NaNoWriMo – The End?

Well, National Novel Writing Month is over and according to the NaNoWriMo rules for winning, I didn’t win. It is easy to feel disappointed when so many around you are celebrating. It seems so very black and white, you either win or lose. However, writing isn’t like that. By November 30th, I had written 34,400 words and I think that’s pretty damn good.

I started off the challenge strong but struggling. I had to find ways to keep my mind on task. Sometimes it was stepping away from the computer, getting some tea, or a snack. If I hadn’t hit the daily goal it was getting my ass back in the writing chair. I learned to adjust my personal word count goals depending on the day of the week. There was no time to go back and edit, because I had a word total to hit.

The second week, plot problems started to pop up. I still kept writing deciding to flush out characters through scene writing but by the end of this week I started to feel the creative drain. If I wasn’t partaking in this competition I think I would have went back to rewrite and rework some scenes. Instead, I pushed forward.

Week three was the great word count slow down. The intense writing schedule, increase in holiday engagements, lack of story structure and motivation hit me hard. I was feeling tapped out, overwhelmed, and disappointed. I entered week four considerably behind my word count. I had to make a decision, I could write 5,000 words a day to win the challenge and probably grow to hate all I had accomplished thus far or carry on writing  as a writer might. So the last week, I wrote 1000 words a day. I added more to my story outline, character lists, and world-building frame work. I knew I wasn’t going to finished. Why stress out? I have never felt better about a decision.

I was feeling empty near the end. I thought I would be a let down because I didn’t finish the challenge. No matter the word count accomplished you have to remember you created something. Time to stop comparing ourselves to others, recognize our achievements, and keep up the momentum gained by attempting NaNoWriMo. I didn’t write 50,000 words but I have over 34,000 words I didn’t have before. Also, I am making writing a habit which I think, for me, is most important in the end. This is only my first draft, time to start revising.

Congrats

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NaNoWriMo: Week Three

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Here is an update of a post that is week three and most of four but better late than never. I don’t think I’ll finish NaNoWriMo this time around. There are four more days to write 50,000 words and I would have to write about 5,000 words a day to reach the goal. I don’t see it happening.

Thanksgiving week was not kind to me. Too many engagements and not enough time or motivation. I was still writing but my 2,000 average word count dropped to about 300 words a day and my 3 day lead, well, I’m now 12 days behind. I finished my story and learned I needed more action to fill in the middle. Also, need more characters.

I’ll keep trying to write and see how many words I can end with but my first NaNoWriMo looks like a bust. I’ll give more of an update of my positives and negatives when it is officially over. Until then, got to keep writing.

 

 

NaNoWriMo: Week Two

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Everything started out so well this week. I had direction. I had confidence. I was excited.  Now, not so much. About half way through this week, I finally hit a wall. Plot problems. I knew it had to happen but I just thought I’d push through. It’s caused me to write a lot of character history through scenes. Not bad but I want to flush out the story more and I don’t know where to go.

It’s hard to write 2000 words everyday. I know the NaNoWriMo goal is 1,667 but I’m was trying to get ahead. It feels nice to have a buffer zone. I’m sure everyone who is participating can relate, but today there has been a quiet voice whispering in my ear to give up. I still typed out a few words but not enough. I should focus on the positives to help motivate. I’m half way done with a little over 25,000 words and that’s an amazing feat. Just feeling a little run down at the moment and seeing the glass half empty.

Going to try to push though and keep moving forward.

 

 

Week One of NaNoWriMo

Week one complete and I’m going to pat myself on the back, I have done well. I have ended this first week with 11,071 words. Unbelievable. I’m so proud of myself. The first day was a struggle. I don’t have an exact time because I kept repeatedly stopping for unknown lengths but I think it took me like four or five hours to write 1,667 words. That first day I was not confident I would keep up the pace but with everyday I’ve found myself writing faster and stopping less. Now, when I feel I need a break, I’ve created better exercises to keep me motivated. I’ve learned in those tough times to walk around, get some tea, or a snack. After one of those short breaks, if I haven’t reached goal for the day I always force myself back to writing.

