Monthly Archives: April 2014

Eureka!

That’s how I felt when I validated earlier today. I did it and I still have one day to spare. Yay, me. Okay, so I want to brag a little. Anyone who finishes has the right to brag, as well as those who tried and didn’t finish. We all did more than those who didn’t even start. That’s something to brag about. I hereby give anyone who wants to brag permission to do so. Just leave a comment below, and I will post your brag.

I will do one more blog this month and then close it down until the next camp. I want to do some interviews with my characters in the novel I have planned for November that month. What is it, July? I think so. Whatever month it is, I will write another 10,000 words and I will get to know my characters. What are you planning to do?

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The End is Near

I’m not talking about the end of the world. I’m talking about the end of Camp NaNo. Wednesday is the last day, and I’m not ready. I need a few more days to get my word count up. Oh, why didn’t I start earlier?

Does this sound familiar? Who else needs a few more days to get their word count up? Who wouldn’t finish it even if they did have a few more days? Is anyone tempted to revise their word count goal so that they can make it?

My goal is only 10,000, which is the least you can have, so that’s not an option for me. Would I if I could? I don’t know. Maybe. I have changed what I was working on three times this month, before finally deciding on what I was definitely going to do. Did I wait too late?

Everything was going fine until yesterday. I had a day when I simply couldn’t write at all. That wouldn’t be so bad if I had started at the beginning of the month, but I didn’t. It’s a good thing what I am writing doesn’t have to make sense, because it doesn’t.

I know I’m not the only one who starts late, although it sometimes feels like it. Most people who quit start at the beginning of the month and fizzle out. I do just the opposite. I don’t know why. I just do.

I get frustrated when people say you have to write every single day if you want to be a writer. You don’t. You just have to write. Taking a few days off, from time to time, won’t keep a person from being a writer. It seems magnified when it happens during noveling month. I don’t ever write every day of a month. It just isn’t possible for me. My head won’t let me.

I can’t pretend to speak for anyone else. I only know what is true for me. The truth is, I have never once believed I could finish a novel in a month, and I have done it twice now. It wasn’t good. It was filled with a lot of drivel. But it was written.

Now that the month is almost over, I find myself, once again, stressing about finishing.

So why do I do this to myself? I can’t help it. I’m a writer.

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Can I Quit Now?

Some days, I just want to ask the world that. Can I quit now? Have I done enough? What was I thinking? There will be very little added to my word count today, but that will have to be okay. I still have time to make up for it and, if I don’t, well too bad. I’m not going to be a quitter, but I’m not going to stress about finishing. I’m a winner by just trying. That’s all I’m writing for tonight. Bear with me. I will get back to it.

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Writing When You Don’t Want To

Some days, I just can’t seem to pull it together. Sure, the end is in sight but, somehow, that makes it worse. I wonder if I am really going to finish on time, or if I will fail this time.

Today has been one of those days. I have written nothing more than a bunch of drivel. Even the drivel I have written hasn’t come easy. Why did I ever tell myself I could do this?

The first November I tried, I was terrified I wouldn’t make it. The second November I was supposed to do it, I got sick and couldn’t. The third year, my mind kept telling me I had done it once, but I would never do it again. I bought a NaNo tee shirt and told myself I had to finish to keep it, or it would go into the area raffle. I managed to keep my tee shirt.

I didn’t manage the first camp I tried, but we still had to write 50,000 words then. This time, my goal is 10,000. That should be a piece of cake, right?

The 16th was the first day I wrote anything, then I didn’t write anything else until the 23rd. Between those two days, I managed to get 1,003 words on the screen. If I wanted to finish, I needed to get started.

The next day, I wrote over 2,500, so I was back in the game. I have now written over 6,000 words. I need less than 1,000 words per day to finish on time.

That doesn’t stop the doubts from popping up. How many times will I have to finish before I believe I can? Will I ever believe?

Writing months are full of ups and downs. Today was a down day. Tomorrow may be an up day. One thing I do know, At the end of the month I will have written more words in my lifetime than I had at the beginning of the month. That is something to be proud of.

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Striving For Imperfection

Let’s face it. Nobody’s perfect and your novel won’t be either. Neither will mine. That is what NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo mean to me. I am learning to strive for imperfection.

Imperfection doesn’t mean the novel is bad. On the contrary, a “perfect” novel would be almost unreadable. Perfection is boring. It is the imperfections that make our stories come to life. It is the little quirks that a character has that makes them interesting. It is the twists and turns that holds the readers attention. A “perfect” book would offer them very little that they want.

Yes, this is what I keep telling myself. Writing months are for learning to make mistakes. They are for learning to embrace our mistakes.  So, why does my inner editor keep yelling at me to clean up that sentence, that paragraph? Doesn’t he know he is supposed to be taking a break this month? Doesn’t he realize that the whole idea is to allow those ideas to flow without that messy little mistake slowing them down? Stopping to clean up my story interrupts the flow. There is a time for that, and it isn’t when I am supposed to be writing.

