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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Get Ready for NaNoWriMo: Make October NaShoUpoWriMo!

In response to a previous post, Nasreen Fynewever wrote:

“I am leaving a comment to hold myself accountable to print the guides your book Around the Writer’s Block encourages us to use. I am also gently reminding the multitude of writers, like me, who are reading your words, nod our heads, and then fail to put things into practice. Let’s start October fresh with ‘showing up’ for a month and using this creative play to re-energize our busy selves to become better writers!”

Responding to Nasreen’s challenge, Michael Kelberer added, “Then, by November, we’ll be ready for NaNoWriMo!

These two comments prompted me to think “What the heck! Let’s call October NaShoUpoWriMo (pronounced nasho-upo-wrimo), for National Show Up for Your Writing Month. (I want to make it clear that Nasreen and Michael share in the praise or blame for inventing “NaShoUpoWriMo” if the phrase catches on.)

I admit it’s silly. I doubt NaShoUpoWriMo will catch on the way NaNoWriMo has. But who knows. Nothing would delight me more than NaShoUpoWriMo becoming a slogan that motivates writers to simply show up.

NaShoUpoWriMo is NOT NaNoWriMo

Unlike NaNoWriMo, NaShoUpoWriMo doesn’t focus on word counts. You don’t have to strain your brain trying to make a daily word count. Just show up.

You can show up for Process, which is what Nasreen is committing to. Or you can show up for Product Time. (What other people call writing time, I call Product Time because there is so much more to completing a writing project that just drafting and editing.) You can show up for Self-care or for anything else that supports you as a writer.

You don’t have to show up for long — just 10 to 15 minutes a day, 3 to 5 days a week is great. (Commit to less, if that feels too big.)

You don’t have to “accomplish” anything when you show up. You don’t have to be perfect or even good. Just be there and don’t wander off to do something else, don’t distract yourself with emails or Twitter or cleaning your junk drawer. Show up and be present to yourself, your creativity, your writing process.

Unlike NaNoWriMo, we don’t wait until the end of month to make a desperate, last-ditch effort to reach the big goal. Instead, I suggest you check in every week. This means that every week, you get to celebrate showing up, learn from any differences between what you said you’d do and what you actually did, and make a brand new commitment for when and how you’ll show up in the coming week. Every week, you start over.

You can check in by leaving a comment here or on the Around The Writer’s Block Facebook page. Or check in with another writer in person, on the phone or via email. Keep it simple: this is when and how I said I’d show up, this is when and how I did show up.

Having another person witness your commitment, tracking your progress and checking in are all valuable. But the essential thing for NaShoUpoWriMo (or in any other month of the year) is to show up.

How will you show up this week?

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6 Comments on “Get Ready for NaNoWriMo: Make October NaShoUpoWriMo!”

  1. Joel D Canfield October 4, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Since I have to have the current book written before I’m allowed to do NaNoWriMo, I need to show up a lot this month.

    I hadn’t read the “Unrecognized Resistance” post. Now I have to start tracking my “zero minutes” days. THAT will be a fire starter.


  2. Michael Kelberer October 4, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    I’m kind of doing a combo: showing up 4 times a week, but with a purpose, to prepare (outline, character studies, etc) enough so that when November 1 rolls around, all I have to do is write….and I fully admit that one of my Resistances is the need to endlessly prepare…


    • rosannebane October 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      I’m witnessing your commitment Michael. Just want to clarify is that 4 times a week for 15 minutes (or a different number of minutes)? Preparation is an essential part of the process — what’s the red flag that tells you that you’ve moved from appropriate prep work to using prep as a form of resistance?


  3. nasreenfynewever October 3, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Reblogged this on "CALLED to CRAZINESS" Nasreen Fynewever and commented:
    October is NaShoUpoWriMo!


    • rosannebane October 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      Thanks Nasreen for considering this post worthy of re-posting. The re-post will also help establish you, Michael Kelberer and I as co-creators of the next big trend: NaShoUpoWriMo! 😉


  4. nasreenfynewever October 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Reblogged this on "CALLED to CRAZINESS" Nasreen Fynewever.


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