Camp NaNoWriMo: Final Results

April is swiftly drawing to a close and I’m sure many writers out there are pushing to make their final word counts. I am usually one of them, but not this month.

For some reason, this month was just not meant for writing and that’s perfectly fine. Maybe it was because I had been pushing so hard to write everyday in January, February and March to write every day and I just  needed a break. Maybe it was the events surrounding this month. Maybe it was just a combination of everything just telling me “Slow down!”

I originally planned on writing something completely new to get in the mood to finish my current works. Writing was starting to become more of a chore than a hobby and I was having trouble getting into the writing mood to find that passion to finish my novel. So I started a series of thirteen short stories based on an album. A change of pace.

I finished one. ONE! In this entire month, but I am perfectly fine with that. I wrote when I felt the need to, and I pushed myself to finish it today so I can start fresh in May.

I ended up with just over 7000 words, but that is better than the 0 I started with at the beginning of the month. 7000 words is a start, and it’s something I can work with the next time I need a break from my novel and my series. I created great characters that should be easy to get back into.

Thanks Camp NaNoWriMo April!

Advertisements

Blog Challenge: May

Tomorrow begins a new month, and that means new challenges. I have been thinking about it for a while now, and I have decided I want to try a blog challenge. I’ve had this blog for nearly three months now, and I’ve talked a lot about writing, but I’ve never really shared any yet. With this challenge, I hope to share some with you.

The challenge is one I found from google, and it was based from Tumblr. I made a few changes and made it my own, but I will post the original image, if any of you want to join me in mine, or do the original instead.

Ready?

Here We Go!

Day 1:Put your music player on shuffle. Write something inspired by the first and last lines of the song.

Day 2: Write something based on the color of the walls in the room that you are in.

Day 3: Write a fifteen step list titled “How to be _____”

Day 4: Write something based on the next line of dialogue you hear.

Day 5: Write a conversation about a man that dials a wrong number and encounters an angry woman. End the conversation with “Well, I suppose so.”

Day 6:  Write a rhyming poem about getting increasingly drunk.

Day 7: Write about your reaction when the object on your left turns into the object on your right.

Day 8: You are now unable to leave your room for the next week. Write about your experiences day by day.

Day 9: Think about a word and google it. Write about the seventh image.

Day 10: Write a short rhyming poem about the last book you read.

Day 11: Make a list of songs (Like a mixtape) for someone you hate. The songs cannot include the words “Hate” or “You” in the title.

Day 12: Make a list of songs for someone you love. The songs cannot include the words “Love” or “You” in the title.

Day 13: Write about the object to your left as a metaphor.

Day 14: Write a book report about an “Adult book” by a 5th grader.

Day 15: Find the worst lyric from your least favorite song and make a character say it.

Day 16: Imagine you are sitting on a park bench. Write an Ode to a person passing by.

Day 17: One of your characters is sitting on a rooftop with an animal. They must make an important decision after talking to the animal.

Day 18: Write a freeform poem titled “The Formula For Happiness”

Day 19: Write a sappy poem for your loved one.

Day 20: Write a script with two characters talking to each other. Both have secrets they are considering sharing with the other person.

Day 21: Write from the point of view of a person that just got fired.

Day 22: Write a poetic prose piece where each sentence is one word.

Day 23: Write about an encounter in a restaurant. Someone orders  their favorite dish, someone else leaves early.

Day 24: Write from a stream of consciousness point of view. Someone’s life is about to change in 3 minutes.

Day 25: Write a series of emails between a son and his father. They are estranged and eventually the mother must step in.

Day 26: Write a letter to your favorite person telling them why they are your favorite.

Day 27: Write a poem from the point of view of a bride, explaining how she got to that point and that she has cold feet.

Day 28: “The Morning After”

Day 29: Write a letter to your least favorite person, explaining why they are your least favorite.

Day 30: Write a poem titled “The End.” It cannot be about death, a break up or the apocalypse.

Day 31: FREE DAY!

Thank you to the tumblr users who created this challenge.

Thank you to the tumblr users who created this challenge. Shestandsattheedge, rippedfishnets and hipposwearingjackets!

To Whom I Dedicate My Novels: My Mom

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if my parents had stayed together, or if I had lived with my mom instead of my dad. I’m not sure either would have been better than the life I have right now, but it’s still interesting to think about at times.

My mom and I haven’t always had the best relationship. When I was a toddler, my dad got custody and my mom spent years in and out of jail. She didn’t always make the best choices, but everyone makes mistakes. She and I didn’t see each other a lot during my teen years, and that was hard growing up, but it might have been for the best. For years, we were not in contact, but that changed in 2010.

