Today I’ve written 700 words. All of which were done during my lunch break. I’ve passed 12k now and am not even going to hit 20k. I’m not happy about this, but I can live with it.
The last few months have been super busy but for all the right reasons. The biggest, and only, downside is that I haven’t been able to keep up with writing. I’ve had a couple of big failures (okay, not that big but they suck) where I’ve felt pretty desolate. One thing in particular recently dented me pretty hard as I realised I’m not capable, or maybe ready, to be a person in my writing community where I can be somewhat of a leader. After I had that revelation I came the closes to quitting writing that I’ve ever been. Even to the point where I had two major writing related commitments that I was going to complete and then quit.
I’m past that feeling of desolation though. I’m feeling energised and I’m having ideas again. I need to find a better way to make the most of my time though. That’s something I’ll be working on in the near future.
I often find listening to podcasts quite inspiring. Especially when they’re talking to someone who is working their arse off to get to their goals. An episode of The Horror Show with Brian Keene featured writer and musician Matt Hayward and each time I hear this episode I can’t help but be inspired. Please clicky the link and see what I mean.
Good evening folks. I’ve written about 1100 words today, despite a few hurdles that tried to get in the way of words being put down.
What I’d like to talk about tonight is the picture below. That notepad has had recorded in it almost every word I’ve written since early 2014. That’s over a million words of fiction. Stories published in five anthologies, and a lot of words that will never see the light of day. I was going to say there was a lot of failed stories amongst those words, but although they may never see the light of day that doesn’t mean they failed. They taught me lesson after lesson about my craft. I’m a touch shattered right now (head cold), so I’m not going to start listing those lessons. No matter how crap you may think your writing, or painting, singing, or whatever passion you have. Those hours of practice will make you better.
So, we are just a few days away from this years NaNoWriMo. I’ve got my regional kick-off party this afternoon which I’m really looking forward to, and one last meet of a regular meet organised by an ML on Wednesday.
I am really excited for this years NaNo. Last year got derailed by life, which could happen at anytime to be fair.
This year I am going to fo do something a little different. Last year I had to write a short story for an anthology which I had a very short window to have it done in. Thankfully it was one that I had an idea for anyway and was able to get it done. But it took me away from NaNo. So this year I’m going to write a short story collection. I think some will be very short, barely a thousand words. While others may get up to novella lengths. I’m doing this partly to be flexible. If I have a sudden submission I need to do (I’m not expecting to but you never know) then I can add that story as part of the collection. Another factor is I always get to a point where I hit a wall. I’ll find a plot hole, or the story comes to an end 15,000 words before the 50k. So if I get stuck this year, I can just switch to another story and get rolling again (hopefully!). There is also the chance that one will catch fire and then if that happens I’ll role with it for as long as I can.
All I want to do preparation wise before Thursday is figure out which of the story ideas I’ve got I want to (and am ready to) start first. Some ideas are already quite well thought, others are just one sentence.
It also allows me to crack on with my main project as well. I can always write scenes in my NaNo file and then copy and paste those scenes into the projects main folder.
I am going to be hosting a couple of write-ins this year in my region, which is something I’ve not really done before but I’m looking forward to it. Being an ML (Municipal Liaison) is something that appeals to me, but I work long hours and need to get my head around my own time management before I commit to being an ML.
This will be my eighth NaNoWriMo, I’ve hit 50k three times in the previous seven years and I do consider myself a veteran. I know it’s good to write more than the minimum when you can as there will always be days where you won’t hit the 1666 or get a zero word day. No matter how well you plan, life can get in the way in ways that you have no control over. And, this is important, it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit the 50k. What matters is you just write. Put words down on paper or into the digital world. Don’t worry about editing. Don’t worry about whether it makes any sense. Don’t worry about how many words more others are doing (some people can write at unbelievable speeds). Just write your story. Worry about everything else after NaNo. You can’t edit nothing.
Just a really quick little post before I get off to sleep. I’ve written 540 words today. A few words here, a few there and boom! A decent word count for a busy day.
If you scroll down my feed you’ll see a post I reblogged from The Horror Show With Brian Keene where the guest was Matt Hayward. Hearing his story was really fucking eye opening and inspiring. It really got me thinking and I really need to up my game. I need more determination and focus. I do get these things but I loose them easily so I’m going to focus on keeping them. The way I’m going to start is with a simple and small list of five things I want to do this week. I won’t list them here, simply because it’s late and I’ve not got it to hand, but these five things are very achievable if I keep my head.
Each one of these little pieces of wisdom from Amber Jerome-Norrgard is very spot on. A few in particular struck a cord with me in a way that I wouldn’t of been able to appreciate five years ago. Some of them are obvious, and almost common sense, in a way but I for one don’t always see this in a conscious way. So to have them written in front of me makes them very bold thoughts that are currently running around my head!
A few did tickle my funny bone and a few I wish I could put on billboards on major roads!
I do seriously need these in some sort of sub-dermal electronic tattoo on the inside of my eyelids and I get a random one each time I close my eyes.
So this year I made my first expedition into FanFiction, and I’ve loved it. I probably learnt more about writing while working on this FanFiction piece than I have done in the last two years.
If I look at what I learned most then I am looking at history, background, the depth that makes both characters and stories great. Those are things that I feel I lack in my own work. In the FanFiction world I’ve been playing in I’ve found it really easy to write a story because I’ve got an entire world already mapped out. I’ve got characters who I love and know what their motivations are. I know the history that has led the characters to the key points of their lives. I know what their motivations are, what their goals are. I also had in my head where I wanted to take the story and this is me doing that. So that has helped.
