As we venture into November, we also head into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). All over the country, participating writers aim to complete a novel (a 50,000-word draft) by the end of the month. It is intentionally (and perhaps ridiculously) overambitious, but for those who crave a jumpstart for writing, it may be just what is needed.

As we venture into November, we also head into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). All over the country, participating writers aim to complete a novel (a 50,000-word draft) by the end of the month. It is intentionally (and perhaps ridiculously) overambitious, but for those who crave a jumpstart for writing, it may be just what is needed.

With that in mind, I asked three local authors for advice on how to keep writing even when the inevitable blocks and slumps occur.

“Whenever I feel creatively slow-moving, I think about sledding. This reminds me that MOMENTUM is much more important than quality. (Quality is a myth: everything gets tightened during editing.) When done correctly, writing a novel should feel exhilarating. If it doesn’t, or if you run out of MOMENTUM, just trudge back to where you started, compose thyself, and start zoomzoomzooming again.”

—Scott Navicky

“Writing can be like exercising. I don’t always feel like doing it, but I know once I start, I’ll get into it, and I’ll feel better in the end. When I’m having trouble motivating myself to write, I do silly things like give myself an incentive to complete so many words or pages. I also may share my goal with a loved one who holds me accountable for reaching it.”

—Yolonda Sanders

“If you're not feeling inspired to write, then don't write. Cut out the distractions and get your body moving. Walk the dog through the woods, wash your neighbor's car, mow the lawn, make a big pot of soup and stick half in the freezer, give the other half away. Enjoy the quiet, keep your hands and feet moving, help others if possible — inspiration will follow.

—Brad Pauquette

To learn more about NaNoWriMo, visit the official site: nanowrimo.org.