Archive for category NaNoWriMo

Post-NaNo

Another NaNo has come and gone, and while I fell far short of the event’s 50k goal, I fell closer to it this year than I have in my past attempts, so I have at least fallen forward. To this end, that now gives me two that are somewhere in the middling throes of a first draft.

And this year’s project has some more latent potential that I found as I was typing up several pages earlier this week – scenes that are suggested but had been skipped while in the moment – and several other shorter scenes that are on the boiler-plate, waiting for me to continue.

The fun part is that I intend on continuing with both projects (the one I have been writing for class, and the one that I put on hold for the class) over the next few months, and hope to have two completed 1st drafts in time for summer.

Then, between editing those two, I plan to start working on the thesis in earnest (using some of the time this spring to do some planning as well… more on that later…)

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November and NaNo…

The last (almost) month has been something of a blur, swallowed up between the day job, some weekend trips, and life in general. And somewhere in there, I’ve been logging several thousand words towards my class project for the semester.

The class, which is shadowing the conceits behind NaNoWriMo (only, a much lower word count goal), has been a mixed blessing for me. A lot of the apprehensions that I had going into the class have started poking their heads (beaks, noses, claws and fingers) my direction… which goes to show that if you worry about something, you’re bound to make it happen (read: law of attraction, anyone?) But they have been driving me (mentally, anyway), towards that cliff of commitment, where I have been playing chicken with a security officer (remember the scene in the 2009 Star Trek movie, where the car goes over the cliff?)… I’ve been wanting to write, and fighting through the moments at night to hammer out some form of word count instead of letting the days fliter by.

Sadly, however, after a couple of missed days and other days of getting “close-but-not-quite” for the word count goals, I’m teetering on the bubble of being behind the power curve and really behind the curve. And while NaNo continues to the end of the month, I only have about ten days to get to and exceed my class goal, before I go away for a vacation. Any writing I do during that time will probably not be towards the class project, unless I get a wild hair to do some editing, instead of working on a seperate project (in addition to keeping a trip journal).

And that is how I am anticipating spending my weekend, dragging the tip of a pen across dozens of pages of beautiful yellow paper, cramming the lines with words in an effort to bring myself somewhere respectably close to quota.

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NaNo… Oh no…

Another November has come and gone… and another “less than completed” NaNoWriMo effort… but it was NOT without its share of learned lessons…

1) I actually liked the feel of chicken scratching out the story… just trying to push, punch and throw words out of a pen and onto paper. It’s liberating, and rewarding, in the sense that more pages are filled, tricking the mind to keep going, and giving a nice feeling of accomplishment. Writing just felt more natural than pecking at a keyboard… the “inner editor & critic” were easier to ignore…

2) While the handwriting approach may work for a general (unrestricted) project, for something like NaNo it is suicide. Not because of the writing, but because of having to write it then retype it… Unless someone else can type it up for you, we’re talking a serious loss of time to do them both in such a short window of days… even if you try to stay on top of the typing from day one.

3) When I chose to put down a few lines, I would manage to log the time… go figure, right? Even when I was working, when I chose to put the effort in I was still able to put together a couple of (journal sized) pages with only minor difficulty.

4) Counter to #1 (above), I need to continue with the keyboard pecking to get to that same comfort level… especially if I tend to start a lot of projects on a computer… and if I want to get to anything longer than about fifteen pages for a story…

5) Reading makes a lot of things easier… the thought processes, feel for pacing a story, and characterizations – the visualization of the story.

6) Plot, plan and outline… It’s not a guarantee, and each writer works differently, but it is a sound strategy to begin with, especially when the focus is on a limited time schedule. Character sketches (conceptual ideas, at least), possible plot points (at least for the inital segments… to give benchmarks and targets for pacing). At the very least, it helps to reduce any possible walls to really big speed bumps – progress may be slowed for a bit, but hopefully not stopped.

Ultimately, I still like NaNo, and the idea behind it. I still plan to continue trying it… but I have other goals that I want to work with. The point behind NaNo is to write against a forced deadline. Outside of any class requirements, there has been no hard and fast deadline for any of my other projects. Even those class requirements were modified, since I wanted to make sure things were “good” before they were turned in.

I have reached what I shall call the “PUSU point”… I need to “Put-Up or Shut Up”… like the weight and fitness issues in America – we know what needs to be done to fix things, and to improve, it’s a matter of doing it. I have drafted schedules and timelines before, but it was outside of any focus… Something that looks good on paper, but with no bite or payoff… something written by someone who just wanted to write, but with no clear goal for publishing and trying to make a living by writing…

There are a lot of stories that I have pent up, wanting to be told, I just need to find and channel my focus to get things down… starting with putting my butt in a chair for some time every day, pecking at keys or scratching a pen across paper. That’s the only way things can work… and I want it to work…

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NaNo…

I am trying my hand at NaNaWriMo again… I am trying a Gaiman-esque approach this year, and hand writing (in a journal, with a fountain pen), to see if I can disconnect the internal editor, and just put words on the page. I do realize that I will need to go back and type the whole things up (so I can track the word count), but it’s trying something different for me…

And the whole point in NaNo is to get a book out… it doesn’t matter if it’s a good book, as long as it is a book… Maybe when I knock this out (and, it is on my list of things for this quarter) I will have cleared through some wall or barrier, which should make things easier to get through in the future. (Yes, each book would be different, and have their own timeline to create, but finishing one book means that others can be finished as well, so the “Spectre of Non-Completion” can be exorcised, and sent for coffee and doughnuts when the internal editor gets cranky.)

I managed to write a chapter the other night (about 13 full pages, in a 5×7 journal)… the idea for chapter 2 is hanging around, probably having a beer and smoking a joint in order to avoid being put on the page…

But that’s okay, because I’ve been trying to hammer out a story for class [that is supposed to be turned in on Tuesday]… At the moment, that is more important (and easier to generate while at work)….

So…. right… back to the trench…

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More Comics….

The above strip was online for yesterday (apparently late in the day, since I didn’t see it until just a few minutes ago… and I was busy in the afternoon to go back and look…), and this next one is the one listed for today – 30 Nov…

I personally know the feeling… pretty much that all of the sentiments presented in the NaNo related strips this month – although in different circumstances… I expect there to be a couple more strips next week… mostly about the “post-NaNo” experience, so we’ll see what pops up…

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Dork does NaNo…

Another good one… and the month is drawing to a close. There is yet time for a few more… but I digress…

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Another NaNo Comic…

Not quite me…

But quite funny, nonetheless…

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