According to the NaNoWriMo time table, I should have hit 11,667 words on day seven so I am 596 words behind. Ugh. My biggest writing hurtle, the weekends. It’s how I fell behind this week. Saturday and Sunday is the day I spend with people and get projects scratched off the chore list. I did write, I just didn’t hit the numbers I needed to reach the word count goals. To make up for it I’ve kicked my writing into high gear and have hit over 2,000 words the last two days! I hope I can keep up this pace. Fingers crossed.

It’s so positive in the beginning. Creating, writing, and feeling less self doubt. I’ve thought a lot lately about keeping this pace going after November. Well, maybe not 2,000 words a day pace but finally find paper for the half stories I’ve kept in my head. I think it’s too early to make any promises after all I’ve only just started but I’m feeling good. Now, please excuse me, I have a story to write.

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Participating in NaNoWriMo

Time to power up the laptop because November is here which means so is NaNoWriMo. You may wonder, what is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month? Well, starting every November 1st people attempt to write 50,000 words by November 30. You can always write more but not less, at least not for this challenge. Since this is a square one draft, you can make all the mistakes. Mistakes encouraged. Edit in December. Just write 50,000 words in 30 days! Why would anyone undertake this torturous task? Everyone has their own reasons. Why 50,000 words? It was decided long ago 50,000 words was a challenging but not impossible goal. Also, some famous classic novels, like The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, are about 50,000 words.

I joined the website 9 years ago but I can’t recall ever participating. Some years it seemed just more stress and exhaustion on top of my busy schedule. Other years I had all the time but none of the motivation. It’s funny how much less you do something when you have more time. I’ve been writing with my free time but I could write more. With NaNoWriMo I figure what better way to push better habits then 1,667 words a day.

Seeing that daily word count goal made me a little nervous. So, I figured, best to be prepared. During October I tried to outline a bit of the novel I plan to write since I didn’t want to stall in the middle. The outline was going well. I was world building and constructing characters but I stalled when trying to produce an antagonist. After much time spend overthinking the creation of a villain, I have decided to leave the antagonist a mystery and let this character reveal when it’s ready.

I know one of the biggest problem I struggled with is thinking the first draft has to be perfect. I have given up on some projects  in the past with this thought of book perfection the first time round. What am I thinking? Seriously! I need to allow this writing to suck.I really have a need to finish this challenge. I have a few unfinished projects in my hard drive and I really need to stop giving up on stories. Even if it’s fashioning a one demential villain or this thought of the only good ending is an epic one.

I know NaNoWriMo is not a solution. I don’t expect some novel miracle. I’m going into this project looking to overcome some of the insecurities that seem to stop me from reaching my goals. I’m just using this challenge as a way to make it past all these cliché road bumps and librate myself from my fears. In the end it is all up to me. November is just a start and day one is looking good.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

Quote # 1 – Sylvia Plath

Being born a woman is an awful tragedy. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars—to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording—all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to talk to everybody I can as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night.
– Sylvia Plath

Creating Gibberish Almost Instantly

I’m still trying to figure out how people do it? How do they sit down and write stories? Because I’ve been sitting down and writing gibberish or nothing at all. Nothing is not my goal so it’s mostly gibberish.

Lately I have been trying to think about what I want to write and I can’t seem to make up my mind. Fantasy or Literary Fiction? Maybe I should skip down the Science Fiction road. Sigh. I love to fantasize about the future but am filled with anxiety from the pass. All this, I believe, may answer my next question, what is causing this writers block? I have dug deep and found it’s probably my fear of failure. (Ah, my oldest friend. How have you been?) I think that could be the thing stopping me from forming ideas, thinking. Living in my head is the worst thing I can do right now so I will try to make something live on the page. I just keep hoping if I keep writing gibberish something will spark and catch fire. Here I go again. Hope it’s not the ever present clique. Lets see what my stumbling fingers create today.

