So Much Catching Up…

From the looks of the blog, I’ve been away for a year without updates. A lot has happened in my writerly life in that time, I just haven’t taken the time to come back and update here. So I’ll run down a brief list of what I’ve done…

Last May I attended the DFW Writer’s Convention. It was fantastic and I am going back this year. It was my first chance pitching a story to a literary agent (although I did a consultation rather than a true pitch since my manuscript was unfinished). I took wonderful classes and met some other great writer’s. I highly recommend this conference.

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I took the summer off of all things writing related to drown in work. Then came fall where I completed my MA in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. This meant writing a Fiction thesis which was hard, and rewarding, and awesome. I graduated in January with a 4.0.

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I’m currently in the process of polishing my thesis into something publishable so I can begin the process of querying agents. At DFW Con this year I’ll be pitching it to an agent for real (I guess). I should probably get on that.

In November, on top of writing my Rumpelstiltskin retelling for my thesis, I took on a retelling of Hades and Persephone set in pseudo historical England where Hades is a Necromancer and Persephone can raise the dead with a touch. It was my most challenging NaNoWriMo yet because I had work and school to contend with. I was so burned out by December that I haven’t even opened the Scivener file again. However, I don’t regret doing it at all. I’m glad to know I could take on the challenge and I love the story I created (even if it needs heaps of work).

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Post graduation, I decided to take time off to relax without school bearing down on me. I’ve had two months with no writing deadlines and have frankly let myself get rusty. Now it is the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo and…uh…I am admittedly unprepared. I had a story idea percolating and when I sat to outline it I realized there was just no middle. I also had no buzz in me to create one. I decide to set that plot bunny aside until I can feed it and care for it property. That leaves me midway through the first day of Camp changing projects and starting a new outline…

And away we go…

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2016

Since apparently NaNoWriMo is the only time I can convince myself to set aside writing time, I will be participating in Camp NaNo this April. I am excited to use this opportunity to hopefully finish out the manuscript I started in November. I passed the 50k word mark for NaNoWriMo and I think another 30k would complete the story.

That said, I’ll be balancing writing time with one graduate school class, so that should be fun.

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With a Fizzle…

So I did Camp NaNoWriMo for July. Technically, I’ll have won once I verify my word count. Yet, this is the least exciting victory yet.

Back in April, I churned through 30,000 words for Camp NaNo and felt genuinely accomplished. It was a challenge, but not impossible. After doing NaNo in November, writing only 30k in a month seemed sort of easy. 1,000 words a day, how hard is that?

Well, July came in to steal that sense of victory.

First of all, I’m a children’s librarian. That means that June and July are Summer Reading Club at work. Which means all day, every day at work is hectic and most of the responsibility falls to me. I decided to set my word count at only 10,000 so I wouldn’t feel strained.

Well, after a few days I was zooming ahead of my goal and started to feel cocky. I started bumping my word count goal up until I got to 20,000.

Flash forward to the third week. I am tired. I had a bad allergic reaction to who knows what that made me feel horrible for several days. Work is eating me up, and the words aren’t coming.

So I admitted defeat. I rolled my word count back down to 10k, checked my current total (10,880) and called it done.

And so I won Camp NaNo for July 2015. Not with a bang, but with a fizzle.

On The Brink

I officially have 2,105 words left until I win National Novel Writing Month!

As I am poised on the brink of 50,000 words, I wanted to take a moment to reflect. I thought I would post more updates, but I got carried away in the writing (imagine that) and didn’t come here to post. However, I wanted to take a second and speculate what it will be like to pass 50k.

Firstly, I am bad at committing to tasks. Putting a due date on things is the easiest way to make me not want to do them. For example, I love to knit, but I just abandoned a knit-a-long because something about knitting under a deadline makes it less enjoyable. So I am amazed at myself for sticking to this task for nearly a month. I actually expected to lose interest about a week ago. Granted, I may have tried to finish as quickly as possible to try and finish before that happened…

I am feeling good about approaching the finish line but, what is scary, is that the story is no where near finished. I don’t just mean that it needs mounds of revision (though it does). I mean that there is close to another half that remains to be written. NaNoWriMo encouraged me to churn out 50k words, but I have some concern over what will encourage me to finish the rest of the writing. As I have written, the story is coming to me easier and easier. Yet, there have been plenty of days where I would have avoided writing if not for my NaNo commitment.