I imagine my little editor as a red, devil-like creature, with a huge red pen with flames coming out of it and a cruel smile on his face. The image is so funny, it makes me laugh. I can start to work on my story again, at least for a while. That little devil won’t take a hint. He just keeps coming back.

Go away, devil boy. I’m writing. Go torment a poor, college student, who is trying to write that term paper he is dreading. Maybe even that graduate student working on his thesis. I’ll call you when I’m ready. Now, shew. I’m going to write.

Imperfection is easy to achieve. The right imperfection is a bit harder. How do you know when you have achieved the right level of imperfection?

I don’t have the answer, but I will keep writing. Maybe, just maybe, I will know when I achieve it. Or I will just stop and say “I’m done”. Either way, the story will be in my “completed” folder. Now, I just have to start one of those.

 

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The Demons In My Head

You need to get on Facebook and do something with your games.

No! Not games. I am not playing anymore games on Facebook.

It will just take five minutes.

No. Absolutely not. If I start playing games I will be here two hours from now.

But…

Shut up mind!

And so it begins.  Those nagging voices trying to get me away from doing what I should be doing, what I really want to do. I don’t want to play games. It is an addiction. It’s a form of procrastination. If I play games, I won’t risk failing at what I should be doing.

Why does writing scare me so much? What is it about the blank page that brings out my fear?

The writing demons are strong this month. They try to pull me away from writing in whatever way they can. They will use any excuse I can give them and make it out to be more important than it is.

Your head hurts.

But my head only hurts a little. A couple of headache pills and I should be fine. I tell my demons to shut up.

You need to study your Romanian.

I listen to my Romanian lesson just before bed, and the demons know that. This month, they want me to study every time I decide to write. I tell them “no”, but they won’t shut up.

You need to practice your violin. You can’t write about it if you don’t practice.

That part is true, but I don’t need to practice all the time. If I practiced all the time I would never have time for anything else, like writing about it. I tell the demons to shut up again.

It doesn’t matter. It won’t be very good anyway.

This one is my favorite. I get it every single time I try to write, do research, or put my ideas for a story down on paper. Okay, it’s not really paper anymore. It’s a computer. But you get the idea. I’m not good enough to write so I might as well give up.

All the time I am fighting with my demons over whether or not I am going to write, I’m not actually writing. Yet, I fight with the demons before I put down that first word. They will stop me several times when I am writing to remind me of the futility of what I am doing.

Nano brings the demons out even more. It is like they take it as a challenge to stop me from succeeding. I have to remind myself that, no matter what the demons say, I can do it. Then, I have to write. It might not be good. It might not make sense. But it is written. I am succeeding one word at a time.

Those are my demons. Every writer has his or her own. It comes with the territory.

Now, I have to do one more thing to beat the demons tonight. I have to post this. Take that, demons!

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Stories From the Camp

I decided to do the camp thing this month. My heart was in it. My head wasn’t. So far, I have 1,003 words written and only 6 more days to finish. My goal is set at 10,000, so I can still reach it. I still don’t have to write as many words per day as I would have had to if I had been doing the 50,000 words, like we do in November.

I also got the urge to learn the violin. I had tried a year or so ago, but never was able to practice, so I gave up. Of course, the urge would hit me while I was trying to do Camp Nano. I decided to make the best of the urge and start learning the violin and blog about it at the same time.

Camp Nano isn’t just about writing novels. This month is for doing whatever you want, as long as it’s writing. This is the one month I could engage in a passion and marry it to another goal I had for the same time frame. The blog would help me get through the frustrations of learning an instrument on my own, and taking up the violin would be the impetus I needed to get to writing this month. It was a win-win situation.

Of course, it is never as easy as that. The more I tried to learn the violin, the more my Facebook games called me. The more they called me, the less time I spent on the violin, so the less I had to write about. It went from a win-win situation to a no-win situation.

There was only one thing to do. I had to quit Facebook games cold turkey. I couldn’t leave Facebook itself, because that was how I kept in touch with many of my friends. How would I get by without getting my daily dose of my oldest goddaughter’s baby? Besides, that is how most of my writing groups keep in touch.

The problem now becomes how to get on Facebook long enough to check on what I need to without being sucked in for hours at a time. My profile pic stares out at me with the words “you should be writing.” Okay. I will, just as soon as I check this one thing. It should only take five minutes. Oh, my. Where did the time go? That can’t be right. I can’t have been on Facebook for an hour-and-a-half.

So, now I am trying to get through the frustration by writing this blog about my nanoing. Why, of course I am counting these words against my total. Did you really expect anything else?

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