In June of 2010, I reached out to my mom and we began emailing back and forth. It was lucky that we did because a few months later she was diagnosed with colon cancer. We were still just emailing at that time, she kept me updated on her treatments and I kept her updated on my writing projects and school. For a long time, her diagnosis didn’t seem real, so I avoided it. I stupidly thought “she’s getting treated, so she’s not as sick as it sounds”. Part of that too was that she kept a lot of it secret, how severe it really was. She focused more on my writing skills and encouraging me to continue my writing, and I am grateful for that, but at the same time, I wish I had known how serious it really was.

Two years later, around September of 2012, she printed my first completed story. She was not a tech expert by any means, but she took it down to the local Office Max and printed two copies. One for me to edit and read through, and one for her and her side of the family to read. That was the first time I realized my writing was ever really worth something. That was the first time I felt proud of my writing, and the first time I even considered going further than just writing it and leaving it in the “to be typed” tote in my closet. I can never thank her enough for that.

Not too long after that, in December of 2012, she was put on hospice. Hospice means that the medical professionals believe that the patient has less than six months to live. I started to see her behind my dad’s back, even though I was an adult, and she taught me a lot about her cancer, her treatments, and some of the things I had missed when we were apart. It wasn’t until February, and full swing in the first nursing program, that my dad finally found out about how serious her condition was and allowed me to see her on the weekends.

We talked about a lot on those weekends, and I am so glad we did, because I didn’t realize how short our time really was. It was around finals for the first semester in nursing school and I was convinced that I had failed one of my finals. I emailed her, telling her that I was convinced I would drop out of nursing school. She called me the next day, while I was in class, and she told me some of the greatest words that I needed at that moment. “You passed, I’m sure of it, and if you didn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be”.

Those words may seem harsh, but they were what I needed to hear. After, she asked me to call her back when I could, and I promised I would. I never did, and I wish I had. We had so much more to talk about, I had so much more to say, but we never got that chance.

It worked out that I actually got to be there when she passed a few days later. I had gone over for her birthday, as I had planned to, only it wasn’t the day I had planned. Her hospice nurse had increased her dose of dilaudid and she was basically knocked out. She died the next morning, but I stayed up most of the night with her, spending time with her. It wasn’t the easiest of nights, and we didn’t communicate with words, but that didn’t mean we weren’t communicating.

I’m dedicating my books to her, because she inspired me, she pushed me, and most of all she loved me, whether I was a writer or not, a nurse or not. She loved me for me, and I only wish she could be alive to see the book she helped to inspire published.

image

My mom held my hand for so many years, it was time I held hers.

To whom would you dedicate your work?

Writer Life Lesson #9: Enjoy Life, But Don’t Forget To Write

If you are a writer, it is most likely that “Writer” is not the only job listed on your resume. A lot of us have other jobs, other hobbies, other things that need to get done first. Every day, I make a To-Do list, and writing is always the last thing on that list. It is after the reading, the studying, the dishes, the laundry. After whatever else I put on that list. Some days, I don’t even write. And that is ok. Sometimes, life needs to come first. Sometimes we writers need to go out and be social, or make sure that the kids are fed before we start writing that next page. Sometimes life needs to come first.

So this week’s lesson is Enjoy Life, But Don’t Forget to Write

So how do we as writers do that? I like to think that I am a strange breed that can only write when everything else is done and I don’t have plans to go out that day. I somehow convince myself that I will want to continue to write and not leave the house because I will lose track of time and completely forget my plans. This rarely ever happens, but I still don’t write on days that I have other plans. I used to feel bad about this, but not so much anymore. I get nervous and excited and that messes with my writing mojo, and that is ok…

…As long as it doesn’t mess with my writing mojo forever.

So how do I get back into the writing habit and get over that “nervous writer’s block”? Well, depending on what it is, or what is making me excited, sometimes I have to wait for it to pass. Sometimes, if it’s a long event or time away from my usual environment, I have to get more comfortable with my new location or event.

I happen to have several examples over the past few weeks, and not a lot of writing to show for it. First, there was Phoenix, which I thought I overcame when I started writing for Camp NaNoWrimo (Which is not going as well as I would have hoped). After that, there were essays and reading for school (which did not go as planned at all). And now there is Researching and tattoo care for a few weeks.

I know I will get back into writing eventually (I can feel the stirrings already, the itch to grab a pen and just write away), but in the meantime, I am enjoying life and what I am learning from it. I deserve a break after writing every day for two months straight.

So if you haven’t written in a while, it’s ok. Breathe and try again tomorrow. Or next week, or next month. The words will come eventually, and they will be better than if you had forced them out. Enjoy life while you can. Writing can  and will wait.

If your story is worthy, it will be written!

