No-nowrimo Recap and Review

Here we are, at last. November both dragged and flew by. My non-nanowrimo deadline has passed. How did I do? Well…

With a goal of 30,000 for the month, it was much more likely than the goal of 50k for the month, and would hardly have been less complete of a work (as discussed before, 50,000 words is not ever long enough to be a novel. Maybe once… a novella at best).

I started off pretty good, the first few days, and then, as always, I got caught up in work. I was too stressed about getting things done to channel any of my energy to writing. That’s my go-to excuse lately, but it’s true. I might have been able to do more over Thanksgiving, but it turns out being on vacation and doing a bunch of family stuff is not always the most conducive frame for writing productively. I finally managed to do a little bit of work on the novel I switched to last night.

My total was about 8500 words. True, it’s not really anywhere near my goal. Still it’s something. Last year I had a goal of just writing any amount every day (hint: specific goals are a lot more motivating), and I doubt I even made 1000 words, which means I did at least ten times better, in terms of words written, this time. That’s a pretty good improvement: if I do only five to six times more next time I attempt such a goal, I’ll be rolling in pages.

Not to mention that getting into the story last night makes it feel more likely that I’ll carry some writing motivation into December.

Thanksgiving itself was great, and maybe I’ll write about making cranberry sauce on the other blog. The pumpkin pie was excellent as well, and completely doused with whipped cream. Heh…

What to do now? Back to work tomorrow. Need to work hard, because December is at least as busy, with Christmas, as November is. I’ll try not to overspend on groceries so that I can reasonably afford gifts. Most of my food money goes toward coffee, and coffee-related items. As for now, I think I’m going to use this 50% off Starbucks coupon (today only), work out a little, and try to get through more of Just Kids–a very good and interesting book so far.

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The Latter Update

I just saw that I have 250 posts, making this 251. I suppose that’s good? I don’t know, I’m finding it hard to have opinions about many things these days. Too tired.

My plans for “NaNoNoWriMo”  over the weekend–that is, writing at all–did not go well. I didn’t even really have a good reason, unless you count watching four episodes of Dracula (which were quite fabulous. I think I’m just liking the whole Victorian England aesthetic right now, which is making me fall in love with this show). I did some work as well, but overall the whole weekend consisted of me watching hulu and sort of failing at food.

All this means that I am still sitting on only 7000 words for the entire month, probably almost none of which are really any good. I still have a chance to catch up a little over Thanksgiving, but I definitely will not be reaching my goal of 30,000 words. Oh well.

I keep trying to think of ways to fix my stupid brain so that I will write. I know I want to do it, I know I feel better when I’m writing regularly, and yet I never do. Doesn’t that sound stupid? Isn’t it nonsense?

I will post again in early December about the total NaNoNo experience, but I have a feeling I won’t have much else to share. I probably won’t post again before Friday, so Happy Thanksgiving!

November is not a good month for NaNoWriMo

This is my NaNoNoWriMo update. Before I get into explaining why November was just a bad choice on the part of the creators (of the traditional NaNo, not my version), let me recap what I’ve shared with you so far, and a little bit that is more recent, to get you up to date.

Although I was really excited about the project I chose to begin with and I started out pretty well in terms of keeping to the word count, it turned out the stories I was working on were not developed enough in my head to make it to the paper. As I’ve said to every person I’ve talked to about writing lately, that particular project needs more time to gestate. That sail lost wind and I couldn’t get it back. I felt that I would be able to get more done if I reopened my Sleeping Beauty retelling, of which I had already written about 18,000 words last year (and even earlier, probably). I dug up that file and started tacking words on to the end. I think it would have been better to re-read the beginning first, but I didn’t have time. I haven’t written much more yet, but I can at least see that story in my mind, so the switch was a good choice. I might actually be able to finish a reasonable word count.

If you have been here before, you may have seen that my goal is 30k for the month. I am doubting now that I’ll be able to make it, but 20k or even 25 seems reasonable. My new goal is a minimum of 20k  words, and with any luck as close to 30k as I can manage.

Fairly recently I reblogged a post about why NaNoWriMo doesn’t work. For me, the most important point is that most novels are longer than 50,000 words, many are well over twice that much, and some are that number many times over. So, the claim is that you can write a novel in a month, yet the word goal will not allow you to finish your story. My Sleeping Beauty novel (which does not yet have a title) is now around 20,000 words, and I’ve barely made it out of exposition. Granted a fair bit of that might be cut out later, but that only adds to my point–most novels get substantial chunks cut out of their first, very rough, drafts, because it’s good for the writer to write out every single scene and details, but it might not be good for the finished book to keep those pieces. So a novel that is 100,000 words in its final version might even be 200,000 in its first, full-bodied, uncut draft.

