This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Survival Tactics for NaBloPoMo from Writers in the Movies

         Once again we are joined by Nicole of The Madlab Post.   On her last visit she offered a creative look at comment styles based on characters from the Harry Potter stories.  Today Nicole provides some tips on finding inspiration for blog posts (or anything else for that matter) from movies about writing.

Survival Tactics for NaBloPoMo from Writers in the Movies

        It seems that everyone around the globe was getting their NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo or some version of them, on this month and I was no exception. I joined NaBloPoMo and was doing well blogging everyday until I missed one day 2 weeks ago. I abandoned it after that because I figured that there was no point in daily blogging in November since I already made that hiccup.

         It felt like a failure, especially since I planned to write posts in advance and schedule them to publish but didn’t follow through on those plans. However, I did manage to complete NaBloPoMo in July and recently noticed that by using writers on film as inspiration for creating blog posts, anyone can finish a NaNo-undertaking in November or any other month. Coming up with post ideas was not my problem nor the reason I missed a day. I just forgot to blog, but these NaBloPoMo survival tactics from writers in the movies can help you whether you’re planning posts in advance or writing them off the cuff.

The Sean Connery Way: Play off of Another Blogger’s Post

         In “Finding Forrester,” Jamal rewrote William’s earlier work and used it for a writting contest at his school. Find other blogs that bring credibility to or extend the topics that you are writing about on your blog and rather than rewriting their post, use it to build upon the same topic. This can help you connect with other NaBloPoMo participants and share each others reader base. You can achieve this by constructing blog posts that play off of something already written out in the blogosphere. By doing so, I do not mean for you to choose a counterargument or opposite viewpoint such as writing “The Benefits of Buying Organic” as a response to, or based on another blogger’s post that is about “The Disadvantages of Organic Fruits and Vegetables.”

         Playing off of a post on another blog also does not refer to putting a spin on it such as writing about how the new and used book war is good for competition between small businesses, after another blogger wrote a post that discusses the rate at which new book sales are declining compared to the same time last year.....although you CAN do all of these things as well if it will help you survive the struggles of writer’s block and lack of motivation that surfaces during NaBloPoMo. The “Finding Forrester” way that I am referring to is to just merely post a short excerpt of something written by another blogger as a way to prove a point that you are trying to make about a particular subject or as a way to help your readers further understand what you are trying to tell them. An example of this would be if I were to write a blog post about the difficulties of deciding whether to commit suicide or not, by listing the challenges facing why to do it and why to avoid that route.

         In the latter section, I could write about the things that life has to offer and not only reference one of my favorite quotes by Madonna where she talks about people being responsible for what happens in their lives, but I could also use this opportunity to play off of the recent Tossing It Out post titled “What Are You Doing for Christmas?” where Lee says “ Life is waiting for you to savor it before you have to leave this world. There has been good and good things are still to come. Much of that good is for you to find or create. Be thankful not just at Thanksgiving, but every day of your life.” That section of his post brings some validity to what I’m already trying to say, especially since the entire post will make you not want to kill yourself or at the very least, it will make you pause and reevaluate some things.

The Johnny Depp Way: Channel Your Inner Stalker

        In “Secret Window,” Mort and Shooter dangerously tango through dealings with psychosis, plagiarism and justice, all in the pursuit of the perfect ending to a story. There are several ways to use this movie to help you write posts during NaBloPoMo but I’ll only touch on a few here. First, you can sorta plagiarise yourself by rewriting old posts that you either no longer enjoy reading and want to improve or posts that you have had a change of heart on. An example of this would be my dislike for the rapper Nicki Minaj’s music when she became popular over the last two years or so. Therefore, if I were to write a review of her album upon it’s release, my blog post probably would’ve said that her voice is so annoying and the lyrics are so dumb that she makes me want to go on a hip-hop fast for as long as she is on the scene. Today, I actually like some of her much so that I bought her album, which is something that I didn’t think I would ever do. Using the “Secret Window” approach, I could rewrite my review and add more favorable responses to this girl’s music.

