Posts Tagged ‘nanowrimo’

Preparing to Lose

Well, squiders, how’s your November going? Mine’s a cluster, but it’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.

There are five days left in November. In those five days (including today), in order to get to 50K, I need to write 19.4K words. That’s approximately 3.9K words a day. In theory doable, especially if one doesn’t have a lot of other obligations.

Alas, I have other obligations.

It feels weird to be so far behind (about 11K words as of this writing). I’ve written every day this month except the 3rd. Which is waaaaay more consistent than I generally am during Nano. I had hopes that I would be able to do some major catch-up this week while I and the small, mobile ones were on Thanksgiving Break, but apparently that was a strange fantasy I made up in my brain.

Thanksgiving is always stressful. We host my spouse’s family, and he gets all perfectionist about the state of the house and finishing projects that have otherwise been languishing. So Wednesday and yesterday were useless. I knew yesterday was going to be, but for some reason I forgot about Wednesday. I should know about Wednesday by now.

ANYWAY, despite excellent consistency, it is time to admit that unless I am willing to do nothing else but write until Wednesday, I am going to lose Nanowrimo.

And I do not have the luxury of doing nothing but writing until Wednesday.

I mean, I suppose I could do what I did a few years ago, and rent out a hotel room for one night (I got 9K in that night) and then I might be good to go! But unless a lot of people get really cool about a lot of things real fast, it’s unlikely.

It’s okay. I’m not even upset. Things happen, and I have 30K on a story that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

And it’s not the first time I’ve lost. Sure, yes, normally things go downhill considerably faster (I think the last time I lost, which was, oh, 2012, maybe? I only got 12 or 14K words for the month) but it’s not the end of the world. And I’d much rather have a story I can do something with instead of throwing together a mess.

Anyway, it’s not looking good, and that’s fine.

How are your months going, squiders?

This is Not Going Well

Oy vey, squiders.

It’s what, the 11th? So, for Nano, I’m probably supposed to be at, oh, 18,300 words or some such. I’m at 11,400-ish. Almost seven thousand words behind and slowly slipping, day by day.

It’s not from lack of trying. I’ve been writing almost every day, which is more than I normally do during Nano. I’m just…not getting enough words. And not because the story’s going poorly. I switched to third person, like I told you last week, and everything’s been going great since then. The story is flowing well, the plot points are being hit appropriately, I’m having fun.

I just don’t have enough writing time.

I mean, I haven’t written today (Thursday, though this will go live on Friday) because I had to paint my entire basement, which took about four hours, but in general I’m eking out about an hour, hour and a half a day. Which is enough to get somewhere between 1200 and 1700 words with how fast I write. Which is good words! But not enough to catch up.

Now, seven thousand words seems like a lot of missing words. I could, understandably, throw my hands up and throw in the towel.

But I don’t actually feel bad about it. It feels fixable. I mean, not if the slide continues, but I’m still optimistic. Not even cautiously optimistic, just optimistic.

And potentially insane, I guess.

There’s Thanksgiving break coming up in about a week. Now, this could be very hit or miss. No work for me that week, so if I can properly entertain the small, mobile ones, maybe I could do a couple days of 3-5K words, which would be a good way to catch up or potentially get ahead. Or, depending on life, the small, mobile ones will require lots of attention and nothing will get done.

Maybe if I take them somewhere and wear them out in the morning, then I could write in the afternoon? Things to ponder.

Anyway, tl;dr, wildly behind on Nano but having fun nevertheless.

In other news, I re-recorded the video that needed fixing for SkillShare (took forever to find time to do that, which is why I didn’t get all my words yesterday) so I just need to edit that and re-upload it, and hopefully we shall be back in business.

Tomorrow (today? Friday) isn’t looking good for doing anything though–meetings out the wazoo. Hooray.

Anyway, how are you doing, squider? How are your goals for the month going?

Wait, When Did November Get Here?

Just as housekeeping, squiders, I’m going to officially go down to blogging once a week through the end of the year. We’re dealing with some things around here, and I need to dedicate my time to those.

Anyway, hi, it’s November. I feel like it came on really fast. Well, like, it was October, and I was on top of things, and I had Nano all planned, and everything was going great and then BAM! November, and everything’s fallen apart.

It’s the third, I’m already a day and a half behind on Nano, and things outside writing just keep getting harder.

It’s frustrating, to say the least.

On top of Nano being behind, SkillShare pulled my outlining workshop because I didn’t follow the template for the intro class. Which, looking back, I always follow the template, so I don’t know why I didn’t this time. Spaced it, I guess? Got so excited about doing a workshop that I just threw convention out the window?