So I am almost afraid to finish those last words. Will that drive to write disappear? I have ignored this story idea for most of my life before finally brining it to life this month, so I know I am good at not writing. This month also showed me I can be good at writing. Which of these will stick with me in the months to come?

I think I should use the final week of NaNoWriMo to challenge myself to see how far past 50k I can go, but I already feel the temptation to relax instead.

I suppose there is always Camp NaNo in the spring and summer if I need to recommit. But I hate to think of abandoning my fledgling tale for so long.

Ok, now I am off to finish my writing. I will let you know who I am on the other side of the brink.

NaNoWriMo Numbers Update 1

We are currently on day 4 of National Novel Writing Month. This is my first time honestly trying NaNoWriMo so I was pretty nervous about whether I would be able to make my words for each day, since I need to do about 1,667 to finish on time if I write every day. Here’s the thing, I know I won’t write every day. It just won’t happen. November is normally the only month of the year that I got out of town for a weekend. Add to that the fact that I’ll have three Thanksgiving celebrations and my sisters birthday at the end of the month and I know, for a fact, I am going to miss some days.

So my plan was to get ahead early so I’m not stressed when I have days without writing. So far so good. It is 1:30 pm where I’m at one day 4 and my word count currently sits at 8,592 and I’m not done for the day. Par for today would be 6667. I feel good about my numbers so far and I plan to try and crank out another 1,000 or so words. I think I really need to plan on this initial rush of enthusiasm to get me to goal. My attention span is often short so I know that it will be a challenge for me to stick to this for

I will say, I have a huge advantage in working on NaNoWriMo this year. I do practically nothing at my current job. Today I had about 30 minutes of work and that’s it. It’s why I don’t like working here, but it is good for NaNo. Another advantage is that I’ll be leaving this job at the end of next week and taking two weeks off. I won’t start my new position until after November. So I shouldn’t have any excuses about not finding time to write.

Anyway, time to go start a new scene…

I Think I’m Not a Planner

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about planning my NaNoWriMo book. Please note that thinking is the key word there. I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to take 12-ish years worth of ideas and slap them on paper as an outline that is actually of any benefit. So far, I have a list with about 40 vague bullet points that include gems such as “Childhood” and “Human sacrifice?” Yes, there’s a question mark there, don’t ask.

I thought maybe I needed some assitance. Maybe I just don’t know how to plan. I started looking up outlining tools and apps. Which, in retrospect, was silly because I own Scrivener and you can make nifty little digital bulletin boards to outline. Scrivener is great, by the way. Not that I’m taking full advantage of all the features. Mostly I look at the little e-index cards on my screen and think “Why am I filling these out? If I know what needs to go on the card, then what good does the card do?” Which I think sums up my general issue with planning. I can’t seem to convince myself of why I need to write out an outline when the outline exists in my brain. It’s not like the act of outlining itself unlocks some hidden knowledge my brain didn’t previously have access to. Or maybe it does and I don’t know because I never actually outline.

Did you ever had an English teacher who forced you to outline your writing? Well I was the student that would write the whole thing and then outline what I had already done. That is how much I despise it. For essays, I always liked to just do my research, maybe collect some quotes and facts to reference, and then start going. I think I’m pretty good at organizing things mentally so I never planned ahead. That should have been an indication to me that, in this situation, I was not going to successfully outline.

So what am I to do with this nervous energy pre-NaNo? I’ve been researching more, although I think I’m reaching the end of what new facts I can learn about the Ancient Celts that will actually be applicable to my writing. Now, if I was an outliner, I would match up my outline with a timeline of the events of Britain and Wales during the time period between roughly 40 and 60 A.D. so I would know what types of things might be influencing my characters. However, since NaNoWriMo is kind of fast and furious I’ve given myself permission to wait until my initial draft is written to go back and revise for historical context. (See? I’m doing that write first, plan later thing again)

If anyone has any tips on planning for the reluctant, I’d love to hear them. I really need something to satisfy my anticipation for the next 11 days.