October 31, 2017
Note From Rochelle
National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow, and I’m equally excited and terrified. I’m excited to dig into my writing with the added encouragement of my NaNoWriMo tribe! And I’m also a bit terrified, because I have so many other things to get done this month. For that reason, I developed today’s tip to help you renew your energy and write more!
If you hope to complete #NaNoWriMo or finish another writing project before the end of the year and need accountability to commit to your daily writing goals, tools to help you overcome obstacles and encouragement from others, consider joining my fall group coaching program.
And if you have any questions, send me a quick email and I will do my best to answer it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Discover Your Favorite Power-Ups
by Rochelle Melander
When we play a video game, power ups add a benefit or abilities to us. When Pac-Man eats a power pellet, a large flashing dot near each corner of the game board, his enemies turn deep blue, and he is able to eat them. But this lasts for only a short period of time. When they start flashing, the player knows that Pac-Man’s special power is fading, and the ghosts will soon become dangerous again.
According to Jane McGonigal, author of the book, SuperBetter, power-ups are “good things that reliably make you feel happier, healthier, or stronger” (p. 160). She notes that power-ups can boost our resilience in many areas of our life: social, physical, emotional, and mental. For many of us, power ups like exercise, healthy food, and connecting with others support us in getting through the day. For writers, power-ups boost energy, help us blast through writer’s block or simple exhaustion and work through the challenging parts. Power-ups can mean the difference between quitting and succeeding.
In writing lore, power-ups have been portrayed as unhealthy and even illegal habits. T.S. Eliot took Benzedrine (an amphetamine) every morning and Seconal or another sleep aid every night to go to sleep. While writing The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene took on a second project—a thriller called The Confidential Agent. In order to finish both books quickly, he took a Benzadrine tablet at morning and noon. Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick used hallucinogenics and speed-like drugs to pump out fiction fast.
Other writers confess to habits that are fully legal and equally addicting. We use coffee and tea to get going in the morning. When our energy lags, we boost it with more caffeine, chocolate, and sugar-laden substances (donuts!). The extroverts among us—I know you’re out there—take to the Internet like corporate staff visit the water cooler, hoping for encouragement, camaraderie or concrete information.
And those on the wannabe list—people who want to be writers but are still working out how to do it—often wait for the elusive inspiration power-up to hit before starting writing.
After writing professionally for more than 20 years (yikes), I recognize that certain types of power-ups have helped me write more than 15 books and many articles. And although I love coffee and chocolate and pie, none of these substances have helped me write more. What has helped me write? Simple tools like exercise, journaling, and accountability have given me energy boosts that keep me focused and productive.
In today’s quest, you will examine your own life to discover your most helpful power-ups.
Power-ups can help us feel energized, attentive, witty, powerful, calm, happy, healthy, and strong. Consider what helps you access these emotions or states of being.
List writing tools
Make lists of any experiences, exercises, activities, places, songs, quotes, mantras, advice, photos, movies, habits, or people that boost your energy and support you in writing.
List energy-restoring tools
Once you have a list, take a look at the practices you use to restore energy in other parts of your life. What do you do at work when you’re feeling burned out or restless but you have a project due that day? How do you recoup your energy when you come home from a long day at work and need to cook dinner? How do you gather energy when you’re tired and need to care for children or pets? Add these power-ups to the list.
Game Play Tips
+Connect with a friend or writing colleague and ask what helps them to write when they feel stuck or confused. Swap tips.
+Post a list of your power-ups where you can see them throughout the day. Next time you feel stuck, try a power-up.
+Commit to using at least one power-up a day.
Now that you have your super duper list of power-up tools, you have the power to write whenever you need to, overcome blocks, and power through problems. Whenever you feel stuck or uninspired, ask: would a power-up help? Then check your list and use one!
A Special Offer
If you need help strategizing how you can succeed at NaNoWriMo, schedule a one-on-one introductory call. And don’t forget, I have a writing group starting just in time for National Novel Writing Month!
Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at https://www.writenowcoach.com.