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
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.
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.
I dream up scenarios. I can’t help it! I like to live in my head and image a likely, positive (sometimes negative) direction with small life events. I guess I’m an optimism but this is why I see myself as a storyteller. I just need to fine a way to take these thoughts and put them down on paper where they can be a short story or pieces of fiction. That is the hard part.
I’ve written a few words here and there and nothing seems to come to completion. I write 500 words and the next day I realize I don’t know where I’m going with the piece but I write maybe another 200 and stop. The struggle is real and completely my fault. I don’t know if I should keep writing and see if an idea will present itself or if I should try to outline a story for more direction. Could work for the better except what is that story line. I guess until I figure it out I’ll keep tip tapping away. Who knows, a scenario can pop up and turn into something. The thing I hope to learn is, how to find a story? I keep trying, struggling, and failing.
I keep pushing myself to write everyday. I mean I know this is what other authors did but when did they realize a piece was something to work on and edit. Just have to keep writing and hope to have those answers in the future. Hopefully, sooner better than later.
What do you do with a blank page? It is probably the hardest thing to fill. Only be creative. Right? Words form sentences that then tell a story. Finding the story is the hardest thing. Look at all those artist out there pushing their works like it’s the easiest thing in the world. But here I am typing away. Trying to find a story to make my voice heard. My voice.
The true problem, I’m unsure what to post. These posts have become too few and far between. I think I have a topic to write about, I want to post about my anxieties, but I don’t want my job to find out since some of my anxieties come from work. Also, I don’t want to sound as if I’m complaining. In the height of a moment it never sounds amusing. Humor takes work.
But I have been writing more often lately. I leave, take a bus to the train, to find encouragement from a creative group, to write. It’s fun, relaxing, and we also do work. More than I do at home. At home it’s easy to turn on the TV or search the Internet. TV is not the only problem. I don’t feel I have a space at home. My desk is a mess, my area cramped with objects, and a hole in the ceiling from a leak that gives a draft and amplifies the noise from the apartment upstairs. Upstairs the children run with heavy feet but the screeching or crying scream of a child, the yelling discipline that only seems to make more noise, and tense situations makes it impossible to concentrate. In a moment the thought hanging on the end of a sentence is gone.
A cafe is a space of noise but it’s static. Yes, people talk, and the machines make food and drinks, but it’s not familiar. There is no WiFi so my computer is only a recording machine. WiFi hasn’t been a problem outside my home. Cafe WiFi has only seems to encouraged me to write in the past. My words come faster. The conversation may be a little too long but its just the creative energy from pears with the same struggle. We all agree to work with easy and funny conversation, overcoming our insecurity whether it’s writing in public, not having a specific topic, or struggling with a piece.
You may see an influx of book reviews. I’m on a reading kick and sometimes get Advance Reader Copies (ARC) from my job. I figure why not turn the love of reading into writing. Plus if I can support/help another author, why not?!
I’ve been struggling. Writing is always a struggle for me. I’m sure for most. And lately I’ve been frustrated with not having a point, purpose, or theme when writing. Fighting is what we writers do. Fight finding time. Finding a comfort. Fighting the mind. Negative or just no thoughts at all. I know I need to sit down at the computer and practice because with practice is improvement.
This hectic schedule I’ve been keeping up has drained me and made me anxious. I have always been one to look and plan too far ahead. That can hinder. I try to think back to Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Just take one thing at a time. This is not just with writing. I try to remember to breath. When sitting down at the computer, watching the blinking cursor is emotional. Especially when it only seems to blink. I don’t have the opportunity to write at the same time everyday and I have to fight that need. Just trying to find steps in the right direction. So, hello ARC! Let’s kick start my writing brain.
Maybe everything else weighing on my mind will also shift into place.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day I stood up a lab partner. Why would I do such a mean thing? Anxiety, nerves, and fear. I can still picture him sitting in the Hunter Library at a table against the window. He had his book out and he would glance out the window while he waited for me to show. I hid behind a library stack. I would pace away and walk back ready to show. The moment before I would reach his line of sight I would stop and take my stand back behind the bookcase. If others walk by I would stare at the shelves of books. I can’t tell you what books that section held because I never read the bindings. I just thought about how I would walk up to him, sit down, and study.
I thought about making some silly slip up. It was a study section which meant I would have to talk about a subject we took together. Talking meant he may find out he was partnered with a mute, limited vocabulary, or studding spaz. What happens if we started studying and he realized I was just a dumb broad who didn’t really belong in college. I panic at the though of what if he liked me. It’s amazing how the brain can just keep thinking of situations. The situations become more outlandish and anxiety becomes bigger. This kid just wanted to study with his lab partner and in that library I was making up fictitious scenarios psyching myself out.
I forgot the lame excuse I gave him the next time we met in class but we never rescheduled that section (probably my doing). I am not in touch with that lab partner anymore but sometimes I wish I was. I would explain and give him a proper apology. I’m not over my social anxieties but I never did this again. Just have to learn to grow up and get over the fact meeting people is not a big deal. Actually, it can be a lot of fun.