While the New Year gives us a measurable marker for change and the passing of time, it doesn’t fundamentally mean anything. The calendar may have changed, but we have not. I’ve overloaded myself before with grandiose plans and meticulous lists that end up crushing me and coming to naught. That’s pretty depressing and I really don’t need any more of that right now. With the pandemic and unsettled political climate still raging, I can’t expect the chronic, low-level stress and anxiety to go away with the turn of a page.
So, if any of you read my last Cat’s Cradle entry “Writing During Covid-19” or follow me on the Legendary Novel Writing Challenge blog, you’ll already know that National Novel Writing Month did not go very well for me this year due to a variety of factors. However, I did finish with 40,000 words out of my 50,000 word count goal, and the majority of it did stay on topic. Many thanks to everyone who followed along with me, giving likes, comments, and encouragement!
Also, there was something kind of fun that I did want to share in the aftermath:
I work in a public library, and because of the pandemic, all of our programs are currently virtual. For November I ran a series of NaNo writing events on our Facebook page, and while I got almost no engagement on the posts, it was something that I did keep up with every day during the month. Our library Facebook page is changing soon, so I wanted to preserve those posts and their pictures here for posterity. (Note that “LTN” is an abbreviation for my library, so “LTNWrimos” refers to folks from my library who are participating.) All pictures that are not personal photographs came from either Pinterest or the National Novel Writing Month Pep Talks.
Hi everyone! Yes, a random bonus entry in the middle of the week because I’m actually really excited about NaNoWriMo this year and want to keep up the momentum. I’m trying to get everything ready so I don’t have a bunch of loose ends hanging over my head on November 1st. Which means I’ve been cleaning and organizing while trying not to get sidetracked by episodes of Sapphire & Steel or by the cuteness of my kitties:
So, to keep myself on track and accountable, here is my goal sheet for National Novel Writing Month 2019. (Note that a “session” consists of writing at least 500 words.)
Top Priority:Spells in Sepia (NaNaWriMo 2019 project – urban fantasy novel)
Write 1,667 words daily (or as much as I can and make up for the shortfalls on other, more productive days)
Limit social contact (mostly meaning don’t talk to anyone before writing is done or I get derailed)
Get up at 7am daily (although I have no idea how I’ll pull this off since I’ve been having trouble getting up even by 8am)
Exercise Sunday-Friday (mostly light weights since the weather’s gone cold, but I’ll try to work some swimming in)
Saturday = rest day (I give myself permission to veg out and do whatever I want, even if that means not writing)
Complete chores regularly (meaning do the dishes right after I dirty them so they don’t pile up)
Update LeNoWriCha Logs @ 10pm (do I’m sure my writing is done for the day and can go to bed)
Limit social media (so I don’t spend all my time at home being distracted by the internet)
1 small (7 oz) can of Dr. Pepper during each writing session
1 small (fun-size) bag of peanut M&Ms for completing each writing session
Final reward for completing the month: binge-watching Good Omens!
This is a project for FUN! Don’t overthink it!
On The Radar:
Write With Focus:
Keep up with bi-weekly Cat’s Cradle entries
Be ready to continue writing or start editing in December
Read With Purpose:
Photography techniques (especially forensic)
Build Your Community
Check HUB weekly
Check NaNo site/forums weekly
Write at Writers Mastermind on Mondays
Write at Waldo’s on Wednesdays (not sure if I’ll do this or not)
Write at “Come Write In” at library on Fridays
To all my fellow writers this November… good luck! Tally-ho!
Sorry about the late and rather short entry this week. Summer schedule at the day job has kept me on my toes and I keep using up my free time to rest and recharge rather than getting anything substantial accomplished. My goal for Camp NaNoWriMo this month was 31 hours of editing, but I only managed to reach 10, and most of that was typing I should have gotten done in June. So I’m about a month or more behind everything, but the forward motion does continue, albeit at a crawl. And as summer winds down, hopefully there will be enough opportunities to recharge my low battery, at least enough to get me through to the beach in September.
