NaNoWriMo 2016: Fighting boredom

Last night I reached the halfway point with 25,083 words on the count. I am proud of that achievement (got me a new badge) but…and there is often a but, isn’t there.

But, I am bored with the story. I have hit a slump and earlier in FB post I compared it to ‘wading through the undergrowth using a blunt machete’, which is random as I have never actually done that, but also feels rather poetically accurate.

My action has stalled. I feel like all I am doing is character exposition and I am getting bored. This usually hits me a lot earlier so it’s an achievement in itself to have gone this far this time. So what can I do to get excited again and yet keep with the same story?

Here are a few things I have found reading other people’s blogs, Nanowrimo veterans and founder’s book ‘No plot, No problem’ and just thinking about what to do:

  1. Skip straight to a more exciting part
  2. Do a freewriting session
  3. Break it down in smaller 400 words chunks
  4. Stop worrying about the quality of what you are writing

There are a lot more advices around, you just have to Google Nanowrimo Tips to get a whole plethora of articles and blogposts from participants, past winners or from the guest bloggers on Nano site.

For now, I think I am going to try for n#1. I need a bit of action and I have an idea for some which is supposed to happen much later. Right now, it sounds more interesting than going linear.

 

NaNoWriMo 2016: On being lazy

I have said it before but I am very, very good at procrastinating. There are few things I hate more than having to do the chores around the house and I swear, if I ever strike it rich, the first thing I’ll do is get someone else to deal with that.

Yet, when I have a writing deadline, nothing looks more attractive than doing the dishes…or maybe spending six hours playing #TombRaider:DefinitiveEdition on my new PS4! Yep, instead of doing the two writing session per day at the weekend, I found myself lost on the freaky island trying to find GPS caches and killing bad guys with a loaded bow. Very entertaining to be truthful but hardly what I should have been doing during NaNoWriMo.

The problem (and it’s always been my biggest problem, even at school) is that I am on target and because of that, I knew that I only had to do fit in two writing session over the two days to keep on target. I did and I am still on target but I could have gotten myself a bigger buffer, especially that I might struggle to find time today.

So I feel a bit guilty but not guilty enough to do something about it. Story of my writing life. I am hardly going to finish that novel at this rate.

The story is moving along. I wrote my three dream sequences (one for each of my Leading Ladies) and I finally got my first bad guy encounter. I am betting that the first five chapters will get cut out at the editing process as it just is too slow a start but as NaNoWriMo is about finding your story, I am getting there. Providing I stop trying to get Lara killed.

 

New Year, New resolutions?

There is something quite inspiring when you start a new year.

It’s full of possibility, hope and good intentions.

The gyms have never been so full, the queue to the microwave at work is snaking around full of people resolved to save money on lunch, the healthy aisle at the supermarket is empty…

We all do it and it’s ok, as long as we don’t put to much pressure on ourselves and can accept that for most of us, it’s just a phase and it will die a quick death by the end of the month.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am a fickle person. I find new things to get excited about all the time, whether it’s #DIY, #artsandcraft, #jewellerymaking, or #creativewriting…I get all excited, get new gear, do a couple projects, get bored and move on to the next one…Sadly, I have the attention span of a 2 year old.

Saying that, I circle around back regularly so I start the cycle using the same activities.

The one thing I don’t do though, is new year resolutions, mostly because I know it’s a lost cause for my flitting brain. I don’t go on a diet, I don’t do #dryathlete (better to be moderate than to go cold turkey) and I go to the gym the same as before…

I do have the very good intention of completing at least one story though as I used to be prolific in my younger years but I haven’t seem to be able to complete one single story since I caught the writing bug again…I think it’s all down to fear of failure and by that I don’t mean failure to complete but failure to write something good. We are always our worst critic.

So here is to a new, bright and full of hope year 2016 and whatever you do, #keepwriting!

The Art of Procrastination

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Back in October, when I did my first Creative Writing course ever, I was full of good intentions. I had told myself that I was going to get down to writing something seriously, even if only a short story.

I even signed up for the next level of my course to give me some sort of deadline. Surely I could write a first draft between then and February, right? Wrong.

My next course started last Saturday and I haven’t completed a single story. I am the queen of procrastination. Now, that is not to say that I haven’t written anything at all but I have mastered the art of starting a million stories, had a million ideas but after a couple pages, they all fizzle out because I have no idea where my story is going or what my characters are doing…I am not very good at planning/outlining, I always felt I was more of a “seatofpantser” type but the truth is that approach doesn’t work. If you don’t know why your characters are there, no amount of back story searching will help you write. My biggest tool of procrastination: research. I spent hours thinking about the whom, what they were like as a kid, where they live, yadda yadda yadda and not enough time thinking of what it is that I want them to do. What’s the event that is going to make people want to read about them? I have absolutely no clue.

I have started reading yet another writing self help book, called Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. It had good reviews and was recommended on another blog. ¬†And here’s another way I can procrastinate…reading about writing instead of actually writing. I have only just started it so I can’t really comment on its usefulness yet. It does stress the importance of understanding 6 core competencies before you can even start to write…more ammunitions for my procrastination? Don’t mind if I do!

Yet, at my class we had to commit to writing targets and was made to commit to having a first draft for a short story ready by the end of the course (in 6 weeks) and that I would write at least 1500 words per week…so how does that work with developing the skills first? Not sure. When I say I was made, they obviously didn’t put a gun to my head (we don’t really have guns in the UK – unless you are a Russian gangster that is) but as I had explained that my issue was to have too many projects started and abandoned, they recommended that I picked just the one and stuck to it…either said than done, my learned friends! It’s been 4 days (5?) since my class and I have already changed my mind 3 times about the project to pick and I have written about 100 words only…I seem to find it hard to write in the evening, I can’t wake up any earlier and my class is on Saturday mornings (which is normally my favourite time to sit down and write)…I am doomed…Oh and I also have to do a character sketch, pick a couple books to read in the genre I want to write and start spying on people’s conversations in coffee shops to integrate in my writing…Oh I am really, really doomed! Ah well, I have brought this one on to myself to be fair and I do tend to work better when I have deadlines imposed by others and they are short.

Soldier on, woman!