Writer Life Lesson #8: Work at Your Own Pace

Writing is hard. A lot of readers just think words on a page means instant book, but we writers know that is far from the truth. Writing takes editing, editing takes time and rewrites. Words rarely end up on the page and stay where they are in the first draft. Sometimes, the whole process of writing can be exhausting.

This week’s lesson is: Work at Your Own Pace

This month, I am working on Camp NaNoWriMo, and to be honest, it’s not going as well as I would like. I am supposed to be writing at least 1667 words a day, and my average for the first week is much lower than it should be. But I am not here to complain about how my novel is going this month.

Working at your own pace is important. Sure, some writers write a complete novel in a month, edit it the next month, rewrite the month after that, and on and on until they have a complete novel. That paces is just dizzying to me. Some months, I can barely even get 1000 words on a page let alone 1 word. Some months, days, and even years can just be plain hard. The usual advice is “Write Every Day” or “Write Through Your Doubts”, but those are general tips, by authors and bloggers that don’t know you personally.

There are instances where it is better to write at your own pace. I can think of several instances that I can think of where waiting and not forcing it is much better for my writing. There are several instances where if I had rushed it, the work would suck and need so much more editing later.

Sometimes writing is easy, but a lot of the time it’s not. Some days writing is the hardest thing in the world, and that is totally ok. Writing every day is best to build a routine, but it doesn’t always work. So try your best to write daily, but some days it just doesn’t happen.

When it doesn’t happen, don’t beat yourself up. There will be days, or sometimes even weeks, sometimes longer where you don’t write. When that does happen, try to figure out why you can’t or don’t want to write. Sometimes it’s as easy as “I am stressed” or “I am more interested in doing something else”. One that I face occasionally is “I don’t like where I left off on that page” or “I don’t know whay words to put down”. If you can’t find a reason or it’s just not happening, try and think about where you want to go with your piece or a scene that you want to write and jump around.

If none of that works, try writing one simple sentence. Whatever comes to mind, story related or not.

Happy Writing!

What is your general writing pace?

If you are participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, how is your word count looking?

Camp NaNoWriMo Progress: Week One

The first week of Camp NaNoWriMo is unfortunately not going so well. I only have about 5K words when I should have at least three times that. But that’s ok! Because I am learning things I never thought I would, and I am taking a break from my year long attempt at a novel for a while.

I hope Camp NaNoWriMo is going better for the rest of you. I shall be trying to catch up eventually.

Happy Writing!

How is Camp going for you?

Writer Life Lesson #7: Write Without Fear

Ideas are everywhere, but sometimes they seem weird or outlandish, sometimes overdone, or exactly like another writer’s idea. If you’re anything like me, that can be a frightening idea, that could keep you up at night, and make you doubt every word you put on the page. Sure, there are a lot of ideas out there, and some will be similar, but that does not mean we have to fear them. It doesn’t mean we have to fear writing them either for ourselves or in public.

It took me a while to realize that I could write in public without judgement and explain my ideas without feeling like I would be labeled a weirdo. Writing used to be very secretive for me, and it seemed like there were galaxies between every other published author and me, that I could never reach the stars where they were. And then, I decided I didn’t want to be afraid anymore, I decided that I was done being a doormat, that it was time to really exist instead of just catering to everyone else.

The lesson for this week is: Write Without Fear

When you allow yourself to write without fear, it opens a kind of doorway to many other ideas that were once closed off. Ideas that were once too weird you can finally face with the attitude of readiness and excitement. Once you decide to write without fear, it’s like opening a can of worms. There are consequences, but it is all worth the risk.

When you write without fear, you stop being afraid of writing in public. You stop fearing that someone will read your work and laugh in your face. You let your anxieties go, and start feeling more confident in your writing and your skills. You grow as a writer and realize that your fears were a cage, keeping you confined, keeping you naive and complacent with the ways things were.

Real fear is there to tell us, to warn us that something may be dangerous. We fear sharks because they can attack people. We fear death because it is an unknown, a point of no return. We fear writing…. why?

There could be several reasons, but that doesn’t mean they are valid. Sometimes the fear is so strong that it freezes us. I did not write for a week, novel, blog or otherwise, because I was in a new environment and afraid that the people I was staying with would find it strange. I went back to my old ways of answering the question: “You’re a writer?” and I hate that feeling, the noncommittal shrug and the “yeah, I guess”. That was the fear and I hate my fear looking back on it.

Fear will not go away on its own. You, as the writer, the owner of that fear, have to take small steps to release that fear. Whether it’s talking to your fear and telling it to GTFO, or just simply writing a sentence in an uncomfortable place. It might even be answering the question “You’re a writer?” with the response “Hell Yeah I am!”. There are several ways to face our fears, and leave them behind when we write.

image

Sometimes, just opening the notebook, or the document can be the scariest part of writing

How will you face yours?