’t have to give up and abandon the idea–I didn’t give into the fear that I couldn’t do it.

The book will require hundreds of hours in editing and revising, but she’s still a book. And I’ve grown as a writer for taking that scary goal on and smashing it over the head with winning NaNoWriMo 2017.

What are some of the ways you’ve been pushed as a writer? Have you ever written something completely out of your scope before? How did it go?


5 Writing Tools for Inspiration

Today I thought I would share 5 tools that I use for inspiration when I’m feeling a little blocked.

  1. Story Cubes–these little guys have images on them, and are shaped like dice. You toss them, and take the images from them to craft a tale.
  2. Pinterest–I go searching for the term “writing prompt” and discover ideas this way.
  3. Dictionary.com–I simply open the site and look for the word of the day (which should be at the top of the home screen). I use this word to write a scene.
  4. Flickr.com–Going to the front page for Flickr will bring up new photos I haven’t seen before. These images are the prompt–either a combination of 5 or 6 images, and a solo image can be the prompt for writing a piece.
  5. On this Day–there are many apps and sites out there that will give you a recap of the world’s history, based upon today’s calendar date. I can use any of these facts from the day’s “on this day” bit to prompt and write a short story or article.

What are some of the tools you use to induce creativity?