So, I didn’t win NaNoWriMo last month, but that’s okay because winning was not my intention. Instead, I set out to revise 20,000 words of my work in progress and I succeeded!
Most of my writing happened on Saturdays because they were some of the only days I had time to write. I ended up skipping the second week on account of being incredibly busy, but wrote every other weekend.
The first seven thousand words or so were the slowest because they marked the words at the end of one draft and I find endings, especially endings in a work I’m revising, to be one of the hardest parts to write. When I switched to revising the beginning of my work in progress, my pace sped up immensely.
Did you do NaNoWriMo last November? Did you try to write 50,000 words or did you have a different goal and rebel like me? Anyone else not write 50,000 words but feel successful anyway?
Please share your thoughts in the comments and follow me on social media!
These past few months were eventful to say the least. So eventful that I am wrapping-up my reading experience for three months in one post. Seriously though, there is a lot to cover.
I read some books that disappointed, others I loved, went to two author events, and finished the first draft of a novel.
I read eight books in August, September, and October.
Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2)
A princess proving her worth. A captain on a dangerous assignment. A boy with enchanting music.
I was hoping to enjoy this book as much as the books in the original series, but like the previous book, the characters didn’t seem as memorable, and the story didn’t seem as compelling as the Seven Realms series.
Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis Trilogy #2)
Akin is the first human-alien composite male, but looks human. This makes Akin a subject of interest to the sterile human survivors of the apocalypse.
Akin must act human enough to avoid their wrath, while remembering his true nature.
I need to read more of Octavia E. Butler’s works. I’ve really enjoyed the two I’ve read so far and can’t wait for the others.
My main complaint is that this was too short, but that has more to do with the style of writing that was popular at the time it was written than the author. Still thought provoking even though it was published about 30 years ago.
Amid Stars and Darkness
After being kidnapped by an alien, Delaney must impersonate an alien princess or else the entire human race will be enslaved.
I was waiting in a long line at the library and picked this up on impulse as I walked by. I’m not sure I would have read it otherwise.
It’s too romance heavy for my taste, and I prefer more science in my science fiction, but it was otherwise a light, fun read.
If you’re looking for a book you can’t put down, this might be for you.
The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time #4), The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time #12)
Books four and twelve of the Wheel of Time series.
Some of you are probably wondering if I indeed skipped from book four to book twelve in this series. The answer is that, yes, I did. At the risk of annoying some of the Wheel of Time fans, I must admit my motive for reading this series lies in the fact that Brandon Sanderson wrote the last few, and I want to read all his books.
I like the other Wheel of Time books, especially book four but not enough to read the eight 1,000 page long books in between books four and twelve.
Darkness of Dragons (Wings of Fire #10)
The final book in the second arc of the Wings of Fire series.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, it’s probably no secret that Wings of Fire was one of my favorite middle grade series. To some extent it still is. However, this book is probably one of my least favorite in the series, though my least favorite overall would have to be book nine.
It came across as a little anticlimactic to me, and I wasn’t a fan of the characters’ resolution of the conflict that’s been building in the last few books. Still, it was a fun read.
Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1)
Sierra must uncover the mystery of her family’s magical heritage before anyone else dies for it.
I wanted to love this book so much. The atmosphere is great. Older seems to have captured an otherwise realistic portrayal of Brooklyn with some magic thrown in.
Unfortunately, this book didn’t capture my attention enough for me to give it a higher rating.
That said, if you’re looking for a detailed, diverse portrayal of Brooklyn this may be the book for you.
The Silver Mask (Magisterium #4)
Fourth book in the Magisterium series.
Oh, look, the only book I read in October. *Hides in shame.* If this isn’t an indicator of how busy I’ve been I don’t know what is.
There is something about this series that makes me always come back to it even though there are some less than amazing elements to it. I think it’s the premise. I love “hero destined for evil” stories so much.
In the past three months I went to events for Leigh Bardugo and R.L. Stine. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Bardugo twice before, but I don’t see how I can go to too many signing events when one of my favorite authors is involved.
Even after attending her events in the past, I still learned something interesting about Bardugo’s writing style. She uses a modified version of the beat structure outlined for scripts in the book Save the Cat. She outlines most of the beats mentioned in the book, but skips a couple because she’s never sat down and read the book to find out what the others were.
