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Tips from the Pros: Shelly Mazzanoble on How to Be Inspired

WritersdontcryInspiration. It strikes some people like lightning. Others wrestle their muse every night. And still other cajole and bribe their muse with Bridezillas, burritos, and time on twitter. But no matter how you find your inspiration, one thing’s for sure—when you have a deadline, you don’t have the luxury of waiting.Jumpstart

To celebrate the writing sensation of NaNoWriMo, this Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, some of my favorite professional authors have offered to share the techniques they’ve mastered for writing even when the muse is bad.

* * *

How to Be Inspired
(Or, how not to forget to write a monthly column every month)
by Shelly Mazzanoble 

1. Dungeons & Dragons editor emails asking where your monthly Dragon column is.

2. Type array of pithy, juvenile responses like, “It’s up your butt” or “Ask your Mom” but respond with “Just proofing it now!”

3. Spend next 37 minutes looking at calendar marveling at how it’s been a month already. Didn’t you just finish writing last month’s?

4. No idea what to write about this month so you scan DVR in search of inspiration. Tim Gunn mentoring young mages tasked with creating robes appropriate for day and evening adventuring? Special guest judge: Elminster.

5. Realize DVR is 98% full, which you equate with a cluttered mind. Watch four episodes of House Hunters in effort to unclog the creative juices.

6. Uh oh. Cat on lap. Think about moving her so you can get back to writing but she’s so cute when her fangs don’t show. Give her two more episodes of House Hunters.

7. Cat’s sudden awakening results in a three-inch gash across thigh. Search linen closet for gauze and realize you never learned how to fold a fitted sheet. Google directions then refold everything and organize according to thread count.

8. Might as well do some laundry while you’re up.

9. Scan favorite blogs for inspiration. A narcoleptic penguin! A raccoon scaring a baby! A fondue recipe! All good but can’t figure out a tie to D&D.

10. Check social networks in order to avoid temptation when writing commences. Friend just checked into Gorditos (75 feet from your house!) Send message on Facebook.

11. Polish off giant vegan burrito and two drinks because it’s important to maintain work-life balance.

12. Return home to start working. For real. Still no topic.  Maybe you should watch the news for inspirat—wait, is that a Bridezillas marathon? It’s probably okay to have that on in the background.

13. Two and a half hours later it’s really time to sit down and write. Especially now that you’re inspired. Brides as D&D monsters! Yes! Editor will love it.

14. Relief. Column is done! Promise to never wait this long to work on it again. Promptly forget you ever said that.

15. Repeat.

Shelly Mazzanoble (read her books) is the award-winning author of Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress and Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons, as well as a monthly column in Dragon magazine called Confessions of a Full-Time Wizard.


Happy Writing!

Read more Writers Don't Cry
Follow me on Twitter @susanjmorris



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