Anyway, I need to fix that. Shouldn’t be too hard, just need to write a script and re-record the video, but it’s been almost a week and I haven’t managed to find the time. It’s probably going to be Friday, at this rate, unless ongoing issues eat my Friday and everything continues in a downhill slide.

Nano’s feeling a bit shaky too. I’m writing first person, which I did last year for my murder mystery, but everything feels clunky and weird, and I can’t tell if it’s because first person was the Wrong Choice, I’m starting in the wrong spot (feels a bit slow), or if that’s just how Starting a Story Goes. If I could get some time here, I might try writing a section in third person to see if that feels better.

I’d hate to write the whole story in the wrong point of view and then have to change it later. That way lies madness.

But also, if things don’t hit their stride a bit here, I’m never going to catch back up.

Aside from Nano and SkillShare classes stuttering along, I haven’t even started my trip journal from our trip to Portland a few weeks ago. (I just realized I didn’t tell you guys we went to Portland. Hooray for pre-writing and scheduling posts, I guess.) At the beginning of 2020 I started a sketch travel journal, where I’ve dutifully drawn my way through every trip since, along with including commentary, which has been an interesting but unintended way of examining the pandemic. Normally I work on it during the trip, but I didn’t even touch it, and I continue to not touch it.

I realize, in the great scheme of things, it’s not that big of deal, but it’s that whole anxiety about not doing something you meant to do on top of everything else.

Anyway, tl;dr, November is off to a rough start, and I’ve got to figure something out or else I’m going to go mad. I hope things are going better for you!

Nano Aftermath

Happy December, everybody. It’s miserably cold here and snowed for approximately five seconds before it got bored, which, well, boo, I guess.

December is here, and so Nano is over. I had 4,000 words to write yesterday, but they didn’t end up being an issue at all–in fact, it was some of the most relaxed I’ve ever been on a Nov 30 in a Nano year.

I also, for the first time ever, have a complete first draft after Nano. Now, most of the time, I’m writing fantasy or science fiction, which trend longer than mysteries in general, so I guess that’s not that big of a surprise. I think the closest I got before was a YA fantasy story (I may revise that one next year, we shall see) whose first draft ended up being around 60,000 words.

Nano was weird this year. Almost…dreamlike, in some ways. It had none of its usual trappings. The loss of the in-person write-ins made it so I didn’t connect with anyone locally, and even my online groups weren’t terribly active. Normally they perk back up for Nano, but I barely saw a bump this year.

So, did that make it worse…or better?

While I spent a lot of the month behind, at no point was I stressed. Heck, for the last two weeks, I was routinely writing 2K to 3K without breaking a sweat. Despite not doing my normal accountability things, such as posting excerpts and daily word count checks in one of my writing groups, I had no issues keeping myself motivated.

That makes me wonder how much of the accountability things are really working, and how much of them are just extra work on top of the writing.

50K is a little short for a mystery–my research says they tend to be in the 60-70K range, but I suspect I didn’t provide enough misdirection in the middle. That’s fixable. For now, though, I have written a complete draft of a mystery, and if you recall, I wasn’t sure that was doable.

Nano was fine. Barely broke a sweat. Felt weird about how not stressful it was.

Now we’re on to December! The education goals are back on, though I’m a bit tired out on writing books, so I’m doing a nonfiction book about Christmas folklore instead, and I intend to do my monthly prompts again. I shall have to think about whether or not I’d like to keep doing them, come the new year. The practice is good, and it’s nice to write something new each month, but they do sometimes detract from larger projects.

And I don’t know about returning to the Changeling story. It was going so poorly. My mystery went great. I don’t know if that’s because I had to plan the mystery more, or if there’s fundamentally something wrong with the Changeling story. Not all stories are salvageable, and I need to decide if it’s worth it to push forward still or give up.

2020’s almost over. This year has both been so long and too short. I was so enthusiastic at the beginning, looking out over a whole year of possibility. It’s hard to get up the energy to hope 2021 is going to be better. But we’re still a few weeks off on that, so we’ll have to see how everything goes.

How are you, squider? Plans for December? Looking forward to 2021?

November ArtSnacks

Ahahaha super late in the month, but it’s been one of those months. Next month’s box ships tomorrow, I think. I actually won a contest in October so I’m getting it for free, woot.

Here’s my pic for this month–just a quick sketch I put together because I was having issues coming up with ideas to go with the colors I got. Seriously, that’s my biggest complaint about the ArtSnacks. The colors are just plain weird.

drawing of girl

Let’s go through the stuff, shall we?