Hey, when it comes to writing, the right way to write is the way that works.
R.L. Stine was a first for me. My biggest takeaways from his event were that sometimes life takes us in unexpected directions, that one of the best ways to succeed is to be open to these directions, and that ideas come from unexpected places.
If you would like to see a full post about these events, leave a comment to let me know.
My months have been so distinct from one another in terms of writing progress that it almost seems wrong to sum it all up in one post like this.
August was a great writing month. During the first half of the month, I averaged around 5,000 words per day. My first draft ended up being 70,000 words. This makes it the longest first draft I’ve ever written, though still shorter than the longest thing I’ve written (90,000 words).
I took a break after finishing my first draft midway through the month, intending to get back to my writing in September.
I started some short stories in September, but the progress I made was interrupted due the disruption Hurricane Irma made to my schedule. I’ve put those short stories on hold for now.
Little writing progress was made in October until the end of the month when I began reading through the draft I finished in August.
Have you read any of these books? If you could meet any author who would you choose? How do you go about revising your first drafts?
Since I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this November, I’ve opted to write about the first draft I wrote last summer.
Edit 10/25/17: Disclaimer: Everything written here is subject to change.
What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I was inspired by a news article I read about pig embryo with human cells, with the suggestion that people in the future might use pigs as organ donors. An article like this one.
The idea captivated me so much I wrote a short story not long after. At first, it seemed too ridiculous an idea to base a full novel around, but I was still so enthusiastic about these characters and had more positive beta reader feedback than I expected. So, I turned it into a novel length work.
I wrote the short story around last March, so that should give some idea of the timeline.
Describe what your novel is about!
It’s a young adult science fiction novel about Lyle, a teenager who’s only allowed off his parents’ property for doctors visits. Sometimes not even then. One day, Lyle discovers his parents had another child before him. One they intend to sacrifice Lyle to get back. At least, that’s how Lyle sees it, anyway.
Everything Lyle knows about the world beyond his backyard he learned from the few websites he was allowed to visit, his parents’ constant warnings, and peoples’ snide comments about him. Yet, Lyle’s only way to escape a fate he considers worse than death is to find a way to survive in a place he’s only glanced through the glass of a car window.
After running away, Lyle soon ends up trapped. If Lyle doesn’t reveal his identity, he will be killed in two weeks. Now Lyle’s only hope is to escape his imprisonment and avoid being recognized before the two weeks are up.
What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
I hate to say it, but most of the description in my novel is disgusting. Like, while I was writing the first draft I had to skim on some of the concrete details because the visualization was making me gag. It all serves a purpose of setting up the dark, dreary atmosphere, though, so I guess that’s okay?
Introduce us to each of your characters!
Uh, there are a lot of characters. Twenty-four in my Scrivener character description files, to be exact, and, no doubt, more that I haven’t made a file for. Most of them don’t have names yet. It takes me forever, yes, even past draft one, to pick names out. For the sake of keeping this a reasonable length, I’ll have to sit this one out.
How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
I’m an outliner. In fact, some of my outlines have been known to reach 10,000 words. Fortunately, this outline was only a little over 5,000 words. So, you know, keeping it brief, LOL.
What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Well, I’ve already written the first draft. To be honest, that was what I most looked forward to. Now, I’m looking forward to having the whole thing edited enough I feel comfortable with someone else reading it.
List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
There are a lot of settings.
One of them is a barn.
Another is a suburban high school.
A third is a hospital.
What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
Lyle wants people, especially those he cares about, to accept him for who he his. His physical appearance and physical ability stand in his way often, as do a number of individuals who literally keep him trapped, and Lyle’s own ignorance.
How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Lyle grows more confident, more firm, and less trusting.
What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I try not to think of themes in my own works. I worry they make my work too preachy. While the story gets bleak sometimes, I want to leave readers hopeful for the future.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo next month? Have you decided not to participate but work on something anyway like me? Anyone revising a first draft?
June and July were productive months. I read eight books and wrote over 40,000 words.
One of the books I read were middle grade, three were young adult, and four were adult.
