Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Hello, again

*blink, blink* AH!!!! The sunlight… it burns the retinas.

But seriously, “what the hell!?” you might be thinking. I’d be thinking it too. Too be fair, I did complete Nano, so I did a lot of writing… I’m also working AS a writer. So I spend 90% of my day typing away… I generally don’t want to come home and do more of it.

The problem is that I have to in order to complete personal projects… right?

Right. So we come full circle, returning to, well, here. I’ve always been a prolific writer… just not steady prolific. I go frequent stints without outputting anything, then in a flurry of activity do too much, and burn out the creative synapses. I hear that it’s a common issue, actually… with many creative types. Only when you rely on that creativity for profit, it’s generally a bad idea, no? So to work around that we practice moderation.

Moderation in all things.

Some of you may know, and many may not know, that I’m a Buddhist. More in nature than in practice. I do believe in 98.7% of the tenets of Buddhism, from Enlightenment to moderation. I also don’t give a rat’s ass about the organized “sit here and recite koans till your mouth bleeds and your hands have become fused into a claw-like shape. Fuck that nonsense. There’s a certain level of… un-authenticity behind anyone who says that I can’t reach enlightenment without zazen practice 4 times a day. To you I say “And?”

Brad Warner, of punk rock fame and Zen obscurity… wait… strike that, reverse it… recently made a bit of a kerfuffle in this area. What is authenticity, and who decides what is authentic, and what is wrong? Without going into detail, because Master Warner (is that right… Priest? Awesome-dude-who-does-the-meditation-thing? Meh…) says it better than I would anyway, plus you should visit his site, I think he’s dead on here. I think that there’s a bit too much focus on who the person is, and not what they do. Who cares if I think The Beatles are overrated? Which I do (their early stuff anyway). Yes, it’s been some of the most influential music ever made… but that doesn’t mean it’s good.

My point is that there’s not enough moderation in thought and action going around these days… so I should make an extra effort to bring more into my own life.

So… the goal here is to steadily post again… also finish a few projects that I’ve been sitting on for far too long. From The Cult of Done manifesto… I should abandon those… but again, all things in moderation – I agree with some of the points of The Cult of Done, not all of it.

So look forward to seeing new and interesting things here in the near future… and scream at me if you don’t.

~Ian


NaNo – Day 1

TypewriterDay 1 of NaNoWriMo is officially over, and I have to say, went very well.

Most of the people I know met their word counts, and those that didn’t are planning on catching up at the first official Boston write-in tonight. My word count? Not as high as a few of the fellow Boston WriMo’s that I know, but 2002 isn’t too shabby I think. I’m happy at any rate.

Brandon informed me that I should have a quote of the day from each day of writing, so here was last nights. And I will preface it by saying yes, I am writing a horror novel.

I don’t bother telling her that my dream that night had centered around a man wearing her face as a mask slicing slivers of my skin off and feeding them to dogs with the heads of infants.

And that, ladies and gents, was my first day of NaNoWriMo. Expect more soon!


NaNoing Time!

TyperwriterIn just a few short days I will be undertaking, for the fourth time, NaNoWriMo. This time it’s different, this time it’s grander… this time… maybe I won’t fail. Haha.

I do have to apologize for the lack of updates lately. Things have been a bit hectic here. Job interviews and birthday celebrations and Halloween parties… etc, etc. And now I’m gearing up for NaNo. I can’t promise you regular updates through the month of November, but I can promise you this… you will get far too many posts about what I’m working on, excerpts, word counts… and the like. Far more than you’ll want to read.

But things will go back to normal in December… maybe. Chuck Wendig doesn’t call it “National Edit Your Shit Month” (NaEdYoShiMo) for nothing… Although if you need a break after the insanity of November, you could always wait for March and NaNoEdMo

So why do NaNoWriMo? I know I covered this before, but in an attempt to make my insanity understandable, as well as perhaps draw you, my faithful reader-s- into the insanity with me, I will address it one more time.

NaNoWriMo isn’t about winning. It isn’t about losing. It’s about writing. Whether or not you’re a seasoned writer, maybe even a published writer, or an amateur with maybe 500 words of fiction written down since your birth… NaNoWriMo can be for you. No one there really cares how many words you write, or how many times your main character magically comes back from the dead… or magically avoids an oncoming train… they care about writing. Getting words on paper. Making them mean something (at least to you)… and having fun doing it. The point of this exercise, if for nothing else, is to have fun.

NaNoBoston2011Now, there are people who would tell you that the point is to write a novel… yeah, sure… that can be a point. But some people really just can’t write 50,000 words in 30 days. Hell, some people don’t even consider 50,000 words a novel. But that’s up to you. Maybe you just want to add another 50,000 words to an already existing 60,000 word novel you’re working on. Maybe you want to write a series of short stories that happen to fit together in a cohesive manner. Maybe you just want a good excuse to take the time to write. Whatever helps you, let it help you. And most importantly, let it matter to you.

