Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Writing Again

The month of November is unofficially known as National Novel Writing Month, when aspiring writers can commit to writing an entire novel, or 50,000 words, in 30 days.

It’s a daunting task, and I’ve participated on and off for the past 5 or 6 years. One year I even “won,” which really just means I managed to get 50,000 words down on paper in the span of 30 days. I’m not sure what even happened to that draft, or what that particular novel was about, but I’m sure it was crap.

I have files and files of half-written stories, or scenes that have come to me in a moment of inspiration, or more often just 10 or so pages of a story that quickly fizzled out. I’ll start writing, convince myself it’s actually crap, and then quit. Or I’ll start writing, hit a road block where I don’t know what happens next, and then quit. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid, but it turns out it just isn’t as easy as it seemed back then.

I’d kind of given up on the dream, figuring maybe being a published author wasn’t really for me. I’m not that great at grammar, if I’m being honest. Past participle? No idea what that is. “Sally and me” versus “Sally and I?” Your guess is as good as mine which one is correct. I have no idea if anything I’ve ever written is any good, because I don’t often share it. Obviously what I write here can be read by anyone that stumbles across this blog, but this is all carefully edited true stories. There’s nothing here that was born out of my own imagination. I did have a short story published online once. I was damn proud of it, too. I shared that link with everyone. After it was chosen and published. The fact that a stranger had read it and validated it made it okay to share with people I knew. I can’t imagine myself ever sharing something I’ve written with friends or family without first getting that outside validation. I don’t know why, it just feels like I would be exposing too much of myself.

I don’t even tell people when I am writing. The only one who knows I’m working on this novel right now is my husband. He keeps asking me how my novel is coming and I can’t tell if he’s being sarcastic or not. I think he’s being genuine, but I think he’s also making a point to show how supportive he is of my hobbies, whereas I constantly act like his hobbies cause me physical pain. (To be fair, his biggest hobby is snowboarding, which does indeed cause me physical pain when I do it.)

The idea for this novel, hand to God, came to me in a dream. How corny is that? Or at least, a scene did. I wrote that scene down. Then I worked it into another idea for a book I’d had rolling around in my brain for years. I scoured back through old drafts I had started and abandoned, picking up ideas to incorporate. I messed around with the characters a little bit, writing a few scenes for them just to see how they felt. It felt good, I thought I might actually have something this time.

I’ve been planning for this novel for a few months now. I don’t think I’ve ever done this much planning before. I read a ton of articles about how to plan a book, and plot structure. I did a bunch of character building exercises. I found some of it helpful, and some of it not so much. I’ll probably get into that in another post once all is said and done.

I’ve already blown my word goal for the week out of the water and it’s only day 3. Usually by this point I’m struggling hard and resort to just jumping ahead to a scene I think will be more fun to write and leaving out anything in between. This time, I’ve just been writing non-stop. Is all of it good? No, I’m sure it’s not. But I am so damn excited to write this thing. I have the same feeling about writing this book as I do when I’m reading a good book. I can’t wait to get back to it. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. And I already know what happens next! Having the bare bones figured out for a scene and then having it actually all come together right before your very eyes? Phew, what a rush. I’m very, very into this book and I hope the momentum keeps up. Pulling myself away from it has been hard. Forcing myself to do anything other than write has been hard. I dreamt about the damn book characters last night, that’s how deep I’ve gotten into this. I walk around in a daze because my brain is still in this novel, thinking about what’s going to happen next.

I don’t know, maybe this will turn into something great and maybe it won’t but I’m having a damn good time writing it so far and it feels really, really good to be back at it.

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NaNoWriMo 2014

Fall is upon us which means there is just a little over a month until NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is a rather difficult to type acronym for National Novel Writing Month, which occurs in November each year.

I was contemplating whether or not I planned on doing it this year when a nearly fully-formed idea dropped into my lap. So, apparently I’m doing it this year. And dagnabbit, I’m gonna finish a novel. I have so many books I’ve started writing and never finished, it’s getting ridiculous. Even if it’s the worst book ever and it is never viewed by anyone’s eyes but my own, I”m going to do it. This is the year (I realize I say this every year).

I’ve started outlining and writing up character sketches, because once I get an idea I can’t wait to get it onto paper (or the computer screen I suppose). I’m waiting to do the actual writing in November, because to start earlier than that would be cheating.

I actually still go back to the draft I started last year every once in awhile, and someday I will finish that one, but I’m starting fresh this year. So this is just my proclamation that I am doing this, I’m psyched about it, and it’s gonna be awesome.

