Day 1

Well, I have no outline. No scene list. No complete list of main characters. And, there are some serious decisions I still need to make.

BUT, I have 1,760 words towards my goal of 50,000. Yay, me!

I took care of my other responsibilities before I allowed myself to write today. I really want to accomplish this NaNo goal, but I really, really need a job. So, I applied to a job (which took longer than anticipated. I swear those online job applications are designed like weeder courses: they frustrate applications to see who is really serious about applying for the job). I already know which job I wanted to apply for today. Tomorrow will be busy with some other commitments, but I need to find a job, apply to it, go grocery shopping AND find 2.5 hours to pump out my 1,667 words. Think I’ll be able to sustain my productivity throughout July?

I am not wholly sure I understand why I’ve been dragging my feet with this job search thing. Well, part of it is wondering how I am going to ever get anything not job-related done once I have a full-time job: my days pass so quickly and seem so full of obligations rights now. When will I have time to clean? When will I have time to cook? When will I have time to wash clothes? Am I supposed to fit all that into the weekend? I also know part of it is because I am scared of having an 8 to 5 job. I spent the past 10 1/2 years in grad school, which essentially means I set my own schedule. I’m scared of being in the “real” work force. But I also want to be able to buy a house sometime in the near future and be able to start a family. So, I’ve made it a goal this month to write 1,667 words of my novel every day, but before I can do that, I need to apply to at least one job. Every day. Maybe that isn’t enough. Maybe I should be applying to more jobs in a day. But, at least one job app a day is better than one job app a month, which is what I have been averaging. Although, come August, if I still do not have a job, I am going to start freaking out about not having a job. At that point maybe I will start spamming.

Sometimes family members give me advice, but I know that, at the moment at least, it is my own fault I can’t find a job: I’m not really looking very hard. I’ve never had to look that hard for a job before. I’ve been really lucky about things falling in my lap. Well, that and finding teaching assistant gigs followed a regular pattern. I have been really lucky. But, the job market sucks now and I’ve never looked for a “real” job before. I keep telling myself it doesn’t have to be the job I stay in, and if I don’t like what I end up doing I can look for something else. In the meantime, though, I need a salary so I’ll still be able to pay the bills come August. My modus operandi is usually to wait until the last minute and let the deadline stress spur me towards my goal. Well, I keep waiting for that kick in, but it hasn’t yet. I don’t really want to be stressed, but I also would like it to kick in soon.

Okay, enough about my job woes. I have 1,760 words of my story! (Did you notice my bar to the right has some color on it now?)

It has been a long time since I have dedicated myself to writing. Today was kind of cool. I probably spent too much time looking things up (What is that hairstyle called they wore in the 20s and 30s? What kind of animals are indigenous to northern Norway? What are antique hat boxes made of?). Nevertheless, I feel like I had a scene in my mind and the words kept coming. I just need to meet myself at the computer for 2.5 hours everyday and allow/force myself to write. I know this sounds both trite and obvious, but today it really seemed like all I had to do was show up and the rest took care of itself.

Anyway, to all my fellow NaNoWriters, I hope your first day was as satisfying as mine. And here’s to every day in July being even more productive than my first day was.


Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

July 2013 Camp NaNo

For far too long this blog has deviated from its original intention. That is, to chronicle my journey from blank page to finished manuscript. So, starting today and for every week until the end of July my intention is to record my experience with this summer’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

I graduated in December last year and I still do not have a full time job, which will be the other major objective for this coming month. I have been teaching part-time, but now I am done for the summer. So, what better moment than now to take this writing thing seriously?

During the last week of June, my plan is as follows:

  1. Decide on all my character names and genealogies. I know that having to know the family trees of my major characters isn’t really necessary, but it helps me get to know my characters better.
  2. Get to know my characters and settings. I have a couple of books I am going to be using to help facilitate my process. Schmidt’s Book in a Month has some worksheets that look like they may be a good starting point from which to help me chart my story. Watt’s the 90-day novel also looks like it has some helpful direction. Since I do not have a degree in creative writing and I am a little unsure about how to craft a novel from beginning to end, I feel like having a couple of resources to help me along the way may be a good idea. Otherwise, I may end up with 50,000 words that go nowhere.
  3. Try to define my acts. Nothing too solid – just to try and figure out where I want my story to start and end. And what kinds of scenes I think should come in the middle.

