It’s been a long time since I updated, but I decided it’s time to dust off the blog and start posting again! It’s probably going to be very infrequent and inconsistent posting, but posting nonetheless. Last time I posted, I was attempting another novel for NaNoWriMo last November. The novel is a disaster, but I did indeed complete the 50k words within the month! I also did 10k words for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and now I’m attempting 20k for July’s Camp.
I challenged myself to write a short story this month based on a fairy tale, folk tale, or myth. The research was fun, but I found so many fun things to write about, it made the decision difficult! I started a Beauty and the Beast story with some Persephone influences, but got a little hung up, then realized it was going to be too much story for a short story. I want to work on more planning for that, then resume that story sometime after July. Now I’m working on another short story, based on legends about Firebirds. I’m excited about that one! I plan on eventually posting it on here or for free on Amazon. After July, I’m going to do more world building and start planning out my November novel. I’m still trying to figure out how I write stories best when it comes to planning and plotting. I think I need to have a good general feel for where things are going to keep going well, but I have a lot of stories I started without knowing much about them, and didn’t get very far. However, I love writing journal entry style stories, where there isn’t an overarching plot and I can write each entry as a small story or vignette. Those I write as they come to me, and with little planning and editing. I’d like to eventually have something like that going I post on here as I write them. Not yet, though. Right now, I’m trying to keep focused on Camp NaNoWriMo and my short story, which isn’t easy!
So 31 days of posts last month didn’t happen. Between life, health, injury, homeschooling, trying to get a small business running, and actual novel planning, the blog had to move down in priority. Not that much novel planning actually happened. I kept changing what I wanted to write, and decided the last week or so to go with space colonization (which is turning into mostly stuff happening before the colonization part; not sure when they’re going to get there). I’m on day 4 and still don’t have a plot. But hey, No Plot? No Problem! I just dug out my copy. Hopefully it will help me get through this! I only have 1786 words so far, so I’m currently a couple of days behind. I’m hoping to make a lot of progress today. Time to get to writing!
Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh
I have a migraine and can’t write much, so for today I’m sharing some quotes from Vincent van Gogh that I find inspiring.
“I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort—and disappointment and perseverance.”
“I keep on making what I can’t do yet in order to learn to be able to do it.'”
“For the great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together.”
I have a bit of a story idea I’m turning over in my mind. I wrote a couple of paragraphs as a story opening earlier this year without knowing where it would lead. A line came to me so I started writing. I might work off that more. The idea of writing a whole fantasy novel next month scares me, because I feel like I can’t do it and it won’t be any good and it just won’t happen. But I think it would be good for me anyway, so hopefully I can get some ideas planned out and conquer another novel!
I didn’t have a chance to write a post yesterday, but I was thinking about writing a lot, if that counts for something! I realized that I’ve still been letting fear dictate the story, and even genre, that I planned on writing. I was trying to go for a story I thought I could write in a month rather than write what I really want. So I’ve decided on a genre change. Fantasy is what I really want to write the most, so fantasy it is. The same things apply. It’s still fine to write a bad story!
One hangup for me has been not wanting to write about something in the world I’ve been building if I didn’t know it’s what I wanted for that world. But it doesn’t matter! If I write a rough draft and decide I want details to change, well, that’s what the other drafts are for.
I love what Neil Gaiman has to say about mistakes:
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
I need to stop letting perfectionism and fear keep me from writing. I need to write, and need to write from the heart without being afraid of making mistakes. I’m trying to figure out how to let myself do that and write a whole novel next month. I have a few vague glimmerings of ideas for stories. As I let those simmer in the back of my mind, I’m finding some of my favorite high fantasy stories to read again as inspiration. I have a couple of fantasy worlds (which may end up being different parts of the same world; I’m still not sure) that I’ve started building, and I may use one of those. Or I might pick a fairy tale to retell. There are so many possibilities, and really, it won’t be wrong. It can be whatever I want, so why fear failure? As I try to find my story, I’m trying to let myself relax, lock up my perfectionist, and just write beautiful things because I love it. And I need to write.
