NaNoWriMo Inspiration

This is my favorite painting. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich. How can this inspire you with your writing? Well… when writing, and especially when writing in such special conditions, such as the ones demanded by NaNoWriMo, it must feel at times that you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re lost… you don’t know if there’s a destination to be reached anymore.

The thing is that… being lost isn’t so bad. After all, no matter how many maps and compasses we own, how many plans we make, in the end, we’re still facing a big, misty unknown. We never know what’s going to happen. So my advice is simply this: if you don’t know where your story is headed, don’t worry. Keep on writing, you never know what you might find.


55 comments on “NaNoWriMo Inspiration

  1. seakist says:

    Perfect advice as I finish Chapter 5 of my book! Thank you!

  2. Nice – I love that picture too. I agree with you. There's always a moment when a book, picture, project, whatever you're working on, looks like a complete disaster. Too many people give up at that stage. Sometimes, you've just got to finish the book and then worry about the difficult bits afterwards.

  3. Thanks, Cristian! I needed that right now.

  4. Morgan Phoenix says:

    Great advice! I've been embracing this lesson all week, learning the tricks that will allow me to let go of the story and just let it do as it pleases in its first stages. I guess that's the irony of writing; to gain control of a story, you have to first let it go.

  5. Great painting! Thanks for the inspiration ;) We're still plugging away on the Modern Manuscript.

  6. Thanx, I needed to hear that as i haven't written in 2 days and am 8,000 words behind… but you're right I do not know what I might find… at least I have a long weekend here to hide away and write, write, write… :)

  7. I have just begyn to write again after raisinf 9 children on a hobby farm. At first i was frozen but the icy walls around my spirit have slowly melted as I write, write, write iposts on my blog. Now i sense springtime in my writer's soul. You have helped me more than you will ever know

  8. Purnimodo says:

    My absolute favorite! Love this painting!

  9. kiwiskan says:

    I'm not writing a novel at the moment – but I sure can relate to that painting..

  10. That's how it was with my succubus short story; I didn't know where I was going, but I still went on. And it wasn't half-bad.

  11. HFBrainerd says:

    Well put. This is exactly our philosophy at driving blind productions.

  12. rohan7things says:

    Inspiring post, thanks for sharing :) That it, just keep on writing!

  13. Phew, I needed this. Thanks!

  14. yiyime says:

    I truly love this post , as it is in itself simple but very inspiring and writen extremely well. Next time I write I am going to think of thi post . Thanks for sharing

  15. The painting is absolutely captivating, I had not seen it before. Lots to ponder!

  16. pwacontario says:

    That's what I keep telling writers I work with, and keep telling myself. Just keep writing and let the writing take you where it will.

  17. Great read…I don't know how many times I have set down to write something and found something better in the fog of my untapped consciousness. Love the painting as well…a picture is worth a thousand words and more in this case.

  18. Irene says:

    i am in that shoes all the time :)

  19. onestreetshy says:

    I've painted this inside of a painting. It is one of my favorites as well. Thank you for taking me there yet again.

  20. amarediscere says:

    Certainly Inspired the writers of sherlock in series 2 haha

  21. I keep trying to find a quicker easier process for making work but the fact remains that my good work is more a product of a wrestling match than a production line.

  22. cecilia says:

    I am 30 thousand words into my nano story and i am thrilled to discover that others do not know where the hell things are going either.. such fun though.. no rules! i love it. c

  23. wavensongz says:

    I have been down this road & looked over those stormy waters as well. ;-)

  24. Friedrich Nietzsche is my inspiration.:)

  25. Rose Chimera says:

    I stared at the pic for a few minutes…just stared. I love it. It does fit too, "keep writing you never know what you might find.." Great post! Thank you!

  26. Reblogged this on Retention and commented:
    This is a fantastic painting. It's often near exactly how I picture myself.

  27. Melzzartt says:

    Thanks for the encouragement! I'm doing well with Nanowrimo, this year. I'm exactly at this point! I feel like this thing is bigger than me! Though, I feel much better since I've read this. :)

  28. kdefg says:

    "You’re lost… you don’t know if there’s a destination to be reached anymore." Even worse, for me this week, was seeing those rocky outcroppings and knowing there was a destination I wanted to reach, but the fog prevented me from seeing any one of the many ways to go there. I finally decided to simply enjoy the foggy path and stopped trying to reach any specific rocks. For this month, wandering is really the better way.

