Peggy Bechko on National Novel Writing Month


by Peggy Bechko

Holy crap it is Nov. and it’s that month NANOWRIMO – which affects just about everything writing whether we want to talk about that or not. Novelists to be, yes, all other writers, yes. It’s a bug that bites – a time of year that get the writer in everyone so inclined all antsy to DO something, stare at deadlines in horror and just plain fling themselves into the air with vibrating intensity – and yes that includes me.

I write novels. I write scripts. I even jumped into writing a comic book series. Am I crazy? You betcha! (pardon my use of that word, I couldn’t help myself, it’s that vibrating to distraction thing). But here’s the thing. How do I know the above? Well, as a general rule blog posts on writing get many more hits in October and November and sales of books about writing, all kinds of writing, pretty much do a spike. Come on , you can admit it, you bought a book on screenwriting, or novel writing or copywriting or did some online searches recently on writing. Yep, it’s that magical time of the year.

I hear you. You can’t help it. It’s something in the air. Maybe it’s because the year is about to end and you haven’t met your writing goals, maybe you’ve got big, scary deadlines (you should be so lucky), maybe it’s that whole Nanowrimo thing – you know National novel writing month. (And despite the ‘novel’ thing, yes, this includes you other types of writers – it’s contagious.)

Ahem, so where was I? Oh yes, this is (expletive deleted) nuts because it’s also a time when some folks ask me how to write (really?) and then get mad at me if I give any advice that doesn’t already fit with the concept he or she had of writing, how to do it and all that.

So here’s my advice in its most basic form.

  • Write a lot.
  • Read a lot.
  • Write as fast as you can.
  • Finish what you start writing (Damn! Do you think it’ll magically finish itself?)
  • If there’s a deadline involved don’t assume you can go past it.
  • Try really, really hard not to write crap.
  • If you do write crap, rewrite it. (You’re probably going to rewrite anyway so I’m
    guessing you’re safe on that one. )

There, happy? I’m guessing not, but there’s not much I can do about that. Heck, there’s nothing I can do about that. Yes, yes I know, I’m lucky, I write full time, I actually create stuff, publish stuff, sell stuff. I’m not kidding, I KNOW I’m lucky, but how do you think I got here? By following my own advice above. And by being flexible enough to accept help, to offer help to others, to power past the years when I made very little and held down full time jobs as well, worked at it for enough years that I don’t want to talk about that, endured rejection after rejection after (*&(@&$/!!) rejection. Oh, and I still get rejections, so don’t think that magically goes away.

And yet, aside from the very basic advice above, most of any other advice I might offer on writing would be nothing but pure bullshit. Writing is hard. Publishing and/or catching a producer’s eye is even harder. Really. Truth. A writer can talk all day and all night about methods, inspirations and how it’s done, but really it’s just opinion and personal experience. There’s no real right way to write. It’s in you and you’ll find it…or you won’t. You can learn something like formatting or some ‘requirement’ from producer or editor, but other than that what works for me may not work for you at all. Oh, (and this question was asked of me recently) and no one can tell you when you’re ‘near’ publication or ‘near’ getting a script actually produced.

So when you hear these hard and fast ‘rules’ you should probably run.

  • Only write in the morning.
  • Be more literary.
  • Write for a genre.
  • Don’t ever start your story with the weather.
  • … or any other hard and fast ‘rule’.

There are none. Don’t ask me. Don’t ask anyone. I’ll share thoughts and opinions. Who won’t? It doesn’t mean I’m right and it doesn’t mean I’m wrong. What I say is right for me. It might actually be right for you. But it’s up to you to figure that out.

And now I’ll just go step outside and yell at the mountains in preparation for the next really strange question to come my way. Oh, and if you want to be nice to me, be sure to check out the comic series I’m co-creating, Planet Of The Eggs (No. 2 at It’s one of the most fun things I’ve ever done and the craziest because it eats up time like a sinkhole swallows a house, but it’s so darn much fun I’m addicted.

Hope you’re having a great November!

Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. And don’t forget Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle.  Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page