I think my final point, really, is that NaNoWriMo isn’t about meeting a word goal, it’s not about writing a novel (well, it is, but…), it’s about challenging yourself and having fun doing it. And it doesn’t hurt to meet other people who are insane about a similar interest at the same time – wrimo’s unite! haha.

So as November 1st rolls around, if you really aren’t the novel writing type… challenge yourself in another way. Start a blog on your favorite topic and try to write 50,000 words worth of posts by the end of the month. Start a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to try but have been scared of failing at… Hell, READ 50,000 novels in a month (okay… maybe not that many). But the point is, challenge yourself, and as always, have fun.


A-NaNoing We Will Go

TyperwriterSo in about 21 days all hell breaks loose. All across the country – nay, the world perhaps – mad people try their hand at writing a 50,000 word novel. Insanity, I know, but it’s a valiant effort. Here in Boston, there is a very strong community who attempts, and from what I have seen, usually succeeds at this task. I have heard amazing and fantastic things about this group of people from Brandon for a couple years now, but now that I have moved back to this fantastic city I will get to meet them firsthand. That’s right… I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo again this year… and with a little luck, and hopefully some help from new friends, actually succeeding at it.

So for those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNo started in 1999 (in July, not November) in San Francisco with 21 people. The next year they moved NaNo to November, and it started growing to the 200,500 participants last year. Today, in fact, they are launching a new website for NaNoWriMo, so look for that soon!

The idea, really, for those of us who write outside of the month of November, is to really motivate ourselves. As a writer I rarely have a chance to say “I’m going to write for the hell of it.” Nine times out of 10 I’m writing for a paycheck, and therefore not only does that writing have to be good, but it also has to meet a certain standard; namely, that of the person I’m writing for. With NaNo, though, I’m writing purely for myself, and in general for NaNo – who cares about the quality? The point is to get 50,000 words written in just 30 days, and that is no easy task in and of itself!

Different people have different approaches to NaNo. There are some contestants who feel that in all fairness of the concept, they should start with a blank slate on November 1st, with nothing planned. I tried this my first year and wrote exactly 3 pages. That’s it. I had NOTHING. It was kind of sad, and almost pathetic.

Then there is another frame of mind, which creates not a one month event, but a three month event. Chuck Wendig (who wrote an interesting post on NaNoWriMo here) calls October NaStoPlaMo, or National Story Planning Month. And he calls December NaEdYoShiMo… National Edit Your Shit Month. His suggestion? Plan your novel through October, figure out your plot, characters, hell, etc. Then you hit November and you write like a madman (or woman) and knock out 50,000 words. Now, here’s the important part. Those 50,000 words. They don’t have to be perfect. You don’t write the next “Great American Novel” in one month. Hell, the story doesn’t even have to be good. Just written. Then you use December to edit. Turn that pile of crap into the next great American novel. Or if that’s not your thing… just turn it into something decent you’d let your friends read.

Chuck Wendig’s most important point about NaNo is something I am taking to heart this year, though.

“NaNoWriMo has a lot of rules: you’re supposed to “start fresh,” you’re not really meant to work on non-fiction, blah blah blah. This is all just made-up stuff. It’s not government mandated. This isn’t taxes, for fuck’s sake. Do what you like. Even better: do what the story needs. Hell with the rules. Fuck the police. Write. Write endlessly. Don’t be constrained by this program. It’s just a springboard: use it to launch your way to awesomeness. Anything you don’t like about it, toss it out the window. That certificate you get at the end doesn’t mean dog dick. The only thing that matters is you and your writing.”

Who cares if you start early? Who cares if you simply use the enjoyment of NaNo to work on the novel you started in August? This is about writing, not rules. So guess what? My NaNo novel? I already have a few thousand words written. Hopefully I’ll write an additional 50,000 in November, but if I don’t? If I only write 50,000 total? Tough shit. I’ll be satisfied, and that’s what matters.

NaNo2011

Not a big fan of this years badges...

So the point of NaNoWriMo? Write. The idea of NaNoWriMo? Write. Why should you do NaNoWriMo? To write. So if you want to write… want to write a lot… and want a motivational tool to get you going with it, join us for NaNoWriMo next month. And remember… don’t worry about the rules, just write.


Blocking A Writer

Writer's Block MugSo this weeks Blogenning theme is writer’s block. FYI – I’ve been very busy as of late, packing, so I’m cutting down to 3 posts a week (you’ll get the third for this week tomorrow, sorry). And tomorrow’s post will be on why I’m packing, promise.