This has all shown me that I do need to do a lot more work on my background details. The simple things like character histories is something that I had barely thought about. I’d thought about things like where they’d grown up, and what their family had been like but I hadn’t really appreciated how that affects the characters and their take on the world until this FanFiction piece.
I’m trying to get some of these lessons that I’ve learnt into the planning details of what I’ll be working on in the future. It’s not been as easy as I thought it would be but I’m working on it.
I’ve got to get some work done on this piece of FanFiction and I’ll be looking to get it wrapped and onto the next story in that universe that I’m thinking of starting in the next twelve months.
Well, I’ve had a relatively productive week. I’ve managed to hit a thousand words a day this week, except for Thursday that is, and over the last couple of days I’ve felt like I’m getting back into the mindset I had at the start of the year. Writing is still quite difficult and isn’t feeling as natural as it has done, but the urge to write is stronger now than it has been for the last four or five months or so. I’m also feeling the creative juices beginning to flow again. While at work yesterday I was actually having ideas and having to scribble them down quickly in my notepad. That’s something that hasn’t happened like that in quite some time. I’ve had the odd idea but yesterday I was having ideas that sparked further thoughts which resulted in more notes being taken. What I think helped was that I sat in Costa for fifteen minutes before work and forced myself to work on some character details for a project I’m looking at working on next year.
Most of this week has been working on typing up my handwritten draft of The Space Watch, last night I finished that and have sent it off to Owen for his thoughts on it. I’ve stuck quite well to our outlines but I have deviated and added a POV which we hadn’t discussed but that I think adds a layer to the story and also fills in what I think would have been holes to the plot once the first draft was done. I’ve also changed the gender of an antagonist (it just kinda happened and has worked out well), and added a fair bit of minor world building details that we haven’t discussed but came out during the writing process. At the moment its at 14k words, and if I remember right we were looking at either a 30k or 50k target. I honestly can’t remember which, but I’m not sure how long it’s going to wrap up at. I’m thinking we’re about a third of the way through. My gut is saying 30k but we’ll have to wait and see how it goes as we work on it, which will probably be after NaNoWriMo.
With what I’ve gotten done of The Space Watch with Owen I’m going to focus on getting last years NaNoWriMo piece wrapped up. I’ve got a long way to go on it, but as it’s part editing and part adding a whole new character and his POV I’m hoping I can get a good pace going and be nearly done by the time NaNo starts.
Speaking of NaNo, I know what I’m doing this year. I’m going to type up a piece I wrote earlier in the year. I know that’s kind of cheating but I’d like to get it done and have a digital draft completed by the end of the year, and I think I’ll be able to get it done during NaNo. Next year I’m going to plan things out better, as I’m writing this I think I’ve just decided what to do for next years NaNo.
I can’t really remember the last time where I’ve had such a long period where writing has been as difficult as it has been this year. I think I know one of the reasons why it has been, and I’ve moved to sort that out, but I need to learn how to make sure I’m writing regardless of what’s going on around me. I know I can do it, and I’m much happier in myself when I am being productive. I just need to keep getting the work done. I’m not ignoring the buzz I got from Bristol Horror Con last weekend either. Meeting Cat and Lynx Raven for the first time after building up a great rapport with them online was a serious highlight of the year for me. But I also met some other fantastic people and just the feel of the event and the energy that was there was so infectious and has really rammed home a few things to me.
Yesterday I didn’t get anything done. By the time I got home and sorted a few pieces out it was well gone eight and I was just wiped out. So I didn’t do anything aside from making a few notes on a couple of projects.
I had a decent day with mindset though; I’ve been re-listening to The Nerdist Way by the awesome Chris Hardwick. I’ve had this on audiobook for a couple of year but have only listened to it once, so I decided to listen to it again and where I’m a little more mature a lot more of the content of Hardwick’s book makes sense to me. Hardwick isn’t some self-proclaimed life coach, if you don’t know the name he’s a stand up comedian, TV Presenter, Podcaster, gave birth to Nerdist, and a shed tonne of other things. What I like about this book it Hardwick is talking about the things that he has done to make his life better, and although it doesn’t necessarily match what I’d like to do, or am even in a position to do it’s been a great eye opener and I’m going to listen to it a few more times in the next few months and try to strengthen this pro-active mindset it’s fueling.
This coincides with a general desire to live a little better then I have been having. I’d like to live a little healthier, live with a little more focus as well and make better use of my time.
When I am being productive I feel so much happier in myself, and it’s a feeling I’d like to get more used to. With all the story ideas bouncing around my head there’s no reason why I can’t achieve more than I am now.
When I wrote my last post on Sunday I mentioned that I was a little nervous about getting stuck into editing, but I dove in Sunday all the same and knocked out fifty pages of 1.5 spaced A4. On Monday night I steamed through another twenty-two pages, and last night I got through another twenty-five pages.
Getting on with this editing has been just like getting back on a bike and has been a damn sight easier than I was expecting it to be. It’s not been a walk in the park but is has been quite straight forward.
It’s a lesson that I need to let take hold in my head. Stop worrying over something that I know I can do, just because I haven’t done something for a while doesn’t mean I’ve lost all ability in the field. I’m almost at a hundred pages of making these edits to my novella, in three days. It’s not a nightmare, it’s not (for me) the dreaded act of fixing the novella. At over the halfway point it’s straightforward and moving at a good pace.
So the angst is redundant here, I can do this. Like most of writing, it’s just a case of sitting down and getting it done!