I hope to give you a more substantial Cat’s Cradle entry and better report of my artistic endeavors in August.
This might sound like a broken record, but it bears repeating. I still run into or hear about people who don’t seem to get why writing takes so long or how it could be so hard to just fling words onto a page in some coherent order.
Despite my eye-rolling and exasperation, I do understand that, for a non-writer, it’s easy to just assume that books magically appear out of thin air because very few people see the actual process of writing them. Artists of all stripes tend to be self-conscious about unfinished work, so we keep it secreted away until we feel it’s “done” enough to see the light of day. And thus if I tell someone that I’m working two full-time jobs, they tend to look at me funny because writing doesn’t seem to contribute in a concrete, monetary fashion. (At least, not yet.)
It’s difficult trying to balance two jobs, and this lack of understanding about how writing truly is my second job can make the whole enterprise that much harder. For people who don’t have much support from their family or loved ones in regards to their craft, that difficulty increases almost exponentially. So, I wanted to lay out the kinds of things that I’m trying to consider, plan for, and tackle as I try to build a career as a writer in between all the other day-to-day tasks that require my attention: Continue reading “Writing Is A Full-Time Job (Even If You Don’t Make Money From It)”→
Okay, now that that is off my chest, we can get into the meat of this post. Although I’ll admit that my entries have been a little lean lately. Nearing the end of a project seems to slow my momentum rather than increase it. But I did want to create a companion entry to “Page Counts, Words, Rosemary, and Time.” “Page Counts” dealt with my own schedule and how I use daily word counts or time spent to move forward. While writing that entry, I wondered if any other fantasy authors, or authors in general, did something similar. Did any of them measure their progress by counting pages? Or did they set aside specific blocks of time to work? Or did they just write all day long? I know each author has their own way of doing things, but I also like finding trends.
I can’t believe I started this blog back at the end of June 2011. I thought I’d only started this year! Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? Maybe it only seems like I started this year because I had to step back and write every other week rather than every week. I’m glad that I made that decision, although it seems like I’m still writing my entries the day they are “due.” (No doubt a holdover from my school days when I procrastinated absolutely everything. Even my senior paper I wrote the night before it was due. But I got a “B” so I call that a win.)
I’ve covered a lot of territory this year. In some ways, I wonder if I have anything else to say about writing. Sometimes I look back and wonder, “Well…what else can I talk about?” Sometimes I feel like I don’t really have the authority to talk about some subjects because I’m not good at them, have little experience with them, or simply because “I’m not published.” But I’ve realized that being published doesn’t mean you have all the answers or know what you’re talking about. I might not be published yet, not even by a vanity press, but at least I’m writing. I really took to heart Chuck Wendig’s admonishment of “aspiring” writers: “If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not.” (Whether you write well is a whole different story.)
The first week of National Novel Writing Month was glorious. I was consistently ahead of my daily word count, I had a routine that not only allowed me to write, but encouraged me to write. It got me off to a good start so that when I flagged in the middle of the month, I could still grind through and reach a total 50,065 words. I’m not entirely satisfied because a significant portion of my NaNo entry was fan fiction and various rants about life, but it achieved its purpose: it established habit.
I have never felt quite as focused on writing as I have in that first week. Writing became all-encompassing. My world. My life. And while everything else crumbles around me or changes at lightning speed, I have created some rather intense writing mantras. They may not be for everyone. But these mantras are what give my life structure, my existence meaning, that keep me moving forward when all I want to do is break:
This is my life now.There is nothing beyond this computer in this room. The rest of my life is nonsense; writing is the only thing that matters. THERE IS NO LIFE!THERE IS ONLY WRITING! This is the point.This is it.This is the reason I exist. Write every day. Everything else is my life is fluff.It’s extra.This, writing, every day, is what matters.Not my day job, not socializing, not even my family.