Monday, May 27, 2013

Insomnia: Curse or Blessing?

It seems to be the plight of many a creator to be an insomniac. Or at least a night owl.

Is it really a plight, or is it a good thing? After all, most of the best creating seemingly happens when the sun is on the far side of the earth.

Perchance the darkness allows us to focus. Maybe the enzymes produced after a certain level of tired are more suitable for creative thinking.

I honestly don't know.

All I know is that it is nearing tomorrow, and I've once again chosen to pick up the mantle of "writer" and dive into the at once familiar and unknown waters of creativity.

Let's see how far the current takes us.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Write Way to be Creative

So, here we are. Start of a New Year, and no two finished novels to show for it. Not a promising start.

But, focusing  on what I did right. I set a goal, and I made an effort. After all, I did write 24,000 words in the span of three weeks. That is NOT bad at all! So what if life happened and I didn't meet my grand expectations. I still got a helluva lot accomplished!

Now, at the beginning of the year, I had a whole list of Resolutions: finishing what I started and OODLES more!

However, I got to thinking... what if I don't make it? What if I'm just setting myself up for failure? After all, I've yet to complete a full-length novel. Even a draft! So I decided to examine my ideas and methods. I discovered that sometimes... they just don't work. Here's a few of them:

#1. You have to focus exclusively on one creative goal in order to complete it. Dabbling in other projects at the same time is bad.

Wrong. While focus IS important in order to complete a project, one can become over-immersed and ultimately lose focus.  Taking a structured and scheduled break will help overcome writer's block and avoid burnout. Who knows? Maybe working on another project will give ideas for the main novel.

#2 Finding plot-holes means you are a sloppy writer.

Wrong. Finding plot-holes makes you a good writer. It means you are paying attention and thoroughly going over your work. No one writes a book with no inconsistencies (with the exception of possibly Stephanie Meyer... she took one colossal plot-hole, threw in some characters and called it a book, hoping no one would notice. Can't see the forest for the trees, right?). Denying you have any plot trouble is the sign of a sloppy writer.

#3 If you don't make your goal you are a failure.

Hopelessly, helplessly, HAPLESSLY wrong. If you miss your goal because you wantonly ignored deadlines, played Galaga (thought we wouldn't notice... but we did), and watched movies instead of writing, then yes. You suck.

However, if you missed your goal because you spent hours staring at a screen, backspacing, reenacting Hamlet with your foam sword in hopes of sparking some creativity for your character's monologue, staring at a blank screen some more, wailing and gnashing your teeth... then you don't suck. You're stuck. Give yourself a break, literal and figurative, and get back to writing when you're done!

#4 You're a writer even if you haven't written in a long time

Nope. I'm all for the "you're a writer even if you haven't been published in a long time", but you have to write to be a writer. It's too easily used as a cop out. A way to feel good about yourself even if you're not actually doing the work required. It's how we rationalize that it's OK to watch a movie after our nine-to-five instead of sitting down at the computer and writing... until eventually we're not writing anymore. There comes a point where we become "used to be writers". Yes, it's tiring. No, it's not always fun. But we always need to be doing it.

#5 You have to be clever to be good.

We all want to have Jasper Fforde's witty prose, or Stephen King's intricate tales, or my eloquent turns of phrase*... but even they admit to the importance of a good editor. Focus on telling your story; cleverness takes a lot of rewriting.

*indicates sarcasm

So, there's a list for you. It's not 100% accurate, and is therefore ongoing. But it's a start.

All that said, my own list of New Year's resolutions (as pertains to writing) became quite short.

#1 Try

I'll have my hands full with that.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Good Run of Bad Luck

So, my friends, I hate to say this... but I think I've been defeated.

At 22,000 words with 7 days left, you'd think I'd be full on forward. And I was...

... until I got a busted eardrum.

Apparently extreme sinus pressure, stress, and a love-tap to the back of the head with a football equals waking up at 2:00 in the morning with blood gushing from your ear, a trip to the ER, and an unknown number of days with vertigo, trips to various doctors, and bluebell creamsicles whilst lying on the couch.

Oh, and I have to keep cotton swabs in my ear to soak up the constant seeping of red ooze.

I tried. I really did. My main character overdid it this morning with magic, and she busted an eardrum. 1400 words worth of description pounded out with very real-life inspiration.

But it was no use. I couldn't write after that. I'm actually not supposed to be doing anything stressful, and worrying about a wordcount is definitely that. Especially when one is this far behind.

So I'm taking a step back, and I'll resume my writing after I'm fully healed.

It was a fun run, and thanks for bearing with me!  I still have my initial writing challenge of finishing my re-write before the end of the year. And there will be other crazy-town writing challenges; including, of course... next NaNoWriMo ;-)


Final Wordcount: 22,720


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

'And I would write 5,000 words....

and I would write 2,000 more

Just to be the one who wrote 7,000 words til I couldn't write anymore."

Yes, ladies and gents, I wrote 7,000 words in one day. 7,100 to be exact.

