Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On Being Mentored: Fried Brains

I confess, I am not a NaNoWriMo participant this year. My confidence is not there--yet. I suppose I could blame my job, my house on the market and up-coming move, family, and a host of other excuses. The truth is, if I truly wanted to crank out a 50,000 word novel in 30 days I could--if I were ready. But I'm not.

Still, the idea of a magnanimous goal one month in the year is a fantastic idea. I thought--I can do that! So I joined a loop that let me set up my challenge. You can too!

So off we go-set our goal-writing every word which pops in our head to finish our book

Until a fried brain day arrives.

The first few days usually sail along. Then IT happens.

The words hit a snag, the brain is fried, unable to conjure even one more word. Hijacked, like a kite whisked into the one and only tree in a field by some random breeze.

What to do? The pressure to meet today's goal rises. Remnants of yesterday's missing goal had been shoved onto today. Can't do it again, but my brain is fried.

Who can save the day?

Here is an idea:  Loop Mentors.

Yes, goals can be met with--drum roll please------super loop mentor heroes!

I love the word loop-so different from the word clique. Think about it: A loop invites--a clique rejects.

Tracie Peterson mentioned the benefits she enjoyed from loops in our October Montana ACFW meeting. She asked other loop members for odd details, reactions to situations, and etc. The purpose: fresh ideas and perspective.

I belong to several loops, all of which provide encouragement in many ways. Well, they aren't all officially called "loops" but they all act like one.

A loop provides opportunity to report and cheer members for editing, completing a WIP, plotting, successfully completing any word count goal for the month in addition to help with  brainstorming, provide needed information, and so much more anti fried brain helps!

How many members are required to have a loop? The minimum: one more than is needed to put in a light bulb. Max: whatever the group feels they can handle. Gotta love the open, warmth in a loop--almost open house in nature. Come and go as you need and can give.

Loops members provide much more than encouragement and accountability. They provide ideas, answers, unique perspective, expertise, jump starts, grammar tips, and etc.

For example: One loop member hit a snag with a dance scene. After explaining a bit of her setting she asked for conflict ideas for the couple. Several chimed in their ideas. The determined author whittled and directed the dialogue until the perfect answer came. "Eureka!"

On another loop, a writer told the members her MC broke her leg! She needed to know the hospital process, recovery, and healing time--and she needed to know it quick. No time to do all the research. The answer appeared in a short time.

My family members have served as a loop in a way. I interrupt them at all times of the day to ask "what if" questions and siphon their expertise in a given subject. Sometimes I hear pret-ty interesting ideas!

The fun of looping is not taking-but giving. When I read about someone's word snag my brain hops into proactive solve mode. This exercise often solves my own word snag and jolts my fried brain. Another benefit is writing encouraging comments and reading other loopers ideas.
When we bless others, we will be blessed, too.

Don't be a hermit
Fried brains taste nasty.

How have you benefitted from loops?
Do you have any loops to recommend?

P.S. When you take a break from productive writing and notice a million loop emails don't leave the loop! PRESS the delete key! Highlight the whole group and delete them. You have permission.  Then when your brain is fried and you need help from the loop, or you have extra time to help others, click on the emails and enjoy the blessings.

This blog post by Mary Vee
Mary lives in Montana with her husband and loves to hear from her three college kids. She writes Christian young adult fiction, especially pirate tales, missionary and Bible adventure stories. 
Her tag: Stepping into Someone Else's World
To learn more about Mary, visit her blog


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Looping!!! I love that word. I belong to several loops, but I confess that these days I've gone to digest mode and oftentimes skip them altogether. I miss out on alot that way! Even if you don't participate in them, you can glean so much wisdom from them.

Pepper said...

Great post, Mary. I haven't done much looping during my 'unofficial' NaNo - except a few comments here and there with the Alley Cats.
My family (parents) and friends provide good sounding boards, but I LOVE the idea of having people readily there to help jumpstart your creativity. Excellent advice.

Mary Vee Writer said...

The Alley Cats have been one of my favorite loops:)
You and I are NaNo shadows:)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Love it, Mary! I hate friend brains. Looping is hard because, as you pointed out, it can get overwhelming with all those e-mails. But that's a great way to get through NaNo. I love the idea of others helping kick in conflict options - what a great way to get something new and fresh in your story!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thats the beauty of loops, sometimes you can walk in, sit a spell, and soak in the goodness. So glad you're enjoying them as you find time..

Mary Vee Writer said...

Just had a great idea spun from your comment. Looping could be the coffee break. Grab your favorite hot drink, set the timer (only fifteen minutes), find a comfy chair or sofa and spend a relaxing time learning and helping others.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Did you just give me permission to press the delete key, Mary? Sweet! :)

Joanne Sher said...

You just described my brain. Right now. THANK YOU for this post.

Keli Gwyn said...

I'm a member of several loops and have met many wonderful people through them. The support and encouragement I receive from my fellow loopies is a real blessing.

Angie Dicken said...

This is such a great post, Mary! The Alley cats are proof for me that loops are sooo important. You all have given me so much hope when I was ready to throw in the towel. I love the MBT loop even though I am not on it much, and ACFW has several helpful ones. What a great community we are part of! Love you. Angie

Mary Vee Writer said...

Oh Yeah, baby...feel free to hit that delete key--but not to leave the loop, just the emails for a time.
Have fun:) (I do)

Mary Vee Writer said...

You are so welcome. Always love having you join us.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Yes, Keli-- and you are on of the blessings. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

No wonder we're friends, I belong to those loops too. Its the MBT personal goal loop that I'm participating in this month.
Oh, wait--you are too! I saw you name there.