The Shattered Lens (Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians #4)
Alcatraz must stop librarian cults from conquering the world.
I liked book four better than book three. I thought the conflict was more interesting, the jokes funnier, and I’m excited to continue the next book.
It’s important to note that there are a lot of people who would find this series more annoying than funny. I’m just not one of them. I think it’s hilarious.
The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #2)
Aliens try to conquer Earth. Humans learn about our place in the universe.
I liked this book better than its predecessor. The plot was more cohesive, and a little faster paced, though still slow. This is hard sci-fi at heart. One of the things I love best about this series is the way it’s made me think.
That said, I’m happy with how this book left the story and am not sure I’ll continue.
Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2)
Two young shadowhunters must protect the world and loved ones from supernatural forces while sorting out their forbidden romantic feelings.
This book was fun, but I’m tiring of reading books set in this universe. I’ll probably read the series final when it comes out in a couple years, but think I’m done with the future spin-offs.
Of course, if nostalgia strikes, I might change my mind.
Defy the Stars (Constellation #1)
A teenager fighting for a rebellion teams up with an android to free her planet from Earth’s influence.
August and Kate must protect the people of their city from the monsters that seek to tear it apart while they battle their own inner daemons. For my full thoughts see my duology review.
I liked this book, but at the same time felt something was missing that I couldn’t place.
The Handmaid’s Tale
A handmaid shares the story of her life as a member of the first generation to live under a sexist dystopian regime.
Based on what everyone said, I expected to be left emotionally drained by this book. I think that these expectations and the fact that I don’t have children are the only reasons I wasn’t affected more. It is, however, still a creepy book.
That said, while I can’t say I liked what took place in this book, it was very well written, thought provoking, and made me want to keep reading. For these reason, it gets a high rating.
The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #1 and 2)
When a village is attacked, three farm boys must flee to a legendary city to protect themselves and their families.
I liked the second book a lot more than the first. Given the nature of most first books in epic fantasy setting up the rest of the series this isn’t too surprising.
3/5 for book one and 4.5/5 for book two averaging to a 4/5.
I started writing a first draft in June and continued writing it throughout July. This was accomplished through Camp NaNoWriMo. I had a goal of 30,000 words for July but exceeded it and wrote 40,000 words.
What have you been reading? Anyone read any of these books? Anyone participate in Camp NaNoWriMo?
For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an annual writing event. You can learn more about on their website here. Camp NaNoWriMo is an twice annual offshoot event featuring virtual “cabins” with up to 20 participants. Learn more here.
I’ve participated in Camp NaNoWriMo seven times now. In the past, I’ve had both cabins that were active and others that were inactive. I’ve found cabin activity critical to staying motivated.
Disclaimer: This is only what has worked for me, and most of this post is speaking in general terms. No doubt there are exceptions, and your results may vary.
Private cabins are more active.
The camp NaNoWriMo website allows users to choose to not get put in a cabin, get sorted with other campers based on private criteria, or create/be invited to a private cabin.
Many people who plan to participate in Camp NaNo won’t write a single word. It’s like new years resolutions. Many people don’t complete their goals. Therefore, the best bet for an active cabin is to meet other enthusiastic people on the NaNoWriMo Finding cabin mates forum.
The earlier you join a cabin the better.
Some people will join camp late. However, in general, more active people will be excited to find a cabin as soon as possible. This leads to a greater chance of more active members if you start looking early in the month.
Barriers to entry lead to more active members.
This mostly applies to those who are starting their own cabin by looking for people in the forums. The forums allow people to specify criteria for the participants they’re looking for.
By barriers to entry I mean specify certain criteria. This can be anything from an age range to a specific genre or time zone.
Specifying you’re looking for people who have done something that requires them to have taken action at one point, like winning NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNoWriMo in a previous year, can be even more effective because it requires people to have a track record of active participation.
Just make sure these barriers to entry are not so high as to be unattainable by the majority of people because that could lead to a lack of interest.
Overestimate the number of people you want.
20 people seems like a lot, but it’s likely some people will disappear throughout the month. Yes, even following these tips. So, add more people than you think you’ll want to your cabin. This will allow you to have enough people left to stay motivated at the end of the month.
