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Archive for the ‘NaNoWriMo’ Category

So that’s it. It’s December 1st and NaNoWriMo 2010 is officially over. To all my friends who won, or even attempted this utter insanity, I offer my hat to you in congratulations. Now go sleep for a week. You’ve earned it.

This was a rough NaNo for me. I powered out of the gate, guns and pen blazing like a racehorse covered in napalm, but then I hit stumbling blocks that extinguished my fire and tripped me until I was ass-deep in dirt. I hit 50k on the 15th after two weeks of exhausting myself and then said ‘I can’t keep this up.’

I blame school mostly. I’m almost to the finish line of my final semester of college, and because of this projects, papers and presentations have taken me by the arms and said ‘oh no you don’t!’ and have forced me to pay attention to my studies while leaving my novel projects by the wayside. And I gave in. I chose not to fight. ‘This is my fate’, I said, and allowed the bastardly assignments to claim me.

Normally I wouldn’t do anything of the sort. The writing comes first, hell or high water. This semester is different though. This is the last time I have to put school first. In about two and a half weeks I’ll be done with homework in it’s traditional form and donning my cap and gown at ass in the morning, traipse across that stage and give the University the finger, wishing it Good Riddance.

Then I can get down to the real thing; actually writing.

That’s the real thing I’ve learned this November. That it really wasn’t about the wordcount for me. I’ve discovered that I’m definitely an overachiever, because most of the novels I come up with don’t fit in the 50k frame. I also don’t like to stop in the middle of a scene. I don’t like writing with abandon, because I write fast enough that I have the time to edit as I go.

NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing 50,000 words for me. It’s about writing. Just writing. The act of putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and creating. There’s no right way to do this mad month of noveling, no matter what people may say. And while I love a lot of the community surrounding NaNo, a lot of it just gives me a headache. People being people of course, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Or put up with it.

This is my third NaNo, and I will continue to participate, but I will also be taking the spirit of writing daily into my new, post-graduate life. It’s time to put writing first, and even though it stung, even though my idea turned out to be ill-suited for prose novel form, this is, and was, the very last time I have to put school first.

So that’s that. Ghost was a good exercise, but I don’t think it’s the novel for me. I hope to be transferring it to Graphic Novel format as next year progresses. As well as this Jeff and I are looking to start a webcomic together (casually, nothing serious of course), and I’m going to focus my noveling on Strain 10.

And hopefully I’ll end up getting a job so I can support myself without having to eat my own foot.

So that’s my NaNo 2010. Rewarding, but backburnered quickly. I didn’t make it to my minimum goal of 75k, let alone 100k. But I hit the 50 thousand, and right now that’s good enough for me.

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In a Funk

It’s just past six o’clock on Tuesday. My wrist hasn’t stopped hurting since last night and it now hurts not only to type but to move it.

Yesterday I made it to fifty thousand words, and I’m not sure I can continue this novel. I need to take a break, to breathe, to decide if what I’m writing is really my best. If this is the novel I need to be working on right now. If I have the time or energy to reach the 100k goal I had in mind at the beginning of the month.

I have a month left of my undergraduate experience. I am still unemployed outside the university, and am trying to complete and send out applications on a regular basis. Finding a job that pays more than minimum wage is going to be a bit tricky, especially around here.

I have a month left to complete my schoolwork. I have at least a dozen stories left to read and respond to in writing class. I have a 10 to 20 page research paper due in my religion class, along with a 15 minute presentation. I have another presentation in my other religion class, which will require substantial amounts of group work. I have to construct a final project in my history class which will require a lot of artistic work.

I can’t help but feel like I”m going to have trouble pounding out 3k a day and do all these things and maintain my sanity. I’m already slipping.

I just need to take a break. Decide if I want to keep this novel going, scrap it and start again, pick a different one and work on that. Maybe go for my minimum goal of 75k so I can work at a slower pace and have a more manageable month.

I just seem to repeatedly have great ideas, but lack the ability to express them to my satisfaction.

Maybe I just need to sleep for a week. Or at this point, just find something to eat. I’m going to a concert in an hour or two, and that should be fun.

I guess we’ll see how things go. Tonight though, tonight the writing just isn’t going to happen. It hurts too much to type.

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The Green Bar

I made it to fifty thousand words today.

I wrote all evening, my hands hurt, and I could use a good sleep, possibly even a drink, but I’m there. I have my green bar, and I’m halfway to my personal goal.

Today is awesome.

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Rolling Along

I just passed 41k. I’m near the end of a scene that was a lot of fun to write, and after this I’m going to move into the action of the novel. Conflict is beginning. It’s exciting.

I’m at Coffee House, listening to Puscifer on Grooveshark and taking a breather, since I’ve been writing almost nonstop since around 6. I’m going to buy another drink, read a few things on the web, chat to some people, and see how much further I can go tonight. Sky’s the limit, and I’m inspired.

The guys at the table behind me are playing Uno. The song ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson just came on the speakers. I love this place so much.

Tomorrow, hopefully, a post about music again. Later, maybe an excerpt.

I hope you all have glorious weekends full of things you want to do in balance with things you have to do.

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It’s now almost 8:00pm in Lincoln. I’m sitting comfortably at about 34k. I’m about 2-3k away from my recommended goal of 36.6k, even further away from my desired 40k.