Guess what? That caught me up. I crossed the 18,000 word mark on the same day as the other participants of NaNo who are on time.

Of course, they are only writing one novel, but we won't get into that.

The material point is this: I wrote 7100 words in one day! That's amazing! What would happen if I did that every day? I could potentially write three books! ::starts doing math::


Not really. I'm not that insane. Yet.

But it does give me hope that I can at least come close to completing my 100k word goal for this November.

Speaking of, I need to get back to it. After I finish purposefully distracting myself by baking a fancy cake for my coworkers. Pictures to follow. Especially if it's an epic fail....


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The best laid plans....

... sometimes go awry...

But NOT in this case!!

I tell you, my friends, I was worried there at the start. It got a wee bit rough.

First of all, I was supposed to be off on November 1. Can you say, Perfect? I was going to write ALL DAY.

Then the boss called, asking if I could work on Thursday instead of Wednesday.

After the wailing and gnashing of teeth subsided, I cheerily said "Of course!"

She responded, "Great! By the way, it involves a trip to Dallas. We leave at 7 AM and we won't be done until 5:00"

More wailing. More gnashing.

SO. For the first full day of NaNo, starting at 5:30 in the AM, I was stuck in traffic, in training, stuck in MORE traffic, and then collapsing into my bed in 9:00 PM, too tired to write a single word.

I worked the next day, too. I was so tired, I forgot my notebook. Then, my coworker, who is also doing NaNo, told me she was already at 10,000 words.

My confidence took a nosedive, and I started to give up. There was no WAY I was catching up at that point. How could I POSSIBLY write TWO books with such a rough start?

Then I realized something very, very important: the joy shouldn't lie in the completion, but the writing itself. If I allowed myself to get bogged down in the numbers, I wouldn't enjoy the writing. And if I didn't enjoy the writing... why was I doing this to myself?

So, Saturday morning, when I was called to work at 9 AM for a meeting, I decided to spend the time between then and my shift (I didn't clock in until 1:00 PM) writing.

Guess what? I enjoyed it.

I didn't write a lot. Only about 1300 words, and it was already day 3. But I didn't care. I simply enjoyed the creative flow.

I did the same thing the next few days - writing in my notebook when I could at work, and not sweating it the rest of the time.

Well, friends, today is my day off, and I've been a writing fool. I'm nowhere near caught up, even for ONE novel, but I'm on the write track... (I had to do it once :-P).

Win or lose, I'm still gonna give it my best shot!


Post Script: My current word count is 6300 words. Not bad for a latecomer ;-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Witch of November...

... thy name be NaNoWriMo! (Because National Novel Writing Month is a mouthful)

It's that time of year, folks. The undisputed, unrivaled, unparalleled, number one most anticipated literary event of the season.

For those unfamiliar with the task, it is an international challenge put forth to creative writers everywhere - write a complete rough draft of a creative novel.

Here's the catch - the entirety of the 50,000 word minimum has to be written within the month of November. That's right. An average of 1,667 words must be banged out per day in order for the writer to reach their goal in time.

If you win, you get tons of bragging rights. Obviously.

But here's the deal, chickadees... four years have I competed, yet never have I completed this voluntary descent into literary madness.

This year, it's way different.

See, I have already put one challenge forth to myself: complete the re-write of my manuscript before the end of the year. Why not use NaNo as motivation to write 50k words on this project? Brilliance!

But my genius was followed by the revelation that, even if I succeeded, it wouldn't count as an official NaNo win, because only new projects that have not had any prior writing can be eligible.

So I was faced with a choice... do I attempt for the fifth year to complete the challenge and sacrifice my initial goal, or do I push ahead with my first endeavour and forgo the victory for yet another year?

And that's when the ante doubled.

I know what you're thinking. "Surely she can't be THAT crazy"

Well, actually... I am.

My challenge, put forth to myself, is to match, word for word, my NaNo novel with my re-write. A grand total of 100,000 words within the month of November to scratch off two major creative milestones from my to-do list*.

Can I do it? Will I survive? There will be weekly updates, lots of coffee, and, hopefully, my avid fans and faithful readers to hold me accountable.

Who wants to take the journey with me? Any takers?

We'll see how this goes.

*Donations to the cause will be taken in the form of chocolate, coffee, or other licensed forms of therapy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Shame on the Moon...

... or just shame on me.... either one works. Though I'd vastly prefer you blame the moon.

Yes, it's confession time.

The awful truth is... that my word count is STILL at 2978. I have not written a word since I sprained my wrist... a road block that has been a non-issue for about four days now.


But enough on that dreary subject. On to more pleasant things! Such as... well... I discovered a new name for a character in my book! ::nods:: Yes, it took a great deal of effort and forethought so that I'd have something to show in this update*

So, that's the scoop. I've not written anything, but I've been doing some SERIOUS creative planning, which is almost as good.


*or I simply mistyped a word in the title of this blog post and came up with it as I was about to confess... but we won't go into that....