Aurora Public Library Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

Feel free to comment on posts, re-blog and enjoy. To ensure a civil and focused discussion, comments will be held for a brief period before being published.



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NaNoWriMo

The Dreaded Writing Bog: How to Overcome Writer's Block
by Justine

Can you believe you’re already over halfway through with NaNoWriMo?! I know it snuck up on me. At this point, logic would dictate that you should have written over 25,000 words by now. If you’re like me, you may not be anywhere close, and that’s okay. Sometimes, it seems the further you get into your story, the harder it can be to conjure words. Your character is at Point A, you want them to get to Point C, but Point B eludes you. You are stuck in the dreaded writing bog known as writer’s block. It is the bane of all writers and bound to strike at the least convenient time, like when you’re 10,000 words into a 50,000 word novel with time running out (a completely arbitrary and randomly chosen number—not from personal experience, oh no). The good news is, this is National Novel Writing Month. It’s not National Best Novel Writing Month or even National Good Novel Writing Month. Your only goal this month is to write a novel! It doesn’t have to be your best work, it doesn’t have to be good, and you don’t have to share it with anybody. That’s the beauty of it! Once you get past that and accept that your only goal is to churn out words until the cows come home, you will have a much easier time overcoming writer’s block. Just in case you’re still feeling freaked out and unsure, though, I have some tips for you as a fellow treader of the bog.  

When In Doubt, Deus Ex Machina
Roughly translated from the Latin for “god from the machine,” this plot device is an author’s best friend. Deus ex machina comes in handy when you’ve got a problem in your story that your characters just can’t overcome. Maybe she just unwittingly stepped into quicksand, is sinking rapidly, but you already established eight pages ago that her compatriots are days away and she’s in the middle of nowhere with nothing to grab onto to save herself. “Uh oh. Now what?” you may ask. Well, with deus ex machina, nothing is impossible! Maybe a friendly and freakishly strong eagle happens to fly overhead and drop a vine so she can pull herself out. Perhaps her friends’ trip is cut down by a magical shortcut they found miraculously and they save her in the nick of time. You could suddenly just decide the quicksand drags her down not to her death, but into another dimension, and the story could take a wild turn! It can be as ridiculous as you want it to be. Don’t get wrapped up in the details and just have fun getting your characters out of whatever impossible bind you’ve wrapped them in.  

Accept Imperfection
This is going to be a tough one for you perfectionists out there (trust me, I’m one of them!), but one thing to keep in mind is this is only a first draft. You may develop writer’s block because you’re so overwhelmed by all the grammar, spelling, and syntax errors staring back at you. The squiggly red and green lines under your words and the inelegant prose might hurt to think about, but try not to get discouraged! Again, the beauty of NaNoWriMo is the fact that no one has to see your work if you don’t want them to. It isn’t for a grade and you are your own harshest critic. If you find that you’re bumming yourself out over all the imperfections in your writing, it might help to stop looking at it. I know that sounds strange, but hear me out. Think about it like the rearview mirror in your car. If you keep looking behind you, you can’t focus on what’s ahead. You could get in an accident if you obsess over what’s back there. Instead, focus on looking forward out the windshield. Occasional glances back to make sure the story is progressing the way you want to is fine, but don’t keep your eyes there. Right now your goal is quantity, not quality, so if it hurts to look at all those errors just don’t look at them and simply write! Writing badly is better than giving up and not writing at all. Accept the imperfection, love it, and laugh about it later.  

Seek the Root
Do you know why you’re suffering from writer’s block? It might be an obvious problem like your neighbor blasting loud music during your writing time, or it could be something harder to pin down, like being intimidated by other writers’ success or the fear of writing poorly. Whatever the problem is, getting to the root of it could be helpful in your pursuit of the motivation to continue writing. Sometimes it’s something you can fix and sometimes it isn’t. You may not be able to convince your neighbor to turn down the music, but you could choose to write another time of day or use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones while writing. It can be hard to write when you feel like other writers would do so more skillfully, or if you feel like your writing isn’t up to anyone’s standards, but reminding yourself that it isn’t a competition and that literary recognition isn’t the bottom line can help you feel a little bit better. Remember: writing anything is a huge accomplishment! Find the root of the problem, uproot it, tell it to shoo, and let the words flow freely.