Today is day 5 of Write 31 Days, but we’ve been sick, so I skipped a couple of days. Only post 3 for me. I’ll just call it day 5.
I have an idea that’s starting to develop I might turn into my novel. I had the idea a couple of years ago to do a series of different Christmastime stories relating to Secret Santas, so I’m considering starting on that. I’m liking this idea, though I don’t have a whole lot yet. The other ideas I’ve had so far are for stories I don’t want to use for NaNoWriMo.
I think some of my best writing has been when I just write, but for NaNoWriMo, I need to do more deliberate planning. I’ve kind of tried a variety of methods, though haven’t stuck with much for long or figured out what works best for me yet. I do like Bullet Journaling, so I’m reading through the NaNoWriMo Bullet Journaling group on Facebook for some ideas. I have a DIY traveler’s journal with Moleskine notebooks I like to use for notes, as well as Scrivener. I do most of my writing in Scrivener, though I also use Google Drive and Notes to write on my phone when trying to get word count up.
I keep getting overwhelmed by not knowing what I’m going to write, or just the crazy idea of actually writing a WHOLE NOVEL in just one month. So I remind myself it’s fine to write a bad novel. In fact, I’m going to plan on it! It’s not going to be amazing the first time around, and that’s fine. I’m not going to write an amazing novel in a month, but I can manage a bad one. It can be made amazing later. And really, even if it isn’t, that’s fine too. It’s a good experience, and writing a novel is good for me even if I don’t ever do more with it. Having actually done it once before is great for my confidence. I know I can do it now.
So the big advice for today: Write a bad novel! Don’t let fear of writing a bad novel stop you. Write it anyway. It can be made better. Just get the story out.
Today I ordered a 2017 NaNoWriMo shirt! The one year I won, 2015, I bought one, and I think it actually contributed to me winning. I think the financial investment of buying the shirt made it feel like more of a commitment to me, plus wearing every two or three days was a good reminder and push to write! I actually wasn’t a big fan of how the shirt fit, so this year, I’m going to rework the one I bought to fit me more comfortably. So stay tuned for that post! I also created my novel on the NaNoWriMo site. I still don’t know what I’m writing (though I had some ideas today!) so I just put “TBD” as the title. But I created it, which is the first step on there! I’m going to flesh out this story idea a bit and see if it might work. It’s a Christmas story, which is fitting for this time of the year, so we’ll see!
It’s October 1, which means only a month until NaNoWriMo! I decided to do Write 31 Days in October to help me get into the habit of writing daily, as well as be more intentional about preparing for November. My topic for the month is 31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep. Some days I’ll write about something I do that day, and sometimes it will be something I’ve already done. Sometimes I might even share a vignette or micro fiction as I start planning my novel! As of today, I have no idea what my novel will be about. I think it will be set in my fictional small town, in modern days. I’m not sure though. I have some fantasy stories waiting to be told as well. Hopefully as I start planning I’ll figure it out!
One of the first things I’m focusing on is comfort and ergonomics. I got an ergonomic keyboard, which I’m starting to use now in an effort to adjust to it before November. It’s strange to get used to, but I think it will be much better for me in the long run! I have joint pain and some health issues that make typing difficult, which has been an obstacle for me during NaNoWriMo in the past. But hopefully this will make things easier. I’m also starting to organize my desk and surrounding area so I can get it all as easy to use as possible before novel writing time. I’m going to put favorite books, writing tools, and whatever else will be helpful on the shelves right next to the desk. Writing a novel in a month isn’t easy, and I want to help myself out as much as possible! Writing this series will push me to do more planning and preparation. It’s too easy to put it off, then not be prepared come November 1. Tune in tomorrow for the next post! I’m trying to decide on subscription options. I do have a newsletter subscription which I haven’t yet used, so if there’s interest in that, I might start sending out weekly updates that way. In the meantime, I also will be sharing these on my Facebook page, so follow me there if you want the updates!