I haven’t been thinking about this story idea for that long. I am not even really sure what is going to happen yet. I just have a vague idea of the town and the mystery that heroine will uncover throughout the story. I really don’t know how to move past that, but I suspect that part of my problem has always been a lack of discipline to just sit down and write the damn thing. I’d rather have 50,000 words of crap than 1,500 perfectly crafted ones. Which, if I am being honest, has always happened in the past. I get a story idea and I am really good about doing the research and crafting the world, but when it comes to populating it, I usually end up spending two writing sessions writing only about 2,000 words. Then, I get discouraged and I quit.

But not this month…At least, that’s the plan. Even if I do not finish 50,000 words, my goal is to spend 2 hours a day writing. I have this next week for the last bits of my planning and whatever doesn’t get planned will have to be decided on the fly as I write.

I don’t even need a cohesive story (although I am going to try) – I just want a complete manuscript with something that resembles a beginning, a middle and an end. I will update at least once a week to track my progress.

I’m putting my plan out there in the hopes of keeping myself accountable. So, here’s to hoping that I don’t have to eat my words.  

Categories: Planning, The Process | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2013 update so far

Boy, did I start out this year with a fizzle!

At the very beginning I was so motivated, so determined not waste any time.  I jumped into everything.  I started volunteering with this organization that would aid me in my software programming goal.  And very, very quickly I realized I was barely keeping up with my life and, despite having finished my dissertation, I still had no time to spend with my family.

Then a nerve-wracking day that I had been anxiously anticipating for awhile finally came and went – it was bittersweet, but not largely disappointing.  (Although, it is not officially resolved just yet, which is driving me crazy!)  Then, I lost my dear companion – our 9.5 year-old cat.  That happened less than a week ago and this is the first day (so far) that I haven’t cried over his loss.

I think I was scared about being finished.   Continue reading

Categories: Miscellaneous, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

NaNoWriMo dreams already on their deathbed

First of all, I have had one helluva week, let me tell you.  I sure hope this yo-yoing goes away once I graduate, because it is wrecking havoc on my emotional well-being.

So, here we are.  Day 2 of NaNoWriMo.  I have only 535 words, and I can already tell I am not going to be a winner this year.  It was really wishful thinking that I would be done with my grad school obligations in time to participate.  I have the weekend to keep trying, but I have received news that, in order to please a committee member, I will have to make a serious effort at revising several things in my dissertation in the next two and a half weeks.  Revisions (for which I do not yet have the specifics) can be anything from adding a sentence or two here to doing more research and incorporating it into the existing chapters.  I am already afraid that two and a half weeks will not nearly be enough time to make these revisions.  What these revisions also mean is that any writing energy I expend should be devoted to my dissertation.  Because in addition to these revisions, I also have a 45-minute presentation to prepare based on my dissertation.  This presentation will be given to my defense committee who decides whether or not I pass.

So, for me this year instead of NaNoWriMo I have ReDissWriMo…or Revise my Disseration Writing Month…Okay, I probably could have come up with something better, but whatever…it’s still relatively early in the morning and I have classes to prepare on top of everything else.

Seven months ago I decided to write a novel.  Seven months later, I don’t have but a handful of pages of creative writing.  Still plugging away on my doctorate.  But without staring at it too long for fear of startling it into scampering away, I am pretty sure I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m still going to keep my head down and pay attention to my footsteps, though, until right before the light hits me…Just in case the light turns out to be further away than it seems.  No more emotional yo-yoing!!

To all my fellow NaNoWriMo participants, I send you good vibes and wish you well on your endeavors.  It turns out I’m on a different train this year, but I’ll be sure to join you on the journey next year…At which time, I hope to already have some substantial progress towards a novel completed.

Categories: Miscellaneous, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On Writing Long Posts

Dear Reader,

I apologize for the length of my last few posts.  Obviously, I can be extremely long-winded.  I realize that there is an art to writing blog posts, which I believe I have not yet mastered.  I understand if you do not like reading my long-ass posts; I will not be offended.

Nevertheless, I will most likely continue to write such posts.  You see, I write more for my own benefit than I do for yours, as I am sure we all do.  I feel there is a lot knocking around inside my brain and I want to get it out. The beauty of our modern-day technology is that I am able to do so in a way which potentially provides me with interaction for my thoughts.  

Therefore, my dear reader, I thank you for indulging me in my rambles and for engaging with me from time to time.   

I take my long-winded habits as a good sign as we head into November.  Apparently, as long as I have something to say, two thousand words come easily for me.  I will try to cling to this knowledge during those dark moments in November when I am at a loss.



Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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