Marabu Graphix Sketch Marker
This is a double-sided marker, with a thin side and a super thick side. Mine’s a dark purple color, which I used as the outline in the picture above. It’s actually quite nice to use for outlining, and outlining with color gives the picture some interesting pop. That being said, it bleeds through my paper, and this is not thin paper.

Tombow Pastel MONO Graph Mechanical Pencil
It’s a mechanical pencil. It’s a nice mechanical pencil, I guess. It works well for sketching. Don’t have a lot to say about it.

Tombow Fudenosuke Neon Brush Pen
Mine’s yellow. Like, highlighter yellow. Good for pop too, I suppose. I found it hard to color with, like the color didn’t want to come. Maybe it’ll get better over time. But aside from pop, not sure what I’ll use it for.

Caran d’Ache Luminance 6901 Colored Pencils
There’s two; mine are blue and peach. They’re very soft colored pencils and I feel like I’m going through them quickly. I got a blue colored pencil in an earlier box, so I wish I was getting different colors. But, I mean, can you ever really have too many colored pencils?

The purple marker is probably my favorite thing this month, and mechanical pencils are always good.

I think I may be near the end of my ArtSnacks subscription, however. I feel like the box is a good value, and it’s nice to have new things, but I’m starting to accumulate things I may not necessarily use, and without better color variety, especially in things like markers, they have limited functionality.

I did use some of the previous ArtSnacks supplies in another picture I drew today (the green paint pen from September continues to be the bane of my existence) but I couldn’t get very far, which was somewhat telling.

Along with getting a free box, I also won $25 worth of supplies. I should go through their shop and see if I can supplement my marker supply with other colors.

As far as Nano, I’m still a little behind, but I’ve been catching up, and I should be on track tomorrow or the day after. Next time you hear from me, it’ll be December, and we’ll know how the month played out in the end. Wish me luck!

Merrily We Crawl Along

Well, Kit, you might ask, how is Nano going?

It’s not going great, not going to lie. Oh, the story itself is fine. I’m a little over on word count vs. plot point, but I’m generally where I need to be (though I have reached the end of what I’ve outlined and now need to outline the next third). The first person viewpoint is going pretty well for being new to me for novel length works.

(Wait, I think my first Nano, the one I was telling you guys about, back in 2003, the murder mystery that went into a drawer and was never seen again, may have been in first person. We don’t talk about that one, though.)

It’s more…working up the motivation to write. Like, the mobile ones are virtual again, so there’s a lot of making sure people are getting to Zoom meetings on time (not necessarily a strong point of mine–I think the small, mobile one must have had a speech therapy one yesterday, but I didn’t get a meeting link so I don’t even know) and generally making sure people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing (and understand what they’re supposed to be doing). But once they’re in their meetings, I could, in theory, sit next to them and write.

Do I write? No. Well, I did on Monday, but in general, I am not. Instead I’ve watched a webinar I’ve been sitting on since July, have watched a lot of YouTube videos of people playing Among Us, read two and a half books, spent way too much time on Tumblr and in the Am I an Asshole? subreddit, and not done any artwork whatsoever all month.

It’s frustrating.

Part of it is that having the small, mobile ones is distracting, which makes it hard to focus on anything specific. A YouTube video is easy to put down and come back to, whereas if I have to wander away from writing because someone can’t find the right math sheet it’s harder to get back into the flow of it.

The other part is I’m just existing at an elevated stress level in general. There’s the pandemic, of course, and I’ve got to decide if I’m letting the small, mobile ones go back to in-person school after Thanksgiving break or if it’s safer to keep them virtual through Winter break. There’s Thanksgiving, which was already a bit weird because we’ve lost several members of the family over the last few months, but now it looks like we’ve got to keep it to just the immediate family, but cooking a whole meal for just us seems excessive, and do I order a pre-made meal from somewhere? But almost everywhere has set menus which include things like stuffing, and no one in my family will eat stuffing (me and small, mobile ones don’t like it, and spouse has Celiac). My dryer died and needs to be replaced, but everyone’s out a few weeks on delivery (the new one is finally coming on Saturday, a full 13 days after the current one died. We’re into the dredges of everyone’s clothes).

Plus, there’s the election mess which is never-ending, and climate change, and other things that if I think about them too closely send me into an existential crisis.

Good times.

I’m only a few days behind, really. If I would just sit and focus for an hour or so a day, I’d be fine.

But man, finding that focus is not easy.

I’m going to soldier on. The month is still, well, not young, but achievable. And if I don’t get to 50K, well, it won’t be the end of the world.