Stop Writing
Call me crazy, but it really works. Sometimes you’re so stuck that nothing seems to help. Maybe you already deus ex machina’d the heck out of your story, you accepted your imperfect writing, you sought the root of your block, and you’re still at a loss for words. When you’ve reached this point, taking a step back might be just what you need. Go take a shower, get some fresh air, grab a snack, or even take a nap. The motivation to write is an elusive beast and one best tamed by occasionally ignoring it, as counterproductive as it may sound. As they say, a watched pot never boils. Walk away for a little while and come back fresh and ready to write. If you’re anything like me, some of your best thinking might occur when you’re away from the computer or typewriter; they even make waterproof notepads for the shower now so you never lose your revelatory shower thoughts! Even if you have to stop writing for a day or two, it’s better than giving up altogether. Your story will be patiently waiting for your return!  

These are just a few tips for overcoming writer’s block, but I hope they’ve given you a little bit of solace if you’re starting to feel the pressure. There are so many things that can land you in the bog, but like in the deus ex machina example, I aim to be your freakishly strong eagle friend and help you find a way out of it. Whatever you write will be wonderful no matter what you put on the page, so please don’t give up! In the words of Sylvia Plath: “Every day, writing. No matter how bad. Something will come.” Keep writing, my friends. I’ll see you at the finish line. 

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Nov 17, 2020 at 8:52 AM
  
Read It!

Family Book Club


Out of My Shell

"Out of My Shell" by Jenny Goebel is our Family Book Club pick for November!

Out of My Shell: Chapters 6-11   
- If you could get a personalized donut, what would you put on it?
- After meeting Mr. Shaw, do you think Olivia will have much luck when she gets to speak to him about the turtle?
- Lanie and Olivia have fun creating "cross animals" like the squidopus. Come up with your own combination animal!
- Did you think Olivia's dad would visit for her birthday?
- Have you ever had such a disappointing birthday? Do you think things will turn around for Olivia?

Copies of "Out of My Shell" are available at Tallyn's Reach Library and Jefferson County Public Libraries and unlimited eAudiobooks are available via hoopla digital - free with your library card!

Join Aurora Public Library and Jefferson County Public Library for a live Q&A with author Jenny Goebel on Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. via Zoom! Register here.

Virtual Visit with Author
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Nov 16, 2020 at 2:33 PM
  
Create It!

Create It! Turkey Decoration
by Karen

It's Make It Monday! With Turkey Day right around the corner, Karen shares a fun DIY decoration that includes some natural elements!

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Nov 16, 2020 at 12:28 PM
  
Virtual Mini Con

If You Like That, Try This!
by APL Staff

Looking for something new to read? A new show to binge? We've got you covered! Check out our staff recommendations for your favorite series and discover something new!
Each image links to the item in our catalog so you can play a hold and start enjoying as soon as possible!


































Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Nov 14, 2020 at 5:32 PM
  
Virtual Mini Con

Join us online Nov. 14 & 15 for Virtual Aurora Mini-Con, a weekend of family-friendly crafts, discussions, contests and more! We’ll be sharing videos throughout the weekend on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Check out our full schedule here.

Join in on the fun!
- We’re hosting themed trivia and games via Zoom - check out our calendar for more information and to register.
    - Superhero Kahoot, Sat., Nov. 14, 3 p.m., Zoom
    - Superhero Fish Bowl, Sat., Nov. 14, 5 p.m., Zoom
    - Superhero Mafia Game, Sun., Nov. 15, 2 p.m., Zoom

- Visit your Aurora Public Library leading up to Mini Con to pick up a free Grab & Go craft kit and tune in over the weekend to make the craft together with our staff online! Craft kits are available while supplies last and limited to one per person.

- Show us your fandom pride! Submit a photo of your cosplay, original fan art or original fan fiction by Friday, Nov. 13 to APLReadingRocks@auroragov.org. Vote on Facebook for your favorite submission on Saturday & Sunday. Winners in each category will receive a $25 Amazon gift card! Winners will be announced live on Facebook Sunday at 4 p.m.!

More to explore!
- Check out our amazing community partners in our Virtual Exhibit Hall! Discover local pop culture shops, artists, authors and more!

- We love all things pop culture and there’s just too much awesome to fit into one weekend! Check out our Pinterest page for even more Mini-Con crafts, books and more!

- Check out some of our favorite fandom reads with our Mini-Con booklists! Place a hold in our catalog and check them out with your library card.

Let us know your thoughts on this year’s Virtual Aurora Mini Con by taking a quick survey.


Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Nov 12, 2020 at 1:05 PM
  
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