Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

Obstacles, Large and Small

Fall is just about here and my heart is in a perpetual state of ache.

This time of year has always been my favorite as it seems to elicit some sort of dreamy longing, forcing me to act and act passionately before winter consumes everything. The world dies, and I can finally be creative– it’s pretty sick and twisted, and the limitation is a little outrageous, but it’s true.

This year is no exception in regards to the feelings, but the part where I must act and act passionately has been stifled and smothered by the wet wool sock I like to call “work.”

I am not worked to the bone. I experience very little work-related stress. I help people sometimes and do my boss’ busy work the rest of the time. It’s calm. It’s easy. But it’s killing me.

Doesn’t help that the commute is an awful one: one hour each way, into the sun in the morning, into the sun in the afternoon, in a realm where men and women view 45mph speed limit signs as “guidelines,” bumper-to-bumper traffic one direction, seven thousand stoplights the other, all while my car is on the verge of breaking down.

The truth of the matter is this: I dedicate 50 hours of my time per week, over $400 of my gross monthly paycheck (to taxes and “benefits”), over $100 of my net paycheck (to gas for the 2hr/day commute), and 80%-90% of my sanity to being bored. I go home, collapse on the couch, turn off my brain, go to sleep, wake up the next morning and dedicate more time and money to being bored. This is what being a “responsible adult” has brought to me.

There is a light down the tunnel, however! December will be the end. I’ve been counting down the days for months, now, but it’s starting to feel real. Days are getting colder, my car is about to keel over, I can count in terms of weeks rather than months. No doubt, I have to start making arrangements…

But wait! No, stupid! I need to be writing!

“Relic” has the potential to be a huge hit, and I’m not just tooting my own horn. The concept of “New Adult” alternative-world fantasy with Caribbean Gothic undertones isn’t one I’ve heard of in recent times, but those who have read the story as it stands are enamored, or at the very least intrigued. Only a few drafts in, I know the story and characters are there, but pouring the words out has become increasingly difficult. I’m at a point where I have to bank on myself, on my ideas, on the people and places I’ve created, to tell the story as it begs to be told. But after 8 hours of staring at a computer I hate, at a desk I hate, in a chair I hate, in a room I hate, at the job that bores me to tears, I can hardly stand to feel my fingers across my keyboard once I get home.

The time will come, once again, when my writing will not be stopped. But the further I slip into this depression, the more reluctant I feel, and the more reluctant I feel, the more depressed I become. Every waking moment is another obstacle to overcome, a hurdle to jump, one foot in front of the other until December when I can end this soul-suck.

I can’t wait that long, so the next best thing to intrinsic motivation is an external stimulus. I tried to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this year, but it didn’t really work out. However, traditional NaNoWriMo is on the horizon just as well. What better way to send off the job that has destroyed me and start running head-first into writing full-time than to complete 50k words on “Relic”?

I had originally planned to have “Relic” completed by December, but recent changes and suggestions by beta readers have prompted me into rewriting all together, pushing my deadline back by quite a bit. I was thinking “next summer” as a deadline, but now I realize that there is no excuse to not have something close to done by the end of February.

October for planning: To keep my creative juices flowing, and to construct a proper outline.

November for writing: Daily goals implemented by NaNoWriMo will keep me going, and I know I can do it– I’ve won NaNoWriMo once before.

December for life and love: With quitting my job and a trip to Scotland in there somewhere, I’ve gotta take some time to love me, to love my boyfriend, and to fall in love with life and my own work ethic again. December is for living, experiencing, feeling, so I can put all of that joy and life back into my writing.

January to finish the new draft: To finish and to polish. Working in Scriviner now means I don’t have to toil over rewrites and edits. Everything should be easily accessible and easily changed.

February for final drafts: To rework it all where it needs reworking and otherwise to let it rest.

It will take a lot of forceful thought on my part, but I can’t sit and struggle for breath when all I have to do is stand to reach the surface again. I’ve only had a few dry weeks, but I’m feeling the effects of my lack of creativity. I want so badly to pretend counting the days will help, but it’s making the days count, instead, that will serve my purpose best.

To those of you who read: Thanks for bearing with me this long. This post turned more into personal word-vomit than anything helpful or informative, but I had to look at it from a different angle, voice it more securely, see it written in front of me.