Have you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo? Are you participating in July? Do you have any tips?
I technically didn’t win NaNoWriMo, but did finish my first draft. This was my original goal for the month, so I’m satisfied. I also managed to keep up with the progress bar for the first fifteen days as shown above. Considering this was my first semester in college, I’m surprised I managed to keep up for so long.
The reason this draft was so short is in part because my first drafts are very underwritten, and also because I was writing middle grade. My November project follows twelve-year-old Rebah who has grown up to believe she is a robot, and has never seen another human-being.
I didn’t read much this month because I was so busy writing. I’m actually surprised I found any time to read at all.
Short Synopsis: In this futuristic society children are raised to be turned into horrific “creatures” on their fourteenth birthdays.
Thoughts: I’ve read many of Garth Nix’s books. As always there was unique world building, but in this case the execution left something to be desired. I never felt entirely invested in the characters and the story.
Short Synopsis: Book six in a series about aliens blending in on Earth while other aliens try to invade.
Thoughts: These books are very addictive. Normally, I would have stopped reading a series I was having this level of enjoyment of, but I just feel too much urge to find out what happens next. That doesn’t mean I’m beyond skimming, though.
I had some issues with plot holes in previous books that were solved in this one. (*book 1 minor spoilers* How were they planning to repopulate a planet with only nine people left?)
Short Synopsis: Four children summon ancient beasts of legend though a ritual that binds a human and an animal.
Thoughts: Each book in this series is written by a different author, many of them well known. I’m interested to see how the series will progress through each change in writer. This book was a fun introduction to this fictional universe. I have recommended this series to my brother.
In October I didn’t have much time to read, so I only read four books. Two were middle grade, one was either middle grade or young adult depending on how you define the audiences, and one was adult. Of those three were fantasy and one was science fiction.
Short Synopsis: Book two in the Magistarium series. To learn more read my review of book one here.
Thoughts: For some reason the plot twist this series centers around is one I can’t seem to get enough of. This book was a lot of fun.
Short Synopsis: When her underground home is destroyed Eva Nine finds herself surrounded by creatures she hadn’t even known existed.
Thoughts: Read this book thinking it would make a nice comparison title for the writing project I’m working on this November. I was right. The artwork is also stunning.
Short Synopsis: Fifth book in the Mistborn series, and second book in the Alloy Era of Mistborn. Read my review of the first book of the original trilogy, Mistborn: The Final Empire, here to learn more about Mistborn.
Thoughts: I liked Alloy of Law, but not nearly as much as the original trilogy. I think part of that had to do with the stakes being so much lower. In this book the stakes were raised, and I was much more invested in the story from the beginning onward.
Short Synopsis: When Magnus Chase dies on his sixteenth birthday he discovers his life is far from over.
Thoughts: This book was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t completely blown away.
I’m now finished with my rewrite of the first third of my high fantasy work in progress. Part one ended up being exactly 21,461 words long. My target for part one was 20,000 words, and I almost never go over my target length even though I often want to so this is great.
I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for November and (as it is November while I am writing this post) am working on a middle grade sci-fi project about a twelve-year-old girl who thinks she is a robot.
Yes, I am well aware that I am still terribly behind on my tags. I really do appreciate it when people tag me, it’s just hard to find the motivation to write up tag posts sometimes. I’m also terribly behind on my reviews as well. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting more in the next few months.
In honor of the fact that November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and that I plan to participate, I thought this would be something fun to do. It’s a variation of the game in which you chose one character you want to be, one you want to be roommates with, and one to throw off a cliff, but I’ll be using characters from the unpublished novel length works I’ve written and the one I plan to write this November.
This post was inspired by Shaelin from ShaelinWrites on Youtube. You can watch her version here.
I’ll be assigning the characters numbers and randomly choosing three of these numbers for each round.
Interesting, this round I got the only two characters I entered from the work I’ll be writing this November. I also got a character from my NaNoWriMo 2014 project that I’ve been revising lately. The reasons the names of my characters from my project this November are capitalized funny is because I wanted to give a sense that this is a world in which robots have replaced humans and capitalizing names that way emphasizes that point to me.