Book Review: Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine

“Someday My Prince Will Come” is a true-life story about a girl who has the courage to purse her childhood dreams.

I wrote this review for The Celebrity Cafe probably about seven years ago. I have notice they have clean their website of my writings so, over time, I’ve been posting some of my past work here.
Jerramy Fine grew up wanting to be a princess. Born in Colorado to hippie parents that named her a boy’s name, she takes the reader through her hippie, farm town childhood. She feeds chickens and never really fits in at school for her royal ways. At the age of six she picks her husband, Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips. She even writes letters to Peter in care of Buckingham Palace.
Fine grows up planning her life around going to England and fitting in among royalty. While most girls grow out of Disney fairy tales (her parents never allowed her to watch) she holds on to her dreams. She travels to London for grad-school, meets Princess Anne, and Earl Spencer. She spends a holiday in India, has struggles with flat-mates, expenses of London, and dating.
Fine’s insensitivity to her parents and small town did become a little tiresome half way through the book. If people compromise I guess there would be no book. At times she sounded a little naïve in romance and men. I felt she was trying hard to keep the fairy tale princess theme going and sometimes it came off flat. But she kept the story flowing with her humorist voice and dramatic adventures.
Jerramy Fine’s memoir is a very light and funny read. I found it refreshing to read a memoir that wasn’t all doom and gloom. She is witty and entertaining. I found myself laughing out loud many times. I admire Fine for her determination and endurance setting out and staying true to her goals.

3 out of 5 stars.

Inner Struggles of a Writer

People, I think I’m in a writing slump. I wouldn’t say I am suffering from writer’s block because I am still writing. I say slump because I sit down to write and nothing satisfying happens. I expect some goals to be accomplished but story idea productivity has become stagnant and frustration has followed.

I know I’ve been too hard on myself. With extra time to write I expected more work and have been creating less. My goals are too ambitious. With the extra time I expected a story to bloom on a page the moment I started writing regularly again and take shape, after editing, into a beautiful completed piece of writing. It hasn’t happen that way. The stories seem to stall soon after I’ve started. I’ve been trying to outline some work but struggle. To make good use of my time and not feel like an unproductive moocher, recently I’ve been editing an old piece from college. I’m not crazy about it. I have voices in my head that tell me, something doesn’t sit right, this piece will define my writing style, and this is not the kind of work I want to be defined by.

Okay Brain, shhhhh.

It’s time to just write. Even if it’s an edit, I’m writing. Just finish the story. Finish any story! Nothing saying this narrative will ever be publish but I must keep working. Not every morsel of fiction is meant for publishing. I do believe writing more will awaken my sleepy imagination. Got to stop this head of mind from mucking up my creative process. I must focus on a small task I can accomplish and use that positive energy to push through these anxieties. I know it’s not easy. Making mistakes is a part of the writing process but giving up is the worst failure of all.

Writing slump, come at me, because I’m pushing through.

Another Atmosphere

With the help of Google maps I found a cafe. Well, it’s a Starbucks but I can walk their, drink tea, and write. Well, I hope I can write. I’ll be by myself. I got used to the companionship of my fellow creative friends and lovely cafe people in New York. Also, sometimes people can’t help but think, “that person looks bored, typing away, let me help by being a distraction.” Happens if you read. Or wear headphones.

I guess you could say if I don’t want to be distracted I should stay home but sometimes a different atmosphere is needed and home is filled with distractions. The noise of a coffee shop is like static or rain. It can help focus. Help tune out the bullying voices in your head. And if you’re stumped there is always people watching. Need an outfit for your character? Look up and use something around you. Have trouble writing dialog? Listen. Being in a public place and just listening can help find rhythm, or accents.

Also, exercise. I like knowing there is something in walking distance. Days I feel like a lump or am having trouble breaking through the creative wall, walking  loosens my limbs and brain waves which helps writing.

But i’m getting ahead of myself. Have to get their and hang out a few times to see if this is the place for me. But there is hope. Hope and tea.