Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is over. I got to 32,000 words before I went on Thanksgiving vacation and so I didn’t “win”. Meaning I didn’t finish the 50,000 words required to “win”. I think everyone who starts and gets at least a big chunk of that 50,000 done has won. From the beginning I didn’t care. It just gives me a place to update and see how well I am producing. Nanowrimo, in my opinion, should be in January, February or March. There would be more “winners”. Some people struggle to handle the workload during the high season for family, vacation and entertaining. Too many distractions and I tried. Anyway, the novel is underway. It’s pretty good. One thing that happens during Nanowrimo is that for some reason my stories flow because I am updating the word count everyday and I wish they did this all year round. I tried to enter my word count after the cut off date of November 30 and it would not work anymore. That’s kind of too bad because it helps to see the pace I am writing and share updates.
Vulnerable and Arrogant October 13, 2014
Have you ever noticed how as writers we are often both vulnerable and arrogant at the same time? Do you judge when you read another writer’s published work? Do you fear having your own work judged by others?
Guilty of both! Recently I am going around submitting my writing samples for employment. At first I feel no hesitation to share published work with prospective employers. It’s when I have to expose myself again and again for approval and no job comes of it, I begin to feel vulnerable. Was it fluke that the other guys liked my writing? Am I good? Am I not good? Which is it?
I think most of us aren’t quite sure where we truly stand because writing is SUBJECTIVE. Like other forms of art. Not everyone will like your voice or your style. And that’s okay. Oh yes, I know. There is BAD writing but we aren’t talking about that. My belief is if something inside feels truly satisfied about what you produce and other people have corroborated, it’s no fluke. So keep the faith and keep on writing.
Finding a Rhythm September 26, 2014
There was a time, about twenty years ago when I could not stop writing. I wrote before bed. I wrote after breakfast. I wrote in the bathroom during work. Sometimes I pulled my car off the road because I had a sudden inspiration that I had to jot down in a notebook I carried.
I still feel a buzz inside me to write but I have done something terrible to myself. I have beaten it down and stopped moving with purpose. Life gets in the way. Writing feels selfish. I avoid it more often than not because once I begin I know I will get lost in writing and not be able to stop. Responsibilities abound so I beat down those urges until they are quiet.
Finding the rhythm at an approved time and time allowance feels stilted. Many of you know you can’t force writing easily. Of course for many of us, it’s a necessity to set an approved writing time. Life calls. Others demand your time and your productivity.
What is writing then? A luxury? Would you say the same about exercise? I think writers need writing to be healthy. It’s like mental breathing. Choke it off and you feel half dead.
My goal this year was to write the 40 shorts. I have written a number of pieces, longer and shorter but I am behind to stay on course for the whole forty. My goal is to carve out writing time like I carve out exercise time, log it, commit to it. Whether that will be a set time or wherever I can in my day remains to be seen but I will track words like the miles I run.
Go with the rhythm your writing takes you and let it move you forward until you breath easier. Don’t be left standing by the side of the road.
2014 Writing Goals February 27, 2014
This year is starting out great with writing. I am currently writing articles for the Extreme Sports blog “Outdoorbuzz” and I made a goal in creative writing too.
My creative writing goal is to write “40 Shorts”. That means forty short stories from micro fiction to novella length. So far I have three decent short stories out of it and several other more experimental shorts. I have learned in just one and a half months that short short stories are VERY hard to come up with and write.
Everytime I begin a short story it seems to end up being at least 6,000 words. How does that happen? I guess it means I am more of a novelist than a short story writer. But I think writing VERY short fiction is something I want to keep trying. It’s a challenge I enjoy.
The articles are fun too because seeing your writing published is just a nice boost in confidence. Anyway, I feel good about 2014 and plan to hit that 40 shorts goal by December and hopefully have some really good publishable short stories!
Hope your writing is going well too!
Why You Should Nanowrimo October 28, 2013
I am about to start Nanowrimo again. Years back I didn’t participate because I thought it was an amateurish thing to do. Why would anyone want to just write whatever with only a word count goal to shoot for? I mean all you get is a huge mess of words at the end, right?
Yes. You get a huge mess of words at the end of the month. 60,000 of them or so. But I am a believer now that it’s good. It’s good because within that mess you have gems and probably enough story to go back and mine the gems and polish them up.
Do you hesitate when you write a novel? Get stuck in any phase of the creation, say the planning phase or the middle of the first draft? Nanowrimo is the solution to that. You are FORCED to keep the pace. It’s very much like my running long races of endurance. Parts of it aren’t pretty but damn it you forge ahead anyway. Puking if you have to, but you take in some fuel, mentally pull yourself up by the bootstraps and keep going until you finish.
At the end you see, 1) You can do it. 2) You discovered how creative you can really be when you don’t have the luxury to wallow in your self criticism. You don’t have time for that crap. You just go, go, go. Good things came out of that. My passionate scenes for example were less inhibited than ever. Parts where I floundered because research was needed are fixable.