Be: ReBAH1 (Raised by Robots)
Rebah is going to be the protagonist of my project this November. She is the last human on Earth which is a definite downside to being her. Even though I am an introvert, I do still enjoy a certain amount of human interaction, but I’m practically going to be her as I write her story anyway.
Room: GenE24 (Raised by Robots)
This is the robot who raised Rebah. Because she is a robot I do not want to be her, but I think she could make a good roommate because she’d be in her lab most of the time so I’d practically have the room to myself.
Cliff: Princess Glenda (A Rose Like Death)
I can’t remember for sure, but I think in the first draft of this story Glenda fell off a cliff and died in the second or third chapter. I kind of feel bad about that now, and that doesn’t happen anymore. However, I’ve already technically written this scene so its already happened.
This round is so hard. I got three of my protagonists and I love them all!
Be: Princess Titania (Not a Faerie Princess Anymore)
Titiania has a lot of really stressful responsibility I would have trouble dealing with, but I think I could eventually adjust. I would also enjoy seeing all of the magic of Faerie on a daily basis even if I had to accept that I could never preform any of it like Titania does in my narrative. I also don’t want to room with her because I have a feeling our room would be very loud.
Room: Parisa (Unidentified)
Parisa could be a good roommate, but her life is complicated in ways I wouldn’t necessarily want to deal with, so I’m going to room with her.
Cliff: Yuliana (A Rose like Death)
I feel so bad about this because Yuliana may just be my favorite protagonist. I wouldn’t want to be her because her life is terrible, but I also wouldn’t want to be her roommate because she reads minds. I like to keep my thoughts to myself. Unfortunately, this means she gets cliffed. I actually feel like crying because I’m so devastated by this right now!
This is a fairly easy round. I’m not very attached to most of these characters as their primarily very minor.
Be: Becca (Unidentified)
Her life is very similar to my own, so the adjustment wouldn’t be difficult. I’d also get to be close friends with Parisa so whenever strange things started to happen I could chose whether I wanted to support Parisa and get involved or just continue on with my life from a safe distance.
Room: Catrine (A Rose like Death)
Our room would be converted into a walk-in closet with beds, but she would make all my clothes. Having my own personalized wardrobe wins over the inconvenience of living in a room surrounded by clothes on hangers. I also think Catrine would make a good friend.
Cliff: Anabelle (Unidentified)
This is a character who is falsely accused by my protagonist of doing a lot of nasty things. She isn’t nearly as bad as she is often made out to be, but she is still far from a great person. She is the character here I care about least so she is getting cliffed.
I got two side characters from my NaNoWriMo 2013 project and the main character of the first novel length work I ever finished.
Be: Alina (Unidentified)
Of all these characters she has the easiest life, so I’m going to be her.
Room: Dawn (Martian Murders)
Dawn has a personality a lot like mine and I think we would get along really well. However, I put her though a lot of stuff I don’t want to deal with, so I wouldn’t want to be her.
Cliff: H/Lori (Unidentified)
I like this character, so I feel really bad about this. She’s getting cliffed because I don’t want her life at all, and I’m more emotionally attached to Dawn since I narrated an entire novel length work from Dawn’s perspective.
All of these are either characters with terrible lives, or characters who are annoying. That makes this difficult.
Be: Adela (Not a Faerie Princess Anymore)
I don’t like Adela much, but of all the characters here she has the best life so I’m picking her.
Room: Queen Shella (A Rose like Death)
I wouldn’t want to be her because she has so much responsibility, but I also feel too much sympathy with her to throw her off a cliff.
Cliff: Andrea (Martian Murders)
Technically I’ve already killed this character twice in one narrative by throwing her off a cliff. Her murder is the one the title speaks of, and this story involves time travel hence it happening twice in the same narrative. I cried while I wrote that scene because she doesn’t deserve it, but there was no way around it happening.
Since I’ll be participating in July’s Camp Nanowrimo session I thought it would be appropriate to do a writing tag. (Camp NaNoWriMo is an internet based event where participants try to write a set amount of words in a month.) This tag was created by WritingMime over on YouTube. I don’t know if this tag has ever been adapted from video form into blog form before, but it’s just what I was looking for so I’m doing it.