        Secondly, you can write blog posts in the voice of either several other people OR several different parts of yourself. This might be an interesting way to continue through the days of NaBloPoMo because it forces you to write things that you may have normally avoided otherwise and it also forces you to write in ways or in tones that could surprise your readers and go against the grain of your everyday blogging activities. An example of this would be to get angry and write a rant on Monday about whatever makes you mad...but do not write it as yourself. Write it in the tone of the angriest or meanest person that you know OR write it in your own tone, as if you were speaking to someone whom you would love to tell off, if given the opportunity.

       No one rings the bell? That is ok too. I’m sure there is a celebrity that just gets on your last nerve, so use that as a starting point. Let’s use, say, Kim Kardashian as an example since many people love her and many people don’t. If you were placed in a room with Ms. Kardashian and given 5 minutes to tell her off, what would you say? Ok, now write that in your next blog post! Actually, let’s back up for a minute. If you are angry with some aspect of corporate greed, gun control, animal poaching, healthcare reform or whatever gets your pots boiling, take these matters and write a blog post that reads in the tone of a letter to Kim Kardashian, as if she were that corporate executive stealing millions from workers, or that rifle toting person or that criminal poaching decorative elephant parts for get the point.

           Are you usually angry anyway on your blog? Fine. Write a post about the same matters, in the nicest tone that you can. Or, write about something that makes you happy, in the tone of Carol Brady from “The Brady Bunch,” rather than writing about things that make you angry. Whatever you do, be somebody else or another version of yourself for a day. It’s like trying on another personality for size, just like you try on a pair of new shoes or clothes. Doing so may help you learn more about yourself, offer insight to what does and does not matter, and most will help you survive NaBloPoMo!

      Which survival tactics from “Finding Forrester” or “Secret Window” are YOU likely to use for your daily blogging activities?    How did YOU survive NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, or any other writing equivalent?    If YOU missed a day or two, what caused this hiccup and how did you respond to it?

         Thank you Nicole for another great guest post.  Be sure to visit Nicole at her blog Madlab Post and tell her hello.

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  1. I actually plan to respond to someone else's post with my own on Monday. As far as a rant, I just don't do those.

  2. I won't lie Lee, sometimes when I'm mad I blog and rant at my full rage, I try not to but it's hard to resist at times. Excellently written post as always.

  3. Some good ideas here :-)

    I don't generally abandon a goal because of a hiccup - I'm stubborn as a mule, so I just keep on going anyway.

  4. I can rant and complain with the best of them, but these are not normal reactions for me.

    Great tips, Lee.


  5. I'm not really one that rants. I don't write from other people's blog post, but I do send people to interesting posts.

  6. I didn't finish NaNoWriMo this year, due to the tragedy I told you about earlier.

    I don't consider it a loss, though. I'm four chapters into a book I have outlined in detail, and I plan to finish it --just not this month!

  7. Alex J. Cavanaugh,

    It will be nice to see how you respond to another blogger's post with your own post. Sometimes, that's the best way to respond if leaving a comment doesn't capture all of what you want to say.

    Ranting isn't for everyone. I've ranted a few times but never planned on making it a staple of my blog. Still, for some bloggers who do not rant, it may be worth trying out as another part of themselves. It doesn't hurt to try that voice on for size next year, as a Halloween post. Bloggers who do not rant could play "The Angry Blogger" and see how that goes.

    Yeamie Waffles

    Cool name you have there! Since inspiration for blogging comes from all sorts of places, writing a rant post when you're angry can help you do two things....blow off some steam and also flesh out all of your thoughts on what is making you so angry. When it's all said and done, sometimes it is better to get it all out than not have anything to write about at all. Thanks for your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed reading this post!


    Thanks :) If the good ideas in this post can help you with writing blog posts, I've done my job. The more good ideas, I better for all of us in the blogging world.

