Day Twenty of Nanowrimo

•November 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It is day twenty of Nanowrimo, and I continue to be behind my goal by about 2,000 words.  My goal is to write 22,000 words for the month, a number far shy of the 50,000 many are working towards.  I began with the condensed word count due to a number of reasons, the most pressing being my work and school load for this semester.  I have thought a number of times during the course of this month that this would have been much easier to do during the month of June when I only had my work and home life to worry about without the added pressures of school.

The writing itself is slow-going, coming in fits and stops.  For example, today I wrote over two thousand words, but I didn’t write at all for the three days prior.  It was not always for lack of time.  It’s often a lack of energy or even ideas of what to write about that stymies me.  I pulled out a book of prompts today and that was what got the two thousand words out of me, which was a boon, but not all of it will be useful for my novel.  In case you are curious the prompt book is called Q&A a Day published by Potter Style.  I picked it up at Barnes and Noble about six months ago.  You are supposed to write short answers to a question every day of the year.  I pick and choose at random as they strike me and date them accordingly.  Today’s was “What advice would you have for a third grader?”  (And those of you who know third graders are thinking “What third grader is going to sit through 2,000 words of advice?”  Aren’t you glad you aren’t my kid?)

I also consulted my Writer’s Digest from May/June this year on the 101 Best Websites for Writers.  The first six of them are about creativity so I am planning on consulting one or all of them tomorrow if I get desperate.  If I find a good one I’ll post it.

Where did my momentum go for my wonderful new novel?  It went the way of my momentum regarding pretty much everything…out the window when the demands of the end of the school semester began to bear down.  It is the one thing that I truly dislike about school — the crush at the end.  And you must know this about me to understand my frustration.  I never procrastinate.  I tried that for one semester of my freshman year of college a million years ago and it made me into a person who lives and breathes by schedules.  So believe me when I tell you that I have been doing my work on time or ahead of time all semester.

But I am winded.  I stare at my work/school/writing computer screens and think…what am I supposed to be doing right now.  It has gotten to the point that I nap when my daughter naps, my mind is so tired.  Oh yeah, I also have a little kid.  Did I mention that?

So listen.  Big picture: these are not big problems.

But from the standpoint of the writer’s life, writing during the long-distance marathon of work/school/family life is tough.  I’ll finish the race.  How I prioritize my work will be appropriate to my stage of life.  In other words, you don’t pay out of pocket for a Master’s program as the third act in your professional life and then blow a semester because it conflicted with Nanowrimo.

But damn it I will get those 22,000 words one way or another.  It may not be pretty but I’ll get there.

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Day Ten of Nanowrimo

•November 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

So funny thing.  That neck injury was not something to mess around with.  I lost my mojo for a few days but now I’m back.  I am behind on my writing by about two thousand words, which isn’t so bad considering that I lost three writing days.

Writing days. I’ve made a pact with three other people that we’ve been holding one another to since June.  The rules are as follows:  Write a minimum of 350 words a day every day.  You are allowed two “skip” days a week but you must plan for them and write double the number of words on the day before.  If you miss days without planning or if you “skip” more than two days a week you owe one dollar per transgression.  Since June my amount of money owed is up to $28, which I think is fairly respectable since there was a vacation in there as well as a couple of other unforeseen bumps in the road.  Case in point: neck injury.

Three hundred and fifty words is a very small number, less than a page single-spaced.  When I was writing fan fiction I blew that number out of the water by five or six times on a daily basis.  But that is one of the perks of writing fan fiction.  It is what I have come to think of as lite-writing.  It is not that I think of it as poor writing, but rather it is hyper-focused on one aspect.  In my case the focus was on characterization, or more specifically, character motive.

Over the past ten days, as I’ve struggled to come up with 5,980 words of my own original work, I’ve been reminded of how truly hard it is to write something from the ground up.  And I’m not swinging for the fences here…I am well aware of the fact that I am writing a very shitty first draft.  A texturized setting with characters that matter driven to act by conflict that isn’t boring or cliched all teetering on the tightrope of a storyline…yeah, it’s a lot harder than writing fan fiction.

To be fair I am speaking only of myself here.  I’ve certainly read fan fiction where the authors were swinging for the fences, and though the characters and story lines weren’t “theirs” per se, they worked to make them their own.  In other words I’ve read fan fiction that was not hyper-focused or an exercise in anything.  Some of it is unique and inspiring on a level that is book-worthy.