How are you faring, squider? Are you feeling okay? What are you doing to get through this month?

Let’s Not Talk About That

Happy Election Day, squiders, I guess. Man, I’m exhausted from being anxious all the time and I wish I thought today would be the end of it. But that’s depressing, so let’s not talk about that.

Let’s talk about Nano!

Here we are, day 3. I’m pretty much right on track (though I haven’t written for today yet). Normally I try to write 2K a day so I can be a little ahead. I may get there yet, but thus far I’m just trying to keep up and not worry about it.

It’s actually a bit of a miracle that I’m on track. October, as I mentioned before, I spent most of the month trying (and failing) to finish my changeling story draft, so I didn’t switch to planning my Nano cozy mystery until pretty late in the month.

Which meant that I was not done with my planning by the time November hit.

We’ve talked about this before, but I find it really hard to outline in detail on a first draft, but I do like to have some direction (and also it helps with my pacing), so I tend to do an outline style where I know my major plot points and can head toward them in a timely fashion.

You can probably pants a mystery. Actually, the very first time I did Nano, back in 2003, I wrote a mystery. Well, I wrote 29,000 words of a mystery, then got a concussion and the death flu. That one was not planned. In fact, I wasn’t even going to do Nano until I woke up with a story idea on November 3rd. And I didn’t know who was the killer until I was 10,000 words in.

But I also haven’t ever touched that story again, so.

ANYWAY, though, I had to do new and different planning for the mystery. A lot more character work. Normally I just let them form on the page (though arguably that did not go well for the changeling story, so), but this time I found a blog post about using a random number generator so you could decide how they’d react in different situations, which was very useful. Also a quirk generator, because what’s the point of a cozy mystery if you don’t have wacky side characters?

And then I had to plan out my murder. (Actually greatly helped by a joke conversation on one of my writing group’s Discord channel.) And you can’t just plan out the murder. You have to know where all potential suspects are throughout the murder, so you can plan for red herrings.

My point is, on the morning on November 1st, I had MOST of my character work done.

So I spent the morning finishing my characters and then writing out the murder.

I spent the afternoon doing the murder timeline and the first third of a more detailed phase/turning point outline.

And in the evening, finally, I got to write. (And also botch dinner three times, but we’re not going to talk about that.)

It was an intense day.

My third of an outline should get me to about 20,000 words (or day 10ish), so around then I’ll need to do the next third. I think it’s okay, not having the whole detailed outline done. It’ll allow me to integrate things that happen organically in the first third, and I do have a general sense of how the story is going to go.

So. Still early, but doing okay.

How’s your November going, squiders? Doing anything distracting?

A Roadblock for the Education Goal

Oh, wait, I was going to draw you a landsquid for today. Uhhh…hold on.

Okay! Here we go!

Hooray! It’s fall, it’s October, my FAVORITE, as I no doubt mention every year (August was the 10th anniversary of the blog, can you believe that?). Time for sweaters and warm drinks (like I don’t drink warm drinks all year) and boots and pretty trees and everything wonderful.

But it almost means Nano is coming, and while September is really too early for Nano anything, October is prime prepping time, especially if one is trying out a new genre, one that requires a bit more planning than normal.

We’re most of the way through 2020, so if you’ve somehow missed me mentioning my word for the year, education, well, I don’t know what to tell you. As a recap, the education goal comes along with:

  • Two prompt responses a month to just write (as opposed to writing for publication)
  • An art class or book or stretch project
  • A writing book or class

I’ve completed these goals every month so far. But now that we’ve hit October, I’m starting to see some issues moving forward.

On the prompt responses, well, the prompt responses have been getting done, but other, larger projects (*coughChangelingnovelcough*) have not been getting done. I would very much like to have the first draft of the Changeling story done before November. Which may mean that I need to refocus my writing time, which means the prompts may not get done.

And, well, I’m not 100% on Nano (which will greatly depend on whether or not schools are open), but if I do it, then the prompts will, again, need to take a back seat.

Art! Hooray! (My next ArtSnacks is on its way and I’m super excited!) I was taking SkillShare classes, but my membership expired and I probably won’t renew it til the new year at the earliest. Last month I went through one of the drawing books I got from my mom (my mom is a book hoarder, which, well, is genetic I guess. But at least when she cleans out her writing/art books I get free, useful books) which was very interesting, but it’s hard to get through a whole book in a month. Every page or so I wanted to stop and try something out.

So for this month, and potentially the rest of the year, I could pick a book and go through it slower so I can practice more techniques. Or I could just free-draw, using the techniques I’ve learned earlier. Not sure yet.