My blog from this morning ended up being overly ambitious, because life got in the way:

My RSI is acting up, and with a vengeance. I’ve been in a constant mild state of pain since waking up this morning, and while the brace helps (as do painkillers when it gets bad), I’m still feeling the aches and pains every time I sit down to type. Needless to say this is cutting into my typing pretty hardcore.

As well as this, a very dear friend of mine is still dealing with some pretty tough stuff. I love my friends dearly, and while words need to be written, I know that they will always need to be written. My friends needing help? That’s a priority, even if the only help I can offer is providing a distraction.

So, sorry 40k. Unless my wrist stops yelling at me with pain, I’ll see you tomorrow. My goal now is to finish my chapter and write another, which’ll get me more than on track for today. If I’m feeling better later I’ll keep it up, but it’s whatever really. It’s not the wordcount I’m worried about, it’s the motivation. I WILL finish this novel. Nothing’s going to stop that.

Sorry for the bold excitements of my earlier post. Life, as usual, decided to grab me and say ‘hey, I’m what happens when you make plans. Suck it.’

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So yesterday collapsed into fire pretty quickly. My beautiful afternoon of free time and opportunity to write was swallowed up by cataloging the new books at work, having to read and respond to two stories for writing class, and an emergency with a very close friend. I stumbled out of work at ten o’clock at night, determined to go over to Jeff’s and write… but promptly passed out shortly after arriving there.

I’m currently a little less than 6 thousand words behind, which is disheartening, especially since I’m trying to ignore the fact that I’m not even at the big 5-0 yet.

This means just one thing:

10k day.

Today I am going to attempt to write 10 thousand words. I’m going to use the free time I have between classes and at work to not only catch up to today’s goal of 36.6 k, but also power past it and get to 40. That’s the plan folks, 40k total by the time I go to sleep tonight.

I haven’t done a 10k day in a year or so – my first day last year was a 10k day. This year has been much busier, school and life being unkind to me frequently, along with the pressure to graduate, get a job, start thinking about new apartments, all that delightful jazz.

That right there is a giant ball of stress, and the lagging wordcount isn’t helping.

So today is the throwdown. Tomorrow too – if I can make it to 50k by tomorrow night I will feel victorious. I think I can do it if I really get set to it.

I can write 2-3k an hour if I do nothing else and have the benefit of music. I have my notebook so I can write during my next two classes and then transcribe that. I have a four hour shift at work where I have no other obligations save for about fifteen minutes of work-related tasks. If I break it down, take rests and pump myself with caffeine, I can make it to 40k by the end of tonight. Right now that’s about¬†9,000 words (I’m currently at 31,188). Not quite a 10k day, but a shiny well-rounded goal is a good motivator.

I’m thinking three sprints of 3k each, with two mini-goals of 34k and 37k throughout the day. I have playlists on grooveshark, dollars in my pocket for the vending machine, and painkillers if my wrists get too sore.

I’m about to go crazy.

Must be Thursday!

 

Wish me luck blogosphere. I’ll be tweeting my progress as the day goes on, and we’ll see how I go. Any support or encouragement you can offer will be appreciated, as I might not be able to do this unless I have motivation / shame to keep me going.

Let’s Do This Thing.

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Pacing and Me

I’ve been thinking about my pacing lately; both in my novel and in terms of my ability to write quickly. Currently I’m sitting at just over 30,000 words, and my novel is steadily chugging along.

Apparently I have trouble writing anything that won’t eventually turn into a Harry Potter Volume 5. style ¬†door stopper. Currently I’m one page into my outline. My outline is over seven pages, single spaced with 12 pt font in MS Word.

Clearly this is going to be a LONG book.

It will probably eventually need trimming. There are some scenes I could condense. I could also end up splitting it up into multiple volumes (it currently is in four sections). At this point though, I’m very happy with the flow of the outline, and I think it’d do me more good to just keep at it rather than try to condense now and risk throwing off my plot, and my groove. Ghost is a project I have a lot of enthusiasm for, and if I have to shuffle things around, that’s fine. I just won’t do it until after my first draft is complete, so I know how it feels as a whole, not just in my head.

As well as this issue of pacing, I’ve also been reflecting on my wordcount pace. This time last year I was already well over 50k, already charging past the traditional finish line. This year I’m going slower – still ahead of the curve (which is good, since I’m pretty much bound and determined to hit the 100k this year), but thanks to school and dental surgery I’m not charging ahead the way I did before.

I’m still pretty far ahead of the curve (I’m currently sitting at third-highest wordcount in my region), and I was greeted with a mixture of bemused shock and awe when I went to yesterday’s write-in. It was a really nice gathering of people – I hope to hit up the next one on Saturday. People ask me how I get my wordcount, and (after I tell them that it’s really not that much, they should see some of the folk in the overachievers thread on the NaNo boards) I tell them it’s a combination of having a good outline, knowing my characters, typing fast and forgoing a social life.

Not that the wordcount is the thing. For me it’s writing every day. It’s getting this novel finished. It’s about the dream. It’s about writing until I become a Writer. For reals this time.

So today I’m aiming to powerhouse ahead. My goal is 33k, but I’d like to reach 35. More if possible. A little insane, and i”ll take breaks to breathe and eat and watch TV, but things are starting to get exciting in this here novel of mine, so I’m having trouble stopping myself from writing. I’d say that’s a good place to be.

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