Camp NaNo ’13: Week 4

Yay! It’s three days until the end of Camp NaNo 2013. I hope you can forgive my pre-written post since it’s the home stretch. I have just under four days to finish however many words I have left until my goal (you can check my Twitter feed and my Camp NaNo profile page for that number if you’re interested).

If I’ve been on my game, this is the first pre-written post you’ve seen (I had one for each week if this is the first one you’ve seen). I hope I’ve said some interesting things about my Camp NaNo experiences. I haven’t done very well in the past when I’ve done the regular NaNoWriMo in November.

Wish me luck on my last four (ish) days of Camp NaNo. I hope to finish with a win on my first year.

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Camp NaNo ’13: Week 3

Another week and here’s another post I’ve failed to write. Hopefully, this the first time you’re seeing my pre-written apology post, but my track record doesn’t project good things for me. In fact, this is probably the third apology post you’ve seen this month.

Perhaps I should actually apologize. I’m sorry.

It’s likely that you follow my blog (or have stumbled across it) to read about my writing and what I think about writing in general. Right now it’s not going very well. At least I assume it isn’t going very well since it’s still June when I’m writing the post.

If you’re following my Twitter account or watching my NaNo profile page (I don’t know why you would do that one) then you’re aware of my word count. Feel free to yell at me there or in a comment here to tell me that I should be keeping up with my blogging duties. I deserve the scoldings (unless I’m less than halfway done with my wordcount; then I’m probably stressed).

There’s just over a week until the end of Camp NaNo. Let’s see how I do.

Camp NaNo ’13: Week 2

Yet another week has passed and… I haven’t updated this post.

I am really hoping that this is the first time that you’re seeing a pre-written apology post. It’s not as if I’m expecting to do a lot: just a few words about how hard NaNo is and why did I choose to do 50,000 words when I could have chosen to do… a hundred or whatever. (The answer is that I always seem to shoot too high and have to work twice as hard to meet goals). Instead, you get this.

My beloved and patient blog readers (and friends) get to read a post full of pointless drivel. I beseech you to scold me soundly, whether it be in the comments, on Twitter, in e-mail, on Skype, in text or in person (I don’t like phones; leave me be). I deserve it. But don’t complain if I start crying on you because I’ve only managed 500 words in two weeks. I do this all the time.

Next week I should have a proper update on my blog. In the meantime, enjoy my posts on prejudice in writing and let me know how disappointed you are in me as a blogger, a writer, and a human being.

Camp NaNo ’13: Week 1

So… a week has come and gone. Unfortunately, if you’re seeing this little post, I’m drowning in real life and NaNo, and haven’t bothered to update my first draft with what actually has happened. This doesn’t say much for my progress, and I beg of all of you to comment and scold me for not writing a halfway decent post (or any post).

If you are honestly interested in seeing what I do this month, you can watch my Twitter feed (there’s a button somewhere on my blog). I should be posting daily wordcounts. You can also check out my profile page on the Camp NaNo site, which I’ll link to as soon as I figure out how I should.

I’ll see you all next week.

(Does anyone else think this may not have been the best month to launch a probably-controversial series of blog posts?)

 

The Pain of a Plan Forgotten

Well, I wasn’t that far off. This is the first time I haven’t completely abandoned my plan, but I have hope! Also, I have some progress on the job front, which usually means that I’ll have less time to write. For me, that means that it’s more likely that I’ll write on a regular and prolific basis.

We’ll go over it one section at a time, see how well I did this month and what I’ll do for June.

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What Do You Mean, “How Do You Write”?

The idea for this post didn’t come easily. I hadn’t yet started writing anything regular (a buffer is a good idea when it comes to me), so I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with the post. Should I write more about pre-writing, or maybe how to deal with the inevitable question of whether I can call myself a writer? It all seemed too contrived and, frankly, rather boring.

To try to figure it out, I was talking with a close friend, and the conversation went something like this (it’s paraphrased):

Her: Hm. How you write. How it makes you feel.

Me: I just… write. I don’t know how to explain it.

Her: Hm.

Me: I mainly just… write.