    You know, I briefly considered to just keep going after missing that one NaBloPoMo day but I felt like it would be nagging at me for the rest of the month and I didn't want that on my shoulders. Even if I got to the end of November, I would feel like I still made an error because of that day that I missed. I'd rather start all over and try to make it to the finish line with 100% completion the second time around. At times, I'm an All or Nothing kind of gal....which isn't always good and causes me lots of stress and depression.

    Journaling Woman,

    Thanks for your feedback. That's what blogging is all about sometimes...trying something new that one would not normally do. Writing in a certain style or with a certain tone that is different from our regular work can not only be a good way to see how readers receive the post but also a way to figure out how to handle a particular topic in the eyes of another character or personality, to get different results in your writing.


    Doing what works for you keeps the blog posts flowing, which is all readers can ask in a way :) We have many options for how to approach our blog posts with regard to tone and style. It all comes down to whether or not we choose to utilize those options for variety or flavor. I've come across some great blogs thanks to bloggers who sent me to interesting posts from their blog.

    Kelly Robinson,

    Four chapters into a book is a great accomplishment. A tragedy can understandably cause a writing hiccup. I've had my share of that a few days ago. It looks like you're coming along well with the book and finishing it is what it's all about after all, not necessarily having to adhere to a strict NaNoWriMo schedule :) Cheers to you!

    The Madlab Post

  8. I *really* enjoyed the film, 'Finding Forrester.'

  9. I've been known to rant, yessiree Bob. But - well written and comprehensive post. Thanks for sharing!

    Marvin D Wilson

  10. If I set out to do something all the hiccups along the way don't stop me. In fact it makes me more determined.


  11. Loved both those movies. Great tips!

  12. Suze,

    Me too. I recently watched the whole movie when it came on TV, which was a treat, since I only saw portions of it over the years. It was nice to finally see it play out from beginning to end, on television.


    Determination is usually the source of and key to great undertakings :) In my personal experience, the more determined I become sometimes though, the crazier I drive myself, so I tend to either take a step back or pause and regroup for a future undertaking. I now try to deal with each project on a case by case basis, depending on what my priorities are and what I'm getting out of the deal. The November NaBloPoMo month was less than fun for me with regards to the "community" aspect among participants, so I won't miss it one bit....the marathon does help with increased productivity though, which is always great!


    Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you found the writing tips to be useful. Since you liked "Secret Window," you may want to watch "The Ninth Gate," (if you haven't already) which also stars Johnny Depp. It appears to be more focused on books than writing, but I do plan on trying to check that one out during my weekly movie rental activities. Thanks to Dale at Smurfin' the Web who listed "The Ninth Gate" in our movie meme this week, I now have another source of movie characters or plot lines for which I can find inspiration for my writing, whether that be in blog posts, poems or short video projects. Thanks again for reading and leaving feedback on this post.

    The Madlab Post

  13. I have been known to get annoyed enough by something to tackle it on my own blog. Usually it's ignorance when it comes to the publishing industry that causes me to respond.

  14. Great tips. I recently did an 11 week challenge where I blogged for 77 days. On the days that I felt stuck...I used pictures in my post and I also try to remember - sometimes less is more. Sometimes a one sentence post says it all.

  15. L. Diane Wolf,

    What ignorance in the publishing industry do you speak of? It could probably be used as motivation to create an entire blog series covering that particular area :)

    Tracy Jo,

    Thanks so much. I'm happy to know you liked the tips in this post. I agree with you on using photos for posts and the "less is more" effect. Blogging for 77 days straight is a killer feat! You should be oh so proud :) I can see how one sentence posts could be used for an entire series or maybe used as a post format for one particular topic...I'll have to try it out one day. I wish I could complete an 11 week challenge for some short films, or any weekly/monthly challenge for that matter. That would be grand!