Of course, anyone who goes into NaNoWriMo expecting to have a perfectly packaged finished product by the end of the month is, at the very least, kidding themselves.

This argument is why NaNoWriMo as a concept is kind of flawed–as are most things in this world–but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. If I get enough momentum in my novel to keep writing it into December, January, February, until it’s finished, because of this month, that’s a good thing.

But November is such a bad time to have a goal like this. I don’t understand the logic of placing it at this time of year. Much of this I’m sure will just be my experience, but there must be some people who can relate. Let’s commiserate, shall we?    Continue reading

NaNoNo Update

Twelve days into the month, I have decided it’s time for an update. There isn’t much to tell. Here’s the main points:

 

-I did pretty well with staying on track the first few days.

-After that, I didn’t write for a few days.

-Lost momentum, and I’ve barely written anything since the very beginning of the month.

I probably should have just kept on with a story I was already into, rather than starting on short stories that had barely managed to form in my mind. I don’t have a clear picture yet, of any aspect of the stories–just bits and pieces. How was I expecting to make that into something so quickly? I feel like I’m getting nowhere.

Here’s the bright side: I’m learning from NaNoWriMo experiences. First, it seems that at least to some degree, I am more productive when I have specific goals, rather than just “Yeah, go do some writing.” Second, NaNoWriMo, being intended for churning out stories as quickly as you can, is a good way to get a story down that has already gestated for a good while in your mind (that is, for me). … Damn it. I don’t think I’m saying this right. The thought was clear in my head, but when I tried to type it out, I lost the words, and now I can’t figure out how to articulate this thought that really seems significant at the moment. I ask you, if this is still going to happen, what the hell is the point of being a writer?

Well, I’ve bashed my hopes enough for one evening, I think. Time to go curl up into fetal position until tomorrow.

No to NaNoWriMo

As I mentioned, I’m taking NaNoWriMo and semi-participating, altering the rules to fit my own schedule and needs and ability. The point that 50,000 words is usually NOT a full novel is exactly why I don’t think it matters that my own goal for the month doesn’t match that–because you won’t have a finished product no matter what you do. I have yet to go through the heavy editing, multi-draft process on anything I’ve ever written. Maybe that’s why I haven’t managed to get anywhere with any of my writing yet, who knows. But I know, like anyone knows who has tried to write beyond school papers, that the “writing part,” as difficult as it may be at times, is the easy part of writing.

 

Although I don’t think that NaNoWriMo’s claim is that anyone can write a book–at least, not one that’s worth publishing. I think it’s more of a catalyst and, now, a way for writers to make connections. Anyone who reads this and has experience with it, please tell me if the NaNoWriMo community has been beneficial to you. Maybe next year I’ll try to participate for real.

Druid Life

In January, everyone should try and choreograph a ballet. In March we should all write an opera, and in June everyone should paint a fresco. Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? And yet the idea that everyone could write a novel in November gets a good deal more acceptance. Why do we assume that, while these other forms would require skills, knowledge and practice beyond most people’s experience, anyone can write a book? It drives me round the bend.

Getting people to explore their creativity is something I’ve always considered important, but I think that should begin with a respect for whatever form you are working in. To start by assuming the form is easy, requires no study, research or insight, is to set yourself up to fail. I don’t think that benefits anyone. So, here are a few counterarguments.

Fifty thousand words is not really a book; that’s rather short. Seventy…

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[?] …Things Friday

Uh oh… WordPress seems to be doing that thing Facebook has done so often–change the appearance of the site without any notice to its users. Supposedly it’s meant to be an improvement, but I hate the new look. I miss the feeds of a few months ago. Of course, after a while I know I’ll get used to it and I won’t even remember what it used to look like. That doesn’t mean I’m not annoyed right now.

The one thing that bothers me MOST is that the “New Post” button up in the corner doesn’t take you to the same new post page that you get to on your dashboard, but rather to some oversimplified page that you have to save as a draft if you’re going to add categories or certain other features before posting. It doesn’t make sense to me. And I hate posting from that page. So I guess I’ll just keep going from the dashboard…

I just keep wondering, why is all the type so huge in the feeds? That’s not necessary. You know browsers have the ability to zoom for people who can’t see well. There is no need to attack the rest of us with enormous fonts.

There was no Halloween story written. I didn’t finish either of the two (actually three) novels I’m currently reading. I didn’t clean my room and the grape tomatoes I have left might not be good anymore.

As you might have seen, I posted about my NaNoWriMo plans, which means that the usual Five Things Friday posts I do here might be pushed aside so I can get my word count done. As these are the only regular posts I make of late, that might mean a very distinct lack of posts this month. Well, you can either forgive me or get off my blog, I guess.