Her: Okay, how do you prepare to write?

Me: What do you mean?

Her: You really do just sit down and write, don’t you?

Me: …I think so.

It sounds like less work than it is. I do a lot of pre-writing or I have the story set up in my head when I sit down to write. So… when I do write, I am just putting pen to paper or fingers to keys, and the words usually flow easily. My notes and outlines are next to me so I can refer to them, and I’m constantly re-reading what I’ve just written. If I’m having trouble with a word or phrase, or I’m unsure about a fact, I highlight it or circle it and work on the issue later. It doesn’t usually slow me down.

Unlike others, there is no specific place or set-up needed for me to write. I don’t need music or a sunny day in the park; I need a computer or my notebook and a pen. I never had the luxury of choosing the place when I had time or the level of noise, so I can write as easily at a party as I can alone in the library.

My writing habit is that I never had the opportunity to form a habit. A part of me needed to write, to tell a story, so I wrote when I had the opportunity. I’ve been known to stop mid-conversation so I could scrawl something in my notebook or on a napkin or (a few times) on my arm. Yes, I’m that odd.

So, when people ask how I write, I don’t have a response that doesn’t sound obnoxious, but it is honest. All I do is write.

What do you do? Do you have specific set-up that’s needed to write? Do you need music or your desk or can you write anytime, anywhere? When you can’t get what you want, can you still write?

 

As Deadlines Go Whooshing By

Deadlines.

It seems an appropriate subject since it’s been… three weeks since my last post, and I’ve bypassed three posts. As Douglas Adams once said, I like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by. I’d tell you what my relationship with them is, but it’s probably obvious by now.

We don’t get along.

Procrastination, however, is a dear, dear friend of mine. I’ve procrastinated as long as I can remember, and it was only augmented by the fact that I was one of those annoying kids in class who could do term papers the night before the first draft was due and still get the best mark in class. That’s why I try to set firm deadlines for myself when they’re not imposed on me. Sometimes it even works.

Honestly, this is one of the parts of a writer’s life that I have a serious love/hate relationship with. I’m not published or contracted in any way, so the only deadlines I have are completely self-imposed: writing contests, writing entry deadlines, or just deadlines I set for myself when I decide that enough’s enough. If I miss a deadline, it’s no big deal. I don’t enter the contest, or I miss an opportunity. There are no tangible consequences, so I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything.

On one hand this is good. I can write when I want to, when inspiration hits or I have enough free time to sit at my desk. I even write fewer pieces that are absolute rubbish. I don’t get tired of plotlines or stories, my characters don’t annoy me quite as often because I can always just walk away.

But it is also very, very bad.

Overall, I produce less stuff, not just less bad stuff, but less good stuff too, and some of my best pieces of writing were written hours before a deadline, sometimes minutes. I just do better when the adrenaline is flowing and I don’t a have any other choice but to write. And I write so much slower. I’m waiting for inspiration to strike, and inspiration comes and goes as it pleases. This means that it can be days or weeks, once months between good pieces of writing.

That’s completely unacceptable. I understand that sometimes there’s writer’s block and some reason (though God only knows why) behind a writer’s inability to write, but this is just laziness and I need to get over it. I think part of me is scared to try to sell my novel once I get it finished. I’m scared of the rejection, or maybe I’m scared of actually getting sold.

But not finishing scares me a hell of a lot more than getting or not getting published. I am a writer. My family and friends introduce me as such (“This is Brigid. She writes.”) and I have always been writing. If I never finish anything, then that makes me a pretty horrible writer, doesn’t it? If I’m a horrible writer– the one changeable thing that’s defined me since I graduated from “reader” to “writer” in the first grade– does that make my entire life worthless? Does that make me worthless?

Logically, I don’t think so. I’ve done a lot of good just in the couple of decades I’ve lived, but I could do so much more. I am determined to do much more, and I am determined to do so with my words.

Do any of my readers need deadlines or are you all lucky enough to have the discipline to write without them? Can you write with them or does it block your creativity? Have you ever had deadlines to meet with your writing?

Status: Worldbuilding, Physical; Wordcount: 110