 

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NaNoWriMo: Days 4-11 | And Then, a Breakthrough

Things got really hairy there for awhile. In fact, it may still be a bit precarious here in Novel Writing Land. It didn’t take me long to reach that point where I hated everything I was writing and moving forward just seemed like I would be digging myself into a big old mess I wouldn’t want to edit once I was finished.

So I did something crazy and went backwards. I pretty much went right back to the beginning and started all over. I hadn’t intended to; I had just intended to go back and finagle a few of the larger details and rework a few scenes, but one thing led to another and I found myself re-writing everything.

Not a great place to find yourself in at the beginning of week two. But now I feel more confident in what I’m writing, which is making it easier to move forward.

Another thing that’s started to happen, is suddenly my brain is working overtime coming up with ideas for other novels. I’ve been having random strikes of inspiration, whether it’s for an entirely new idea or improving upon an idea I’ve had living in my brain for awhile. I imagine it’s just because my creative juices are flowing (that phrase actually really squicks me out), but I’m not complaining. In between bursts of writing I’ve been jotting down ideas all over the place. Not very productive for my current work, but hey. You gotta take it when you can.

Word Count: 11,408 (why yes I AM massively behind schedule)

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NaNoWriMo: Days 1-4

Well, we are four days in to NaNoWriMo and things have been going pretty well. I’m behind on my word count, but I had an uncharacteristically busy weekend. I plan on catching up and even pulling ahead this week, since it’s been SO SLOW at work.

Yeah, I’ve been writing at work. Don’t tell my bosses.

I’ve been writing in Google Drive, which is actually working out really well for me. I can access the document anywhere and it automatically saves on a constant basis, so I’m not worried about losing anything. I even put the app on my phone in case inspiration strikes when I’m out and about. This is my trick this year for getting those words in.

I’ve also been reading Nathan Bransford’s new ebook, How to Write a Novel, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s definitely keeping me motivated and heading in the right direction. Starting a project like this is incredibly daunting, but I am determined not only to finish, but to have a solid completed project on my hands. Something I can even show off and maybe even publish.

Current word count: 5,274

 

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NaNoWriMo 2013

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It’s NaNoWriMo time again! NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November. Basically, you sign up on the website and commit to writing 50,000 words (essentially, a complete novel) during the month of November.  It’s intense. If you finish it, you “win” NaNoWriMo.

NaNo isn’t actually a competition, in the traditional sense. It’s a competition with yourself, really. There are no prizes, and your book doesn’t automatically get published at the end. No one is judging your work (well, I suppose YOU are judging your work, and anyone you show it to, but there are no JUDGES in any official capacity).

It’s meant for those of us who want to write a book. Those of us with dreams of being authors, published or not. Those people with that niggling feeling in the back of their brains, that feeling that you have a story that just needs to get out. It’s a challenge  to commit to just doing the dang thing. Write that gosh darn book just so you can say you did! Even if at the end of November you shove the thing into a forgotten corner of your hard drive and never look at it again. At least you know you have the capacity to DO it.

I’ve attempted NaNo oh, I think three times? I’ve finished it once. It is hard, man. And I ended up hating my finished product. Okay, it wasn’t even finished. I wrote 50k words and it wasn’t even a complete book.  It was really just 50k words strung together into sentences. I liked the premise, and I still do, but I wasn’t ready to write that story. I may never be ready to write that story. It may actually be a complete dud and I’ll never go back to it again. But not every attempt is going to be a success.

I’ve committed to NaNoWriMo again this year, and I am super excited. Originally I was going to go with an idea I’ve had percolating in my mind for a little while now. The vague idea of it sounded good to me, but I couldn’t make any real details stick. When I tried to come up with a solid plot my chest would constrict and my eye would start to twitch. Nope, that idea is definitely not ready to be born yet.

So last night, three days before this thing is going to start, I changed my course. I’ve decided to go with an idea I’ve had for YEARS. I mean a seriously long time. I actually wrote the first iteration of this story when I was about 12. And it’s been with me ever since, because I think the idea is good and I know I can totally blow the version my 12-year-old self wrote out of the water (no offense, 12-year-old me). It’s been adamantly knocking around in my head for a few months, just begging to be written, but I’ve been squashing it down. I don’t know why. I’ve kind of always thought this idea would be my pièce de résistance and I didn’t want to let it loose too soon. You know, before I felt I had the skillz to write it.  But no sense waiting, I suppose. The time is now! Carpe diem! YOLO! So it’s happening.

Wish me luck.

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