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NaNoWriMo 2016, Lessons Learned

6 Dec

So I thought that now we’re almost a week into final month of 2016, I’d tell you how my NaNoWriMo went this year. It failed.

I did not write 50,000 words of novel. In fact, I bailed on day 4.

On day 1 I wrote 2212 words.
On day 2 I wrote 2288 words.
On day 3 I wrote 1730 words.

I called my failure on day 4 having written a total of 6230 words towards a new novel. So why was this?

I called the close of play for several reasons.

1) I knew I couldn’t sustain a narrative with only 1 character.
2) I hadn’t done any prep work.
3) The research was digging into my writing time.
4) I decided too late to actually take part.
5) I’d not long moved house.

So what did I do for the rest of NaNoWriMo?

I left it a few days before deciding I’d still like to write stuff, so I went the NaNoRebel route aiming for 50k of anything that’s not a novel.

How did I fare with that task? Again, I failed.

To be precise, I wrote 20 complete short stories totalling 28,887 words. While this may not be 50k, I counted it as a personal victory for me.

It’s 20 stories that I didn’t have before November.
20 stories I can potentially send out to submission.

I didn’t write every day. But I made a lot more words than I expected to.

I don’t see my not hitting 50k for either reason as an actual fail.
I’ve written stuff that didn’t exist before. I wrote anything at all!
That’s a big thing for me, considering how my brain gets on certain days.

What I’m saying is, take what you will from your NaNo experience.
You might not have written a novel, or reached 50k but what ever you DID accomplish was through your own hard work.

Not all short stories are

20 Nov

Short, that is.

So I just got finished writing “The Lanyards”.

After 6 days of writing (off and on, some days no writing happened at all) I came out with just over 7000 words. 7328 words in total.

If you know me, you’ll know that’s a lot of writing. Normally I average around 1500 words for a short story, sometimes even less.

I had the idea way back in January, it was something I noticed when coming home on the bus one day.

I didn’t use everything I wrote in my initial outline, a couple of large plot points were changed, mostly due to organic growth of characters and plot development.

My brother Gareth forwarded an idea for the end, I didn’t use it exactly, instead it inspired me and I used a heavily modified version.

I think it came out well and I look forward to reading it in a few months for proofing and final tweaks.

Losing the love…

16 Nov

Since the death of my Mum, I’ve had to come to terms with not just her loss. But the loss of my desire to write as well.

I knew with her being unwell, I wasn’t going to be able to write anywhere near as much as my output last year. Once she passed, my writing just nosedived into oblivion.

It appears that despite not finishing much, I HAVE been writing.

Lots of outlines, frameworks, partial stories.

I just went through what I’ve been calling “a small pile of ideas” for the last few months. Turns out it was a whole lot more than that. It wasn’t small, for starters.

I didn’t count what was in it. I didn’t dare.

At a rough guess I’d say there were at least 30 pieces in there. And that was without counting the things I saw folded inside a Notepad as well.

So maybe I didn’t lose the love, not entirely. Maybe I shunted my focus into a different direction.

There’s a lot there that can easily be finished. A lot that can easily expanded into actual stories too.

There’s a lot.

So I have been writing. Just not the way I was used to.

It’s going to take a long time to find the path back to a proper writing routine. I don’t know how long that path is.

My general feeling is no one human being will ever live long enough to finish all the things I’ve got started there. I’ll just have to try chipping my way through.

Ray Bradbury Challenge, Week 43.

22 Oct

Just finished this weeks story, an idea I had about 4 days ago. I’d written down the outline (quite detailed, long enough to be a short story on its own!) and written 4 lines of basic dialogue which was the end. Then I didn’t feel like writing, and felt I had no decent ideas.

I went with this one anyway, choosing to push through lack of motivation and a low emotional state.

It’s 1551 words and it’s finished. Currently it looks like a crapload of exposition and a shitty rushed ending.
How I’ll feel about it when I come to do more thorough editing is another matter.
At least I’m done for this week.

There’s still “Hesketh Heath” (title still subject to change), which is my attempt at a Jane Austen parody, still unfinished but close to it, still sitting on the desktop with 2 other ideas.

My current lack of motivation says they can both go and fuck themselves sideways with a cactus.
That’s how little I felt like writing today.

Depression 2, Not Electric Boogaloo

14 Jun

Am firmly in the grip of the old black dog again, Meester Depression.

Opened the curtain for some sunlight to see if that’d perk me up. NOPE.
Opened the window for some air to see if that’d make me feel better. NOPE.
Tried some music to see if it could lift me a tad. NOPE.
Made a nice big cold drink of squash to see if that improved life even a fraction. NOPE.

Lots of nope.

It’s amazing how even Tour De France (By Kraftwerk, used in the movie Breakdance) can’t even pick me up right now. I need something INSANELY upbeat & happy.
It’s also too effing hot. That’s not helping. I’m half Welsh. I need rain and overcast skies.

I thought typing up my writing notes would improve things, it didn’t.
It just annoyed me more about not feeling able to write today.
What helps even less is noticing my spelling has gone to hell in a handcart too whilst doing this.

When in doubt, resort to Pacific by 808 State.

Help me Obi Wan Kinobi. You’re my only hope.

Health/Writing Update

17 Apr

Managed to damage my right hand yesterday, I think I was gaming too long and gave myself either RSI or Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
Either way, it’s now uncomfortable to use a mouse and a bit difficult to type with both hands.
Fortunately I CAN type with my left hand.

Gonna try and rest it as best I can.

Still haven’t made a start on this weeks Bradbury Challenge though, which this will now make tougher.
I had no motivation yesterday.
Hopefully after food today I will write it.
I guess we’ll see later.

Update

3 Apr

Had some good news today, not sure if I can share any details as yet so it’s just going to be listed as “good news” until I know that I can reveal more.

Reading Rick Wakemans biog, very enjoyable so far.

A bit low in the creativity arc this week, I had to really motivate myself hard to do this weeks Bradbury Challenge story.
I’m totally not feeling any urge, need or desire to write anything this week.
I may be on shutdown until next Wednesday.

Hopefully something I read, listen to, watch or see will kick-start me again.
The lows are low, but you have to take the rough with the smooth in this life.

The only thing keeping me up is knowing I can tell you about this news soon.
Be good to each other.
I’m off for a mug of hot Bovril & some toast.