NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from Chuck Wendig

I thought this post from Chuck Wendig was too good not to share:

Imagine being allowed to do something you’re not supposed to do.

Imagine you’re given the keys to a mud-bogging Bronco, or a dune buggy, or a Lamborghini. And then, you’re pointed toward a field. A soccer field outside a high school, or maybe just a wide open grassland. Nobody there. No kids playing. No animals frolicking. In fact, right now, nobody is here to see you at all.

You have total freedom to rev the engine, slam the pedal to the floor, and gun it through that field. You can do donuts, spinning the car wildly about, flinging up mud, leaving tracks that look like the calligraphy of an old, mad god.

You can slop mud on the car. You can get out and dance in the grass.

You can do whatever you want.

This is not something we’re particularly used to, as adults. My toddler gets it. He isn’t fenced in by the boundaries of adulthood—which, okay, yes, that means he doesn’t necessarily know not to shove a ham sandwich into a whirring fan (instant ham salad!) or not to climb the tallest thing and leap off it like a puma.

But it also means he doesn’t know why he can’t just pick up a pen and start drawing. It means he has no problem grabbing a blob of Play-Doh and creating whatever his fumbling little hands can manage. It means that he’ll grab a Transformers toy and half-transform it into some lumbering robot-car monstrosity—and when an adult might say, “No, no, it’s like this or it’s like that; it’s a robot or it’s a car,” he’s like, “Uh, yeah, no. Go back to your tax forms and your HGTV, stupid adult, I’ve just created a Frankencarbot and you can go hide your head in the sand-swept banality of grown-up life, sucker.”

His entire creative life is the “Everything Is Awesome” song from The LEGO Movie. Because he doesn’t know what he can or can’t do. He doesn’t know about art or form or criticism or any of that. He can do whatever he wants. (Ham sandwiches and fan blades aside.)

And you can do whatever you want, too.

The blank page is yours. Cast aside worries over art and criticism. Imagine a land without rules. Imagine that nobody has ever told you that you cannot or should not do this thing. Those people were wrong. Forget those voices. Because, for real?

It’s an empty field and you’ve got the keys to a freaking Ferrari.

It’s a white tablecloth and you’ve got ketchup, mustard, and relish.

It’s a blank page and you’ve got all the letters and words you need.

Rev the engine and take the ride. Paint with all the colors the condiments at your table allow. Create whatever robot-human monstrosities your mind cares to conjure. Crack open your chest and plop your heart onto the page.

Right now: just write. Donuts in an empty field.

Leave your mark.

How inspiring! My inner child shall be unleashed

Di 🙂

Music as a writer’s aid

I can’t speak for every writer but I know that for me, having music on while I write helps me.  I love music and like to listen to it at any available opportunity.  When I am writing, I like to listen to something unobtrusive.  These are the albums I have been listening to lately – some old, some more recent:

 

John Lennon “Imagine”

Whether or not you like John Lennon or The Beatles, you can’t deny that they were THE most influential musicians ever.  Apart from the famous title track, this album contains 9 other musical gems.  At the moment, my favourite track from the album is Gimme Some Truth.

 

Bob Marley “Legend”

Although this is a greatest hits album, I had to include it because Bob Marley is – as the title suggests – a legend.  There is not one weak song on this greatest hits compilation.  With the famous line, “Don’t worry about a thing because every little thing is gonna be alright” Three Little Birds is the ultimate feel-good, mood-boosting song – perfect for writing to.

 

Jake Bugg “Jake Bugg”

Jake Bugg is capable of poetic lyrics – very impressive for a debut album.  Although there are more mellow songs on this album, Lightning Bolt and Trouble Town are my favourites from this album.  Check it out.

 

Half Moon Run “Dark Eyes”

A relatively new band, I don’t know much about them but I stumbled upon this album on YouTube and I like it.  The song “Nerve” stands out for me.

 

George Harrison “All Things Must Pass”

This album rings of peace.  The guitar sounds dreamy, the lyrics can be spiritual at times – George just seems so chilled out and that makes this album a pleasure to listen to.  I’d recommend “Isn’t It A Pity (Version 1)” although really you should just listen to the whole thing 🙂

 

Jeff Buckley “Grace”

This is one of my favourite albums EVER.  Jeff’s voice was like an angel’s – or should I say is, because although he is long gone, his voice will live on.  It’s very difficult to pick a favourite song from this album but if I’m absolutely forced to, I will say “Grace”.  I cannot accurately put into words how good this man’s voice is.  You have to hear for yourself, if you have never heard it before.  I first heard this album around 14 years ago – 6 years after it was released – but it still sounds fresh to me.  I am still in awe of it.

 

The Beatles “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Quite possibly my favourite Beatles album.  Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds is my favourite song ever, not just on this album.  I love it’s psychedelic images.  If I was to pick another from Sgt Pepper’s, it would be She’s Leaving Home.   Again this is a song that conjures up powerful images through its lyrics.  If you have never heard this album, where have you been?

 

Ben Howard “Every Kingdom”

One of the best albums of the 21st century – there is not a bad track on there.  My favourite song from this album changes all the time because the songs are so good.  At the moment, I would recommend Old Pine.

 

R.E.M “Automatic For The People”

When R.E.M were active, they kind of passed me by.  I didn’t pay much attention to their music at all.  I was vaguely aware of some of their songs but I was not particularly excited by them.  Recently I bought their album Monster for £1 from Poundland and I loved it.  I looked up Automatic For The People on YouTube and realised that I knew most of the songs on it but I also realised that I appreciate them a lot more now.  In Drive, I love how the sound of the strings intertwines with the acoustic guitar and also the electric guitar riff in the chorus.

 

Radiohead “OK Computer”

One of my favourite albums of all time.  I have been a life-long Radiohead fan.  I find it impressive how every album sounds different.  Radiohead are not afraid to try something new.  After The Bends (another excellent album) they certainly did push the boundaries with OK Computer.  Lead single Paranoid Android surprised critics by reaching number 3 in the UK singles chart – their highest chart position.  It is possibly my favourite song from the album, purely because of Thom Yorke’s vocal in the end section.  It is so full of emotion, so powerful.

 

I would like to hear your opinions on music as an aid to writing.  Does it help you or hinder you?  Who do you like to listen to?  Please leave a comment below.

 

Diane.