Almost that time of year

NaNoWriMo 2017 is fast approaching and I’m still undecided whether or not I’m going to participate. I probably will, just not 100%. My writing has come to a stop this past year, having started to spend most of my time painting instead. It’s a different creative outlet for me, one that I never thought I could do, but one I enjoy immensely.

But in my heart, I am still a writer. I still create stories in my mind, even if I don’t always write them down. I’ve been a little lazy about taking out my laptop, mostly because I don’t have wifi at my place. I know that’s a stupid excuse, but it’s true.

Wifi or not, I will probably write again this November. I’ve done it every year since 2011. It was one of the things that helped me after a very painful divorce. It helped me focus my energies on something other than my pain. It was my outlet. It was my catharsis.

I don’t need it in the same way as I did, but I do need to write. I’m not always a great speaker. Okay, I’m never a good talker. I tend to say what I need to say within the confines of the written word. I’m better at expressing myself that way. I wish I was better at talking. Makes my life a living hell at times. No one takes you seriously when you’re unable to talk and argue effectively.

But that’s another issue altogether. November brings a sudden rush of motivation. There’s something to be said about external accountability to keep one on track. It’s also a bit of a rush to be able to say that I’ve written 50,000 words in thirty days. Most people will never be able to say that. I’ve accomplished that every year since 2011. That’s over 300,000 words!

I need to get back to writing. I keep saying that my goal is publish, and I’ve gotten of track. I need to refocus on that goal, but who knows. Maybe  I will, maybe I won’t. Ultimately, it’ll depend on me, and I know that. I think what gets me is that money is tight, and trying to find someone to proofread and edit my work, paying for artwork for the cover, is more than I can afford. Then again, if I really wanted it, I would find a way.

Me and my silly life, huh?

So I’ll see where I am a month from now. I don’t have any ideas as to what I want to write, but I have time to decide. I do have a couple of ideas for short stories, and I’ll write them and post them soon.

Nanowrimo: Day 12

I’m so behind, it’s maddening. I’m still three days behind, but I was six when the day started, so at least I’m making up some ground. I would like to catch up tomorrow, but that’s unlikely. I just hope I don’t get further behind.

November has been brutal, writing wise. First, I had a presentation to prepare. Then I had present it, in Oklahoma City, more than five hours away from home. I wrote Sunday, worked Monday and drove to OKC, no writing done. Tuesday was the class and presentation, then the drive back to Amarillo. No writing done. Wednesday was a long day, and I ended up working a full 12 hours, spent the night in Amarillo again, then a full day on Thursday. Too exhausted to write, and the first night home since I left on Monday.

I meant to write on Friday, and I took my laptop with me to Amarillo, and set up to write at Roasters while I waited for a friend to drive in. We were going to meet for lunch, and I thought it a perfect time to get out of the house, drink some coffee and write. Nope. My computer’s battery was dead, and I left the charger at home. Crap!

I ended up going to Walmart, buying a composition notebook and a pack of pens, and sat down to write out a vague roadmap for my novel. While I’ve stated on countless occasions that I’m a pantser, I’m feeling as though having no plan isn’t working for me. I need at least a general outline of what I want to write. I may not follow it exactly, but at least it’s a guide.

So now, finally, Saturday comes, and I can write. I should have written more, but I’ve played too much online. Damn Facebook. I’m still please with what I have so far, the outline giving me some direction on where I need to go with the story. I decided as I was outlining that the story needs to be organized into three parts. So, maybe planning is helpful.

I have a long way to go before the month is over, and longer until I get to the end of the novel. I wish I didn’t have so much happening to distract me from my writing. This coming week is Inventory Week at work, and it’ll be long days and nights until Thursday. The following week is Black Friday, again a lot of long days to prepare. The last week of November has me going back to OKC for another project. I need to be beyond the 50K mark before then. I don’t know if I’ll have time to write on the 29th or 30th!

 

Hours to go

Nanowrimo starts in a little less than five hours. Unfortunately for me, I’ll be in bed asleep. I have to be up at four so I can be at work by six. Luckily, I’ll be out early in the afternoon, and I’ll have plenty of time to write. A group of writers will be meeting tomorrow at Roasters for a write in, if you can call a three people a group. Hopefully we all show up. It’s be better if more do.

I was having trouble coming up with something to write this year. I wrote a few short stories this past week, trying to spark something, but neither inspired anything. It was more an exercise in working through some negative emotions that had been bringing me down for a while. What it did was bring me back to one of my favorite short stories, Harvest Moon, which I wrote back in 2013.

The story follows a woman who is visited by the spirit of her teenaged love, who died when they were both attacked after sneaking out late one night. On the anniversary of his death, her spirit leaves her body and she walks to the secluded field, the scene of his death, to endures his pleading for her to leave her life behind and join him, he being unable to move on, his destiny tied to hers.

I’m not one to write supernatural stories, but this one struck a chord with me, and I’ve shared the link on my Facebook and Twitter several times since I wrote it. For me, it’s a story about being stuck in the past, unable to move on, enduring the torture of reliving the same heartbreak time and again. She haunted by the memory, haunted by his ghost, unable to live in the present, unable to change the past.