    The Madlab Post

  16. I am not a ranter. I fume. I introspect. I ruminate over the issue. Then I write with a perspective.

    Anytime I have ranted and then actually let someone receive my rage, well, it never went well.

    I would love to talk with Kim Kardashian.

  17. Just learnt something new... didn't know about NaBloPoMo... but then again this year was my first on NaNoWriMo... so need to get out more:)

  18. Susan Kane,

    Going over ones rage to form a clear and concise perspective on the issue is probably one of the best ways to get people to not only learn but also understand your point or where you are coming from regarding a particular subject, a little better than a rant, so that works well. The thing I've learned about rants are that they tend to drive a lot of traffic though, so that's another thing to think about. If you talk to Kim Kardashian, please ask her to consider being my personal shoe shopping stylist for a weekend, or at least offer some recommendations on where to find the cutest pumps! I'm a sucker for cute heels...sometimes.


    You're in good company. I didn't know about a site that shows people what famous writers their own work resembles until reading Lee's recent post, so we all learn something everyday. I hope your NaNoWriMo experience was a blast. I considered doing one of the Screenplay challenges but always find out about them after the deadline, so I guess it's not meant to be. I tend to work at my own pace anyway, unless I want to take on a huge challenge at random, so it all works out at the end of the day.

    NaBloPoMo happens every month, so when you're done with NaNoWriMo and you're feeling victorious, it may be fun to tackle the blogging version just for the experience or merely for kicks...whatever tickles your pickle!

    Thanks for commenting.

    The Madlab Post

  19. We love The Secret Window. I guessed the ending about half way through (no spoiler alert here). But there were clues of you were looking for them. Great show. Now I want to rent it through Netflix.

  20. Thanks for the great tips, and the entertaining movies. I usually rant at my computer when something goes wrong. Does that count? Julie

  21. Interesting. I don't think I've ever done any of these things. Except maybe a mini-rant every so often. But I try to keep my blog an oasis in the storm.

  22. Stephen Tremp,

    I have a relative who loves Secret Window as well. I'm all for thrillers and mysteries and such but creepy, psychological movies like that one rarely sits among my top faves, lol. Watching a movie for mere entertainment keeps the thinking and guessing at bay but I was trying to look for clues during "The Sixth Sense" and "Shutter Island" and I still don't get one of those movies, to this day. I bet you'd probably pick both of them apart though. Maybe you could help me further understand the Leonardo DiCaprio one, because it just makes no sense to the point where it pisses me off.

    Empty Nest Insider (Julie),

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm glad to know you found this post to be entertaining and useful. If you're writing while you're ranting at your computer, then yes, of course! :)

    Carol Kilgore,

    You know how the saying goes...variety is the spice of life! Also, we learn new things that we could try to apply to our writing everyday. Just this week, tfwalsh and I learned something new; now you've learned some new options for your writing, if you ever find yourself needing inspiration, you can get them from the movies. A little mini-rant every now and then doesn't hurt anybody. I like your "Oasis in the storm" approach, though. Thanks for commenting!

    The Madlab Post

  23. I want to thank Nicole for another excellent post. Nicole, you're welcome here at Tossing It Out any time. You always have a creative approach to things.


  24. This post made me laugh right out loud. And I never do that. Especially the part about Kim Kardashian (however it's spelled) and the "angry blogger." Thanks for brightening my day and for all the great tips!

  25. Hey there! I just signed up for this new challenge. I'm not sure if I'll do a post every day, but it'll be fun to try! BTW, I love Secret Window!
    And I love to rant at times! This is all looking good so far...see you in the funny papers!

  26. Terrific examples. Haven't seen Finding Forester, but did catch Secret Window. I really enjoyed changing tones and trying different personalities on for size. My other personalities are dying to come out!

  27. I think I'm a "Secret Window" person, I've been known to plagiarize my old articles both online and from newspapers. It sometimes gets me over the hump when I'm busy and focusing on other things.


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