Go with it. Try it out. It’s fun. I promise.
The Scary Thing About Writing October 24, 2013
Actually there are many scary things about writing. For me, one of those scary things is the curiosity that drives me to go out and find out more about what I am writing or thinking about writing. Maybe I already have some experiences or experience in a certain area and I just access that or go relive it, sort of, and take notes. Maybe I have to get to know a place, type of person, thing or experience a feeling or surrounding to get it right in a story.
It’s always been an attraction I have to writing. The permission to have adventures…with a purpose. It’s also led to lots of trouble. Let’s say I want to know what it’s like to be alone in a creepy abandoned house. What do you think I will do so a reader can feel that kind of fear and uncertainty in my writing? That’s right. I will go to a creepy abandoned house and see how it feels. And I like doing those things. I just forget that I am not necessarily going to be able to control the outcome of events like I can when I am the writer.
Fighting Real vs. Fantasy October 21, 2013
Some of you know I haven’t posted in her in a while. I’ve been running and training and doing about everything but write. Now I feel a bit disappointed in myself for not writing. I have put myself on a running hiatus so I can write again. Another struggle I have is dealing with writing real world topics and non-fiction vs. fantasy and fiction. What’s more fun? Well fiction of course! I read fiction. I also read non-fiction but I ESCAPE in fiction most times over non-fiction.
My stories when they come out will be based on experiences in some way. That’s a scary thing. Especially when it’s exciting because bad things are usually not dull topics. Good things can be exciting but they can also be dull. It’s conflict that makes a story. Using real life events yours or someone else’s can be an emotional journey that a lot of us find difficult. I have an idea to work on.
I will fill you in next time.
Take care and write.
Stuck April 29, 2013
Forgive me. I have been stuck. It’s hard for me to concentrate on more than one big goal at a time. My last 4 months have been practically consumed by marathon and ultra marathon training. That’s a lot of running. Every spare hour it seems some days. Runs that last half a day. It’s insanity and my writing suffered.
I think about writing a lot. I just don’t do it and as soon as these goals of finishing my next marathon and ultra marathon are done – mid-May, I will be ready to write.
What should I write? I think that’s part of the problem. I have too many ideas. Some writers get a great idea for a book. I get more than one at a time and don’t know which to write. Both seem like great ideas. Neither pulls me harder than the other. What do I do?
Brainstorm, but that takes time. Time I will have soon because I will make the time again. Soon.
Focusing and Organizing to Write February 1, 2013
Look at the light through the trees!! 😀 I know success is there, I just have to push through obstacles like that big shiny golden orb. 😀
I haven’t written a blog for Wildflowers in a while because my mind is so cluttered lately and I feel a little unfocused and overwhelmed. The new year started. Does that give you kind of a panic attack? Another year…and what have I done with my writing? It does me! A huge one. Then I have been pouring a lot of my energy into dieting, planning and training for a marathon and an ultra-marathon this Spring. Sometimes a singular focus on one thing makes me neglect other things also important. But I have a day to work on more organizing and some writing!
Last time I organized, about a week or two ago, I managed to find all my old manuscripts and file them in a place on my laptop and put the latest documents on an external hard drive and up on Google Docs. Pretty good start. My next phase is to decide if I want to start a new novel or work on an existing manuscript. In the meantime I think it makes sense to write some more short stories to get my writing primed. Like training for a race, I need warm ups and practice to write more fluidly and gracefully.
It doesn’t hurt to do this every few months. I think I will try to make a habit of it. But especially the saving files to the cloud or on an external hard drive. Focusing is harder. Giving myself permission this day to write anything I hope will get me focused and brainstorming is always a fun activity.
Back to Mexico January 21, 2013
Currently I am working on a story set in Mexico City. It’s partly based on my own experience there living in an apartment alone for 6 weeks while I worked on a research project. I was 22 at the time. Ironically the subject of the project was emerging feminism in politics in Mexico at the time. Ha! Well, the ironic part was how crazy that time was for me and mostly because I was a single woman, alone in a very large, dangerous city. Feminism seemed a little elusive.
But back to writing. I’ve stopped half way through and I have this problem with a fictionalized version of things. I need to get into the dream mode and look past the gritty reality. Okay, so either way it’s a good story, but letting it be an account of non-fiction would expose too much of me and that is very hard, very hard to do. In fact, I keep wrestling with this. Perhaps if I were a man…maybe then I’d just seem cool.
Anyway, I am stuck. Like I went down an alley way that kept on narrowing and getting dimmer until I found myself facing a brick wall. I am backing out and turning around, re-examining my story. I have stories I think should be told. But why, I ask, do they have to be so personal? Writing is a process either way. You find a way to make it work. You have to always find a way.