I’m tired of wasting away. If I’m to put everything I have into writing, I can’t very well run on empty.

/rant

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Camp NaNoWriMo Failed Again! … Or Did It?

Last month, I tentatively accepted the “challenge” of Camp NaNoWriMo. For those of you unfamiliar, it is simply a summer-time version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which takes place each November, the “goal” being to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I accepted the challenge, and I failed.

But how much can one fail at something self-paced?

Ultimately, I got a couple thousand words written on one project, nearly one thousand on another, refined a second draft of the first 1/4 of a WIP novel, accepted a handful of very helpful beta readers, redefined the “genre” of one project, joined several (very) beneficial writing groups, created a digital book cover, and unveiled a few plot twists even I didn’t know were coming.

This is what I love about the NaNoWriMo institution. It allows you to set a goal. It prompts you to keep going when the going gets tough. It creates atmosphere for you to brainstorm with other users and even to utilize some of the great ideas that aren’t being used (with full consent of the original creator). It gives you insight from other authors– some very successful, others just seeing the first results of their accomplishments.

I prefer the November writing to the summer writing. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the holidays, maybe it’s tradition– I really don’t know.

But Camp helped me figure a lot out, it coaxed me into working on aspects I hadn’t considered.

So maybe I failed at the original goal I’d set for myself (25k words on a new project), but it sure rocked.

Really looking forward to November. No one needs an excuse to write, but sometimes it’s really the best kick in the pants possible.

Kudos to all of you who participated, those of you who reached your goals, and those of you who have been inspired.

Write on!

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Looking for Beta Readers!

Friends,

I will soon be hunting for a couple beta readers for my WIP novels. One is an atypical YA fantasy story, the other is more mature and futuristic, bordering on scifi (excerpts are posted here within my blog).

I will be looking mostly for analytical thinkers who enjoy the genres and who won’t be wary of dishing out criticism on flow, characters, plot, grammar, style, etc.

You will also be prompting me to continue to write when “I don’t wanna!” and serving as someone for me to bounce ideas off of. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please let me know. 

Serious inquiries only, if you don’t mind! There will be plenty of opportunities in the near future for EVERYONE to read what I’ve done, but I’m calling for a little more work on your part this time around. 

If this appeals to you, comment here or drop me a line via other contact avenues! Thank you!

Camp NaNoWriMo – Week 1

I don’t know about you, but for me camp has already been ridiculously helpful.

Notoriously, I’m a pantser. Meaning (for those of you who don’t participate in the NaNoWriMo fun) I fly by the seat of my pants when I write. I kind of just compile character composites I enjoy, have one main plot point, and write it out by allowing my characters to tell the story for me.

I’ve realized in this first week that my usual method won’t work for this one.

My initial goals in starting were to complete 25k words (probably not gonna happen), create an actual outline (probably gonna happen), and to come up with a more suitable working title than “Untitled Religious Apocalypse” (definitely already did happen).

With one goal down, another developing each day, and the other just waiting to happen, I’m feeling rather successful though my word count is still at the big goose egg.

“Untitled R.A” has become “God’s Out Sick.”

3k words I’d written when this novel was nothing more than a concept will not have to be discarded as I’d originally thought.

Two more characters have developed integral roles.

My plot has gone from one centered around my own personal beliefs and has exploded into one with multiple facets and more substance than I even really know what to do with.

And I’ve done more research on multiverse theory than I ever thought I’d do in my life.

Slowly but surely, I’ve been working on writing down major plot points. I will not physically begin writing again until these plot points successfully lead me from opening page to conclusion. This has been the most challenging thing for me.

However, as an author, as a NaNoWriMo “winner” in years past, as a reader, I know that I need this step before I can begin. I can reach word count goals by the seat of my pants, but I can’t construct a world, a Universe, where multiple characters are all tied to the fates of each other and to each ripple in the story. 

So far, with each plot point I’ve written, I’ve discovered a new connection, a new twist, a new setting, a new fuse to light, more characters, more problems, and more answers.

Outlining isn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever done for a NaNo Project, but it’s already been the most productive.

What struggles are other Campers coming upon? What little moments or changes in routine have already surprised you? How’s the first week going, over all?

I’d love to hear from other WriMos!

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