So as I’ve transitioned from writing 350 words a day to a 1000 words a day for nanowrimo AND writing original work as opposed to fan fiction here is what I’ve learned:  I can’t leave it to the end of the day.  Waiting until my child and husband are asleep does not work for the level of brainpower required.  This is difficult since I also work.  So I’m left with odd little slivers of time.  Early morning after coffee; the hour between work ending and class beginning; while I’m making dinner.  Sometimes I write during my lunch break and a little bit after (shh).  I’ve befriended the voice memo feature on my phone.  I make a million little notes to myself during the day.  It certainly is not the ideal situation, but it is the best I can do for now.

I’m trying to think…what would be the ideal writing situation?  Without losing all of the other important things in my life…what would that even look like?

Day One of Nanowrimo

•November 2, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Could have been defeated out of the gate.  I threw my effing neck out yesterday doing kickboxing and landed in the chiropractor’s office.  His advice was to not move my head in any direction, especially not up or down…and no computer work.  Ha!  I could not believe it.  In fact, I’ve said that phrase continuously throughout the day.  Can not believe it.

But I soldiered through.

Going to bed now with an ice pack and about 800 mgs of ibuprofen.  But I was successful on day one.

I know your health comes first and all but geesh…

Nanowrimo

•October 31, 2012 • 2 Comments

Is it okay to start Nanowrimo if you aren’t planning on meeting the 50K word goal?  Because I’m not, it’s the flat out and out truth.  I am shooting for 22,000 words, which for some means that I shouldn’t even be participating.  I’ve been tracking my writing habits since June and I average about 525 words a day.  Jumping to 22,000 words will force me to double that, as I don’t anticipate writing on two out of seven days a week due to life stuff.  I know that I should be trying to shoot for writing the requisite 1667 words a day on the 22 days that I will be writing and in my secret heart of hearts I think that I will be.  That would bring me to a much more respectable 36,674 words.  We will see.  All fan fiction will be going on hold for now as I will be starting a new novel of original origin.  My current original work has been moldering all summer long due to loss of the thread.  I believe in my heart that I will return to it.  I’m hoping that this fresh blood will revitalize my quest to write my own work.  Fan fiction has been and continues to be a passion as well as an excellent exercise in working on the mechanics of writing.  I only hope that I can put to work some of the things that I’ve learned about characterization over the summer and this fall.  The widget for Nanowrimo will be posted shortly.  Hope it works.  Happy writing fairies please come and roost in my writing hollow for November.  Pretty please.  

To begin

•October 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I have stopped RIGHT…HERE…

before in this process because writing the first post seemed so daunting.  As if I needed to distill all of my plans for the project right at the beginning from the very moment of inception, fully perfected and realized, into a single perfect opening post.

RIGHT…HERE…

I am not going to do that this time.  In the beginning I am going to be a mess, because I’m learning and it is an evolving process.  I’m trying to figure out how to link this to twitter and then back again.  I’m trying to figure out why I need an about.me page (even though I have one and it better be linked!).  And I’ve got to get Facebook mixed into this disaster.

For what you might ask?

This is practice.

It is very fun and useful practice, but it is, in the end, not much more than a bit of a dress rehearsal.  I pray with every fiber of my being that it is a rehearsal for a show that will eventually go on…but more on that later.

In summary:  My name is not aethershine.  My mother, though a child of the sixties, is far too kind to grace me with such a moniker.  Aethershine is my pen name and I use it when I’m writing fan fiction.

DON’T STOP READING!!!!

I know that fan fiction is kind of an F word right now, but I promise it has its uses, and I hope to make a case for that over the course of this project.  That is one of my goals.  GOAL: MAKE A CASE FOR FAN FICTION.

My second goal, which is of far more personal importance,  is to learn the ropes of social media and maintaining an internet presence.  Think of it as a dry run for when I finish my original work of fiction and I have to do this for real.  With my real name.  I’m not counting on having money for someone else to do it for me, so I figure it is best to know how to do these things for myself.  I like being self-reliant.  GOAL: FIGURE OUT SOCIAL MEDIA/INTERNET PRESENCE FOR WHEN YOU ARE PUBLISHED WITH OWN WORK.

My third goal is simply to write and hopefully link to other people who like to write and who have similar interests.  GOAL: NETWORK MOSTLY FOR FUN.

My final goal is that I work on this once a week.  Today worked out okay so maybe it will be a Tuesday blog…but this is going to be a bit of a slippery fish at first so for now…GOAL: BLOG ONCE A WEEK.