I have no idea how the story will actually play out. Well, that’s probably not true. I have a few ideas. I will have to flesh out the characters more, especially her husband and children. I’ll probably also come up with new names since I hate the original names I came up with, Evie and Bryce.

What kills me is that I have to wait a few more hours, really almost a whole other day before I can start to write. I want to write now. I have a clear vision of how I would like to start. I don’t want to lose it! I wish I didn’t have to go in so early. Even an hour would be better than nothing.

But at least I have something to write about, a story to tell. As I write, I’ll figure out what questions I need to answer, what problems need to be solved. What is it that keeps my protagonist attached to her life? Who is the antagonist? What role does her family play in keeping her in this life?

I have a whole month to discover it. I’ll continue to write until I’m done. I have thirty days to write fifty-thousand words, a little less than two-thousand words per day. I’ve done it before, no sweat. Okay, I’ll be sweating a little. November is a horrible month for me. Let’s see where it takes me.

Counting down

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participantI have no idea what I’m going to write about. Does that surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me, but it does have me worried. Maybe something will come around, but what if it doesn’t? What if this is the year I lose? I can’t lose. I have to write 50K words. I can’t fail!

NaNoWriMo starts on Tuesday. 30 days, 50K words, which is what many consider the minimum word count for a novel, hence the name, National Novel Writing Month. I think it’s madness to attempt it, but I can’t help myself. It’s a personal challenge to just sit and write with abandon, foregoing any thought of scrapping what I’ve written.

As I sit here trying to write this, I can’t help but wonder what I’ll write. I have no clue. Hopefully something will be sparked between now and then. Probably a million ideas will come and go, none holding my attention for long. Though I’ve always thought of myself as a pantser, I wouldn’t mind having some time to at least think about what I’m going to write, some vague roadmap that’ll take me from beginning to the end. I want a complete story, and not my usual collection of stories abandoned halfway through.

It won’t help that November is a horrible month to begin with. I work retail, at The Home Depot, and our inventory is on the 17th. On the 8th, I actually have to go to Oklahoma City for a Leadership Development class with the district team. Why did I agree to that!? Oh, and let’s not forget Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the start of the Holiday season. Let’s write a freaking novel! That’s not at all insane! I hope to be back to normal come Tuesday, and then it can go out of whack again as I try to pound out something somewhat coherent.

 

 

A month of dedicated writing

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantNational Novel Writing Month is less than a week away. In six days, people from around the world will start their goal to write fifty-thousand words in thirty days. That’s around 1,666 per day. That’s a lot of words. That’s a competition wherein you compete against yourself to see if you can do it.

I’ve managed to win every year since I started back in 2011. That’s five years of writing. That’s 260,137 words that I have tallied since I first discovered it on November 1st of that first year. I logged on to my computer at around 6:30 in the morning, saw NaNoWriMo on the trending box on Yahoo, and decided to investigate. I’m glad I did.

A little history: I had always wanted to write a book. How many of us have said that, either to our friends, or even to ourselves. I had countless times. I even started several aborted attempts, giving up even before I had written that first page, often even before that first paragraph. Writing is hard!

But that on that cold, November morning, as I sat there glued to the monitor at my desk at my work in the hospital, I knew that I had to do it. I needed something to take me out of myself, to pull me out of the pain and loathing I had fallen into. My marriage had unraveled back in January, ending in my filing for divorce and being finalized in August. A second relationship had just fallen apart at the beginning of October, and the weight of it all came crashing down on me. I was heartbroken and miserable. I needed a way out!

So I signed up immediately. I told my friend about it, and she signed up for it, too. Unlike her, I began to write in earnest, writing with abandon, not bothering to care if it made sense. NaNoWriMo gave me the permission I needed to give myself to write, just write. I watched as a story came to life. I sat there in shock that I actually had the potential to write anything longer than a few measly paragraphs.

I came is at 52,395 that first year. I was proud of myself. I had done it. Though it would take months, years to get over that heartbreak, NaNoWriMo had given me my first outlet. I spent the next year writing one story after another, clearing my mind, purging my soul. It was the catharsis I desperately needed. The page was the vessel into which I poured my misery, emptying even the most desperate and intimate suffering from my being.

I had planned on publishing my books, but I haven’t. I keep saying I want to, but here I am, five years later, and nary a book in sight. I keep saying that what I have written deserves to be read, but I’ve kept them locked up, out of sight, fearing to let myself fall victim to the worst critics among us, scared to inflict further damage on my already fragile self-esteem.

But what did it matter? I’d written something. I had proven to myself that I can do it. I had proven that I had the capability to put into words the often confused images in my thoughts. It hadn’t been easy. Sometimes I had to force myself to write, but I had done it, and I was glad.

Will I do so again this year? I think I will. I haven’t fleshed out any ideas yet, but that doesn’t concern me. I’ve always been a pantser rather than a planner. I’ll start to write the moment I’m allowed to write. I settle on an idea and go from there.

Ultimately, I would love to publish something, but that’s no longer my end goal. When I write something worth sharing, I will. Until then, I’ll continue to write and post the occasional short story, continue to hammer out what I’ve written, working and reshaping until something moves me to either seek out a publisher, or publish it myself.