It’s not entirely necessary, but even if you don’t win it’s a great motivation and way to meet people online with similar interests. So I would say yes overall. 2. Self-publishing or tradition publishing?
I am going to try to traditionally publish once I feel that my writing has gotten to a publishable point. In fact, one of my current projects is in its third draft at the moment and I’m hoping to be done with major edits by the end of the summer with the intention of querying sometime next year. At the same time I am not opposed to self-publishing. I think its a great option to have. I just don’t really have the money to do it properly like I would want to at the moment. 3. Write one idea at a time or write all the ideas at once?
I tend to focus on one idea though I have tried multiple ideas and I usually end up just focused on one despite my efforts. 4. What genre is the easiest to write?
I don’t read a lot of contemporary, so that is definitely the most difficult for me. The easiest harder to determine, but it’s probably YA sci-fi especially if it’s set on Earth in a modern setting. 5. Where do you need to write to get the work done?
I have to sit at my desk in my room. I try to make it so that my desk is only for writing and homework so that it’s all I work on when I sit there and don’t get so distracted. 6. Where do you find your inspiration?
Multiple places. I’ve written stories based off of everything from dreams to real world events to aspects of other novels I felt were not explored to their full potential. 7. What age do you start writing?
I’ve always been making up outlandish stories, but I didn’t start writing them down until I was in middle school, and with a few exceptions most of what I wrote in middle school was just a few chapters before I decided to just imagine how the rest of the story would go in my mind and just leave it at that. It wasn’t until high school that I started feeling the need to write them out in their entirety. 8. What’s easiest to write? Short stories, stand-alones, series, etc.
Short stories are easiest, but I don’t really enjoy writing them or write them often. I spend most of my time on stand-alones with series potential as I find those the most rewarding. 9. Do you mill your books or take years to write a book?
I can write first drafts quickly if I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, but I take a long time to edit and often rewrite. 10. How fast can you type?
I have no idea. Not extraordinarily quickly, but faster than most teenagers. 11. Do you write in the dark or in the light?
Some of both. My best writing often comes in the early morning or late at night, but I can write throughout the day too and sometimes leave the lights on or off. 12. Hand-written or typed?
Typed, I like how I can back it up and don’t need to rewrite it solely for the purpose of putting it on a screen later. 13. Alone or with someone else?
When I’m actually writing I prefer to be alone for the most part, but sometimes word sprints can be great motivation and I enjoy talking to fellow writers. I can write in public so long as I’m fairly certain no one is reading the words as I type them. 14. Any typing hacks?
No. 15. Are you already published?
No, but I hope to be someday. 16. When did you first consider being an author? HOW? WHY? WHO?
Not 100 percent sure I understand this question, but I probably decided I wanted to publish something when I was well into the first draft of something novel length I’d actually finished in my freshmen year of high school. As to whether I consider myself an author I do not, I consider myself a writer, but not an author because I haven’t written anything beyond short stories I feel is entirely finished in terms of revision.
17. How many books do you have in draft form?
Four at the moment. Three are completed first drafts and one is a half completed third draft I’ve been putting a lot of time into lately. 18. Do you outline or no?
Yes, my first completed novel length draft was not outlined, but since then I have started outlining and they get more detailed with each work I finish. 19. What’s your favorite note-keeping strategy?
Using Scrivener or Microsoft Word to type my notes into. 20. What do you think about writing in different genres?
Two of my completed drafts were young adult, one was middle grade, and the latest could have been either adult or young adult depending on how it develops in later drafts. I’ve written one high fantasy, one urban fantasy, one science fiction novel set in space, and one science fiction novel set on Earth in modern times that borders on contemporary fiction so I’d say I’m okay with writing in different genres.
If anyone has more writing related questions for me, want to talk about NaNoWriMo, or have a suggestion for a future writing related post I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
It’s now halfway though the month of April. For those participating in Camp National Novel Writing Month this means the mid-event writing slump has come on full force. I see it in my cabin where some of my once active fellow cabin mates are struggling to balance life and writing, and I have seen it during past NaNoWriMo events I’ve participated in. In 2013 I wrote a several thousand words in the first week, only about a thousand words in the two weeks that followed, and several thousand words at the end in an attempt to catch up with my goal.