So – writer’s block. That dreaded curse. That infamous whore. That.. well, you get the idea. Writer’s block sucks. The closest “real job” comparison I can make is going to work at a desk job, getting there, and your desktop won’t boot. Nothing you try makes it turn on and work. So you’re stuck all day trying to fix it, or doing random bullshit till it starts working. And when writing is how you make your living, it’s even worse.

Kas pointed out in her post that writer’s block is a little more difficult to get when you write nonfiction. As a freelancer I haven’t gotten writer’s block at all. Occasionally I sit at a sentence trying to figure out the best way to convey the information I want to with it, but that’s different. That’s more akin to trying to pick between Chinese and Indian for lunch. I know what I want, I just haven’t decided how to achieve the goal, but I know I’m going to decide shortly. No, writer’s block really strikes when you write fiction. It can really fuck up your day…

A perfect example of this is NaNoWriMo. For the last three years I have joined in and attempted to write a novel during the month of November. Not too horrendous a feat I thought… I can handle this. I failed miserably all three years. The first year I got about a thousand words written, maybe. Great start, but then I just got stuck and didn’t know where to go with the story. And suddenly it was December. Cue in 2009. I was smart and planned out my novel in October, figured out the basic story and characters. And then a week into November I was “too busy” and never got any further than the first chapter again. Utter failure. To be fair I had just started a new job… but still.

And then there was last year – my best attempt. I cheated a little and used a story I had already started writing. I had about a thousand words written and decided I would just start from there and keep going. I already knew where the story was going… and it worked really well. I got a little under five thousand words written. Then Call of Duty: Black Ops came out… whoops. Bye November… Obviously I haven’t had much luck with NaNoWriMo. But this year… ah this year.

This year I have a plan. It’s almost entirely me-proof. I don’t see how I can muck it up this year. No games are coming out I “have” to have. Nothing is going on in my personal life to halt my progress. My only worry is that damnedable writer’s block. She’s evil… and she’s out to get me… nay all writers. I tell you… we should have a witch hunt… if writer’s block was a real thing. But you see, it’s all in your head. Many writers can recognize this… but it’s still a difficult beast to overcome.

A little while ago someone on Google+ posted a thing from Ira Glass about “The Gap.” Brandon also mentioned this recently. The Gap is very similar to writer’s block, but different in an important way. The Gap is more along the lines of quitting because you think you suck. And the Ira Glass piece is basically a kick in the pants “you don’t suck, get back to work son, there’s writing to be done!” It’s nice. And it’s also currently printed out and hanging next to my monitor to remind me that even if this story sucks, I can learn from it and make the next one better. Because sometimes we all need a little inspiration, right?

Writer's Block

Sometimes you just want to smash something...

So while I don’t have any tips and tricks to help you overcome writer’s block… I do have advice. Don’t let it stop you. If you get stuck, either press on, or try something else and come back later. I know that 90% of the time when I get stuck it’s because I can’t figure out how to make the next part awesome… and if there is ONE piece of advice every NaNo-writer will tell you it’s, “don’t worry if it’s awesome, just write. You can make it awesome later.” So don’t worry… you can always fix something that’s broken, but if you have nothing to fix… you get nowhere.


In Other News…

Writer's BlockI now have a paying job. Well, as much as a writer can have a paying job.

A pitch I wrote for an online magazine was accepted, so now I have a freelance position with them. I’ll release more information if the story is put out and whatnot (still a chance they will kill the story…)

I am very excited though. This is a great opportunity for me.

In other writing news – The Critical Table is doing well. I should have an exciting new post up on there soon, waiting for someone to get back to me for it though… You’ll see!

Anything else… anything else… Oh. Yeah.

Working on short stories is odd. Right now I have two written, one in the mid-stages of it’s first cut (re-writing an entire page because I just didn’t like the flow of it), and the other in a final edit, waiting for me to be happy enough with the last changes I made.

Why all the edits? I’m trying to get both of them published in magazines, so I want them to be extra-awesome. So stay tuned for news on that.

The movie script is finalized. Working on other things and waiting on scheduling conflicts right now. Also, lazy actors.

One thing that I’m gearing up for is NaNoWriMo this year. Every year I sit down to start it… and then get about 5k words in and die. I think it’s my insistence on perfection, which I’m trying to break. It’s also my “crap, what do I put in here” feeling, which I’m trying to fix. One of the ways I’m trying to fix that is writing on here every day. I figure if I can make myself come up with something at least vaguely interesting for you… I can write 1k words a day in a story I actually care about in November. 😉

Another thing that might help are Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fridays. He does a week long contest every week, winner getting something randomly cool. Just for writing a flash fiction piece on a different topic (he picks) each week. This week is a genre mashup, which I’m considering. If I do it I will probably start doing it every week, just for something new. Besides I pop out 1k word stories like they’re candy… so yay candy!

That’s all for today, if you get the hint from the post… I have writing to do :).