  29. texydeb says:

    I like the painting and your words are encouraging.

  30. artmoscow says:

    I like this painting for the unusual take on romantism, which was more about being one with nature most of the time. Here, it is more about Man against Nature, but fighting it not with machines and destruction, but with his soul. Nature is chaos and unpredictable, but Man will not succumb to this ) Perhaps, this is why this painting can be so encouraging to writers )

  31. maximalspace says:

    You're right! I've actually used this picture as inspiration when teaching before – a very powerful image.

  32. kelihasablog says:

    I love that painting…. I still haven't tried it yet, but hopefully I will…

  33. Peter Paul Ruben's painting "Four Heads of a Negro (Musées Royaux es Beaux Arts de Belgique Bruxelles) inspired the wonderful novel by Ken Greehall, "LENOIR".

    By the way…great blog!

  34. Berna says:

    I love this visual of the writing process. I think sometimes being stuck in one place means I should just enjoy the anticipation.

  35. Harold Green says:

    Agree. Very inspiring. Keeps all of our minds totally open and on the track towards the vast unknown.

  36. Good advice for visual artists too, just keep drawing / painting / sculpting and it'll lead somewhere….

  37. melankooli says:

    great advice :) enjoy the adventure !

  38. Yoshiko says:

    Reminds me of myself who often lose my way when I want to go a workshop and even to my friend's house. :-D

  39. Lisa at fLVE says:

    I love that painting too.

  40. When I read the part where you said 'being lost isn't so bad I took it literally and remembered when I was (kind of, almost) lost.. Literally.. :P In a way it was fun? Haha, two different 'losts' yet how you (I) deal with them are similar… ^__^a

    And about that painting, at first I thought of Sherlock, then a traveler, and that made me think of Doctor Who.. (wow, all the movie references :P ) But I think a traveler suits it best, no? :)

  41. reikiheidi says:

    Sometimes, being lost is the best way… when you continue to write, not knowing where its going, the piece begins to write itself… and some amazing/and or interesting things start to happen!

  42. Being lost is half the fun! Writing feels a whole lot more like work if I already know what's going to happen. Thanks for visiting my site!

  43. And sometimes even if you have an idea where you'd like the story to go, the turns you take on the journey takes you to some wonderful and surprising places!

  44. I read something the other day about the difference between finding and searching. Sometimes maybe it's better to search for the way rather than to find it.

  45. Dieu says:

    Caspar David Friedrich is one of my favorite artists. He is able to capture the loneliness of a landscape so well. I love finding inspiration in other forms of art. Sometimes even a song inspires a new poem for me.

  46. I appreciate this short post on several levels. First it is brief! Second – I call this state of confusion we arrive at in the creative work as "wandering through the dark tunnel". And I agree – it is an integral part of the creative process – not knowing (at least for a time) exactly where we are going to "arrive" with the work is not such a bad thing. It is a chance for discovery.

  47. I've never done NaNoWriMo – but I'm enjoying cheering you and others on in the process!

  48. kalinesblog says:

    I mentioned you in my blog today! Coincidentally I was also talking about connecting and the novel I am writing. In the picture I see the ‘wanderer’ as the author watching over the characters and seeing how they unfold. They have their own stories and we just have to listen. I find when I try to ‘write’ them, it is forced, when I listen and write what I feel, it is natural.

  49. lynnwyvill says:

    Love the painting. Great advice (but difficult to do do sometimes) to keep writing even when you feel lost.

  50. Jevon says:

    ahhh… what a great picture… and post.

  51. Colin Tucker says:

    Totally agree, Cristian. There's some reductionist thinking out there in the world of writing theory; structure it first, etc. In other words let the intellect rule your writing. And that's a recipe to kill creativity stone dead. You're right, enjoy being lost, and keep writing.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Hello, Christian! Caspar David Friedrich inspires me also very much, it was just this spring that I bought his album in Münster. I guess because there is so much of exalted and sacral behind his vision of landscapes. xeniadmi

  53. we have the right to be cautious and fear the unknown. If you are lost you are alone, no one by your side to bear your burden.

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