Like just about everyone else I know, my life is not conducive to productivity in the things I actually want to do. Brain-tiring work, long commute, lack of proper home workstation for writing, the ever-growing mess that seems to be my apartment… and, I can’t lie, the abundance of shows and miscellaneous videos available online all converge to form this perfect recipe for laziness, procrastination, or moping. Or all three. While I KNOW that it would be much easier and more helpful to change my attitude than my circumstances, I honestly want to glare ACTUAL daggers at anyone who would say this to me. You, person who says this, are not acknowledging the fact that it’s fucking hard to make that change. Stop talking as if it’s actually simple. You moron.

Pardon me. I get a bit angry sometimes. I should work on that. Or maybe other people could work on having common sense.

Anyway, the point was that I am sick of the layout of my life causing me to continuously run into walls. I’m in a horror-movie corn maze, I reach a dead end, and I turn around only to find that another wall has grown over behind me, leaving me completely enclosed in a small square of open space. I keep having the desires to do productive, creative things, but the timing is ALWAYS, always, always wrong. I am sure this is a construct of my brain (in some cases, at least), subconsciously pushing me to just procrastinate because whatever else I was going to do (like going out to buy a latte) just seems more important. Because I thought of it first.

I’m sick of this week, too. This week should have been over two days ago, in my opinion.

Since I am just completely fed up with the growing pile of ideas that have been thrown on the procrastination heap, I want to try to change my habits and my routines. All attempts so far have proved futile. This is why I said earlier: it’s fucking hard. Bad habits, for whatever reason, are much harder to break than good ones. Probably because most good habits require conscious effort, while bad habits are pretty much about doing what’s easiest and most instantly gratifying. …Thoughts?

I will never stop hating my commute, but I suppose I can try going to bed a little earlier.

 

P.S. If you want to read more from me soon, check out http://norecipelife.wordpress.com/ in the next week or two, as I plan to make a few posts. Here, I’m mostly likely to give brief updates on my progress than anything else. Otherwise, check back in December.

NaNoNoWriMo

It’s not a typo. It stands for National Not Novel Writing Month, which is what I’m calling the unofficial, making-up-my-own-rules way that I’m doing it.

Writing bloggers started talking about plans for NaNoWriMo, in some cases, over a month ago. I do not have a network of writer friends, although I have numerous writer friends–so I’m not sure what that disconnect is about–and very few people ever comment on my blogs, so I didn’t have anyone asking me if I was planning to participate. My answer, as it has been throughout my entire life, would have been no. NaNoWriMo is not for everyone, and it’s never really appealed to me. I thought that I’d use the month last year to feed off the collective writing energy of the world and set a goal of writing any amount every day. I wrote one day the entire month and felt terrible about myself. The experience was not encouraging to me.

The girls in my office suggested doing NaNoWriMo together, and, since I’ve felt like I needed to do something to get around the years of writer’s block that I’ve been trying to push through, it seemed like a good idea. I know that I’m not signing up on the official site or anything, and I don’t think they are either. The thought is just that we all want to get back to writing, and it’s just one opportunity to do so.

A few days later, it was brought up that 50,000 words might be too ambitious for our schedules, as we all work full time and one of us (not me) has kids. I threw out the number 30,000 instead, still substantial, but a little more manageable, and easy to count–1,000 words a day. We also decided that we don’t have to have the same word goals. We’re being very loose about the rules here. I don’t know how we’re going to exchange stuff–if we’re going to actually exchange writing, or if we are just going to report on how much writing we did. I’m sure we’ll figure that stuff out.

I don’t know what I want to write yet. I’ve been lazy and unproductive for so long now that I have numerous novel and short story ideas that I’ve overthought to the point of believing most of them aren’t worth writing. Someone else is writing something better right now. Nothing I write could possibly be important.

Even if those things are true, it doesn’t really matter. If I don’t produce anything I would ever want to show to other human eyes, but I can feel that great feeling I used to have when I wrote, that will be enough of a reason to write.

I was thinking that I might start writing my fairy tale book. This will be a collection of fairy/folk tales NOT based on old stories (at least not in an obvious way). I’m sure they will have elements of traditional tales, but they will not be the same stories, or reimaginings of them, as I would usually do. The world has changed so much that sometimes the old stories can’t address concepts that we deal with now. We need folk tales of our own age, and I have a few in mind already. The question is always whether I have enough ideas to really turn it into something… or maybe that isn’t the question. Maybe the ideas I have are enough to get me going, and more will come as I go on.

Maybe I should join a writing group. I’ve never had one. I’ve always done it all on my own. And that’s gotten me nowhere, so… maybe.

Word of the day: Maybe.