Those of you not familiar with NaNoWriMo as an event or the more relaxed Camp NaNoWriMo events are probably thoroughly confused. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a month long event that takes place every November in which participants try to write the first 50,000 words of a novel in a month. Camp NaNoWriMo is an event in which participants chose their own word goal and write that much in a month because while 50K might not be an attainable goal for everyone 10,000 or 20,000 words very well might be. This event takes place in April and July.
Writing this much takes effort and discipline. The writer needs to be passionate, and dedicated to write. The motivating community factor of these NaNoWriMo events can help, without these events it took me a year and a half to write a first draft, but in November 2013 and 2014 I had a first drafts finished in about two months, and in July 2014 I wrote an entire first draft in a single month. At the same time it is important to remember that an event cannot make a writer write. It’s still up to writers to put their time and energy into putting those words on paper or a screen.
Finding time to write is hard, and sometimes next to impossible. I’m not suggesting anyone abandon a baby, neglect a major school projects, or a job for the sake of their writing. I’m suggesting that those who truly want to get a story written try to plan out their activities to make time when writing whenever possible. According to a 2013 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics 95% of US citizens participate in a leasure activity, and the average American age 15 and older spends more than five hours a day on leisure activities this means that while I can’t speak for people in the rest of the world, most people in the US have a few hours worth of time they could be devoting to writing instead of watching TV, YouTube, or reading Tumblr.
All the time I hear people I know telling me all about how they went to bed at 2 am and have absolutely no time for anything anymore. Then they proceed to tell me about that new episode of The Vampire Diaries or Game of Thrones they watched last night. Could these people have gone to bed earlier? Probably, but they decided they valued TV over sleep. Well, someone could also decide to value writing over sleep if they’re just going to stay up late anyway.
There are extremely good reasons to not have time to write, but for many people I think the main culprit is distraction. We live in the addicting modern world of the internet, and getting distracted by the internet is far easier and more fun than typing in solitude, especially once the initial excitement of the story has died down.
This month I’ve gotten lucky, and am doing much better than I expected, but it is not without sacrifice. This month I expected to only have time for 20,000 words which I surpassed on the 16th. By watching fewer YouTube videos, spending less time daydreaming, and reading fewer books I’ve been able to free up time I never knew I had. Could I maintain the current rate at which I’m writing for the long term? Unless I quit school, and put some other responsibilities permanently on hold probably not. I’ve been sacrificing some sleep as well, and I’m not one of those people who can function well in the long term without a full seven to eight hours of rest, but the point is that right now I’m finding a way to get what I want to do done, and what I want to do is write.
The April event has actually brought me out of a couple month long writing slump. Between the months of January, February, and March I’ve written only a few thousand words. Before the event my enthusiasm was building, and I now realize how much I had been missing getting those words on paper. With the exception of a few short stories I wrote for school assignments the only thing I’d written for the past three months was nonfiction. As much as I love writing nonfiction pieces like book reviews and this post, I like writing fiction even more. It just has this great quality that when I finish writing I feel as if I have created something from nothing whereas with nonfiction I feel as though I have merely complied preexisting information into a way that is easier to understand.
This month I am writing on my third draft of my November 2013 project, that’s right the same one where I suffered such a massive mid-month slump, and I can honestly say that at this time in the month I have gotten much further writing my third draft than I was at the equivalent of this time of the month writing the first draft even though this is my second time almost entirely rewriting it.
I wish everyone participating this month luck in reaching their goal, and regardless of whether you win or not, or even whether you’re participating or not, I wish all the writers reading this post luck in finishing their current project, because that’s what truly matters. If a writer loses for the month, but have still gotten closer to the finished product than it’s still 2K, 10K, or 25K closer to whatever s/he started out with.
This isn’t my usual type of post, and that I probably should have made a post about my participation at the beginning of the month, but between life and Camp NaNo I’ve just never got around to it. Regardless, I hope everyone enjoyed this atypical post and is having a great month.
If you’re participating in this month I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below! What’s your current word count? Are you suffering from a mid-month slump, or have you managed to stay motivated and pull though? If so, what’s your secret?