Which brings us to the writing books/classes. This month is good. I’m reading a book about how to write mysteries. Not sure what to do about next month, though. I think Writer’s Digest has some short tutorials about mysteries. Since I’ll be working on a mystery, I think I want to focus there as opposed to reading a book on another writing subject. But it also seems like you have to do a lot of the work pre-writing for a mystery, so it may not make sense to learn more about mysteries at that point.

Maybe I’ll just take the month off.

Thoughts, squiders? Excited for fall? I’m hoping we get some moisture and everything stops being on fire.

Nanowrimo Comes Earlier Every Year

You know what showed up in my inbox this morning?

NaNoWriMo’s preparation workshop for the year.

It’s SEPTEMBER. It’s barely MID-SEPTEMBER. What the heck? What happened to waking up on November 1st and going with whatever caught your fancy at the moment in time?

I kid. I only did that once. And it was November 3rd.

But ugh, it still feels early. And when I get planning stuff now-ish, it makes me anxious. Should I be planning my story already? Am I setting myself up for failure?

I know I’m not. I’ve done–and won–Nano a ridiculous number of times. I know what works for me. But there’s always a thread that goes you are behind and you are going to fail when I see what feels like everyone else already starting to get ready.

Also, how much of the year needs to be dedicated to Nano, honestly? It already eats the entirety of November. And some of October. It’s like Halloween and Christmas, invading stores a little earlier each year. Do we really need to sacrifice September to Nano too?

I mean, maybe, if you need a lot of plotting or research. But otherwise?

Maybe I’m just getting grumpy in my old age.

At this point, I’m not 100% on Nano. I had fun last year, and it was nice to do it again, but they’ve cancelled all in-person events for this year (understandable, but still sad), and I wonder if it’ll be as easy to get the momentum going without them. I try to hit at least one in-person write-in a week normally. Virtual write-ins are harder for me, because I find it easier to get distracted. (And no one’s looking over your shoulder to see that you’re messing around on YouTube or tumblr instead of what you should be doing.)

Also, you know, the small, mobile ones are only partially in school, which means they need daily supervision, and this year is just all over the place in terms of productivity.

I would like to do Nano. I have a project in mind–the first book of a paranormal cozy mystery series that I’ve been planning on and off for about two years now. You guys know I always like to do something new each Nano, and I love cozy mysteries. Mysteries have always seemed really hard to write, but I figure it won’t hurt to try!

(Plus cozies are shorter, so I might be able to get a whole draft written, instead of half a draft of an epic fantasy, har har.)

It’s just…ugh. I don’t want to start planning Nano yet. I’m not ready! I have to finish my changeling story draft and, uh, I dunno. Something else.

What do you think, squiders? Do you Nano? When do you start planning? Do you go through Nano’s prep program or do your own thing?

I Won NaNoWriMo!

Happy Friday, squiders. Best of luck to you if you’re in the States and braving the stores like a crazy person.

(I did mine online, since most stores offer the same deals online as in store, and then I just cruise in later and pick up my stuff.)

(I bought art supplies, but we’ll talk about that next month.)

It’s November 29th, and as of 7:15 this morning, I’m at 50,000 words on World’s Edge and officially a winner of Nanowrimo 2019.

Excuse me while I bask in your adoration.

Anyway!

You’ll note that I’m about four days behind when I predicted winning Nano (Monday, the 25th), and unfortunately that’s due to a fairly major medical issue that was discovered last Thursday and ate Thursday-Saturday.

(The immediate danger is dealt with, and we’re in the running tests/figuring out what happened stage, which is exhausting but less overall time consuming, at least at the moment.)

If you said, hey, Kit, that’s only three days and yet you’re four days behind, well, the fourth day was yesterday, where I worked out for the first time since said medical emergency and regretted it for the rest of the day. (Also we host Thanksgiving, so.)

I’d like to say I’ll keep writing and get the entire first draft done, oh, mid-January or so, but past experience tells me that even with the best intentions, we’re looking at 5K in December, max.

I love Nano (when appropriate for my goals) but I find that it just…takes a lot out of me. Not sure why. Expectation, maybe? The pressure of the goal? Having to write everyday? (I normally only write during the week the rest of the year.) So it’s hard to keep writing in December, cuz I always feel a little bit burnt out.

Plus December’s hard for other reasons. Just a ton to do to get ready for Christmas (and we’re already behind, due to Thanksgiving being so late) really. So there’s not always as much time to work as one would like.

So, hooray! I accomplished my goal for the month. And I got to work on a project I’ve been waiting on for years. So I call it a good month. I hope it was for you as well. See you in December!