The end is near

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Wow, that sounds really depressing! And that was certainly not what I wanted to say or what I was going for.  I was actually referring to the end of the month, the end of November and as we all know that also means the end of this years Nanowrimo.

As expected I didn’t make it and that is not really a surprise. However what is kind of surprising to me is the fact that I don’t mind that I didn’t make it. I expected that it would be harder on me, I mean I’ve been doing this since 2009 and this is the first time that I am not going to make it.  I expected it to be harder on me especially since I’ve been beating myself up for all types of things which have been going on often things I don’t have any control over – but this is not one of them. I am fine. And it feels good, I choose to focus on what’s important to me at this moment. And this month that was writing and getting some of these things that have been bothering me off my chest. And that in the end  it only accumulated to 10 000 words during Nanowrimo that’s fine.

I know that I did what I could and I finally am back to writing something even if it isn’t a story per say. After all most of the things I’ve written this month have been current and future blog posts (posts which still need some work or which I can’t upload just yet). But I’m happy and that’s all that matters right now.

A couple of our writer’s group members had already validated their word count last week and we decided that we would have a small party during our last write-in of the month which was this past Friday. One member baked a cake with rainbow colored frosting and another member made chocolate cupcakes. We had a blast at the library and the treats were delicious. We really have gathered a great group of writers in our Nanowrimo group and I am happy to be a part of that group.

The month is almost over and I have almost reached the goal of 10 000 words which I have set for myself. So even though I can’t validate I am a winner in my own eyes and with a competition like Nanowrimo that is all that counts.

This years Nanowrimo will be concluded in one more post which I will write once I visited the thank God it’s over party next Saturday.

Book 6 – How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson

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A must read for everyone who wants to write a book – or has a story they would like to tell to the world – not because it’s the best book ever and it gives you solid advice and exactly the ten steps to write that bestseller. No, simply because it gives you a different view on how you could write a story. We all know that there are probably as many ways to write a story as there are writers. And that’s okay, however most of them can be a added into a couple of groups. Plotters, who plot every single thing out and have a very extended outline, character charts and more before they ever start writing a single word of the actual story. They know where they start, what the middle holds and what the ending will be like and most likely every detail in between. The other mayor group are the panters, writers who have a very flimsy idea of what they want to write and they sit down and start writing.

I always thought that I belonged to the pantsers but for me there is a huge problem with that. I have an idea, a beginning, characters in mind but I have no real idea of where the story goes. So I keep adding details and in the end there literally is no end. Most of my stories are WIP’s (works in progress) because of that reason they remain that way because I never figure out how to give the stories a proper ending. Because I have been adding so many story lines to my initial idea along the way that I can’t see the ending – or that is what it feels like to me. So I guess that I am neither a plotter nor a pantser. So what am I? That has been something I’ve been looking for ever since I started writing, I never really felt like I was following the right course.

I knew that I was in need of something new, a different approach, something that would take me away from the path that I had tried to follow since it obviously wasn’t working for me. Years ago I tried looking into the Snowflake method, I knew some fan fiction writers who used it and it sounded promising. I looked into the website but it sounded extremely boring,  however for some reason at that point in time it simply felt wrong. And if it doesn’t feel good, I know that there is no reason to try it because it’s not going to work no matter how hard you try.

With my creativity level so low and me being so blocked from doing anything creative I thought that it was best to try something different, so I started reading this book which had been on my tablet for the longest time. And I really enjoyed reading it, it’s set up like a ‘fairytale’ kind of like story. Which really made me smile – it’s all about a couple of bears, a wolf and Goldilocks who wants to write a book. It’s a fun story to read and to top it off you take away some information and advice that might help you with future projects. While I might never use all the information I read in this book I will always take away some information which I read and use it for my own stories.

So far I haven’t really put the strategy to the test because all I’ve been working on this Nanowrimo so far is these book reviews and a blog posts. And I’ve also been having some ideas for a short story – an idea which was given to me by one of my fellow writing buddies – however that story is probably going to be too short to put the Snowflake method to the test. The story might be somewhere around 2000 words maybe a little bit more but never more than 5000 words. Anyway, I haven’t written the actual story yet but I have been thinking about it, so that’s progress and I’ve worked out some of the details I want to put in the story. Which is progress in my book. But this post shouldn’t be a Nanowrimo update it should be about the book I’ve read. Let’s get back to the book.

What I really liked about this book is that the ten step process was wrapped up in a nice story and not a step by step thing you usually see when you read a course book or something similar. Which made it even easier to read and to work through. I guess that years ago when I first came upon this Snowflake method it was through a website and the information was very to the point and straight forward which made it sound extremely boring and I quickly turned away and went about writing stories the way I always had been doing. Which was basically on the fly with a very limited idea of what I wanted and coming up with the rest of the information as I worked on the story which made it almost impossible for me to finish stories because I always kept coming up with new ideas.

The fact that this book was such an easy read made it a lot of fun to work through it and learn the ten steps. What I also liked was that the ten steps are explained through the story but also by giving solid examples. And at the end of the book you can even find way the author used the ten steps to create this book. So it’s a complete learning process.

Like I said before, even if I might never follow all ten steps I surely will take away the information I need from these steps. For now I’m signing off with a recommendation for this book is a must read for everyone who wants to finally get that story written.

 

Another Nanowrimo update

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Yes, the second Nanowrimo update in two days time. How good is that! Pretty damn good, I reckon.

Like I said in yesterdays post we are currently sitting in the Ikea with what I would like to call the core group of our Nanowrimo writers group also known as The Epic Blue Unicorn. Don’t ask it’s a long story and hardly anyone can remember where it came from anyway. It’s just a fun name we gave ourselves.

Anyway we’re sitting in the Restaurant area of our local Ikea and we have been here since one in the afternoon and we’re planning on staying for a little while longer. Probably until they kick us out of the restaurant because it’s closing time. But before that happens we still have some time left to keep typing and adding words to our stories or at least to our accumulated word count, as it is in my case.

And it’s going well! I had no idea what to write and one of my writing buddies gave me a really simple prompt right before November started and at first – I liked it, but it’s pretty far out of my comfort zone – I didn’t know what to do with it.  But it did spark an idea for a short story in me and I’ve been thinking about it for the past week. Some ideas were there immediately but I wasn’t sure in which format I wanted to place the story.  However during the last half of this past week the story started to gain momentum in my mind and I actually started writing it on Friday and I continued writing it today and at this point the story is about a thousand words long. I’ll probably finish it long before I even reach five-thousand words but at least it’s a story and it’s an original one and no fan fiction which is great. It’s honestly awesome. I just hope that the story will be as funny as I imagine it. When I visualize it in my mind it something similar to a Pixar movie, something along the lines of  ‘Finding Nemo’ or ‘A Bug’s Life’. So I hope I can translate that into a short story. If you know me, or my writing – the fan fiction stories I’ve done in the past or the ideas I’ve had for Nano novels – you know that I have never before written anything that could remotely look like a Pixar movie. I don’t know how to explain this but that’s okay. I’m writing!

I might eventually post it here since I wouldn’t really know what else to do with a short story. It’s not like they are easily publishable unless you have a whole collection of them – then you could maybe publish them as a collection of short stories. But this story is something so far out of my comfort zone, that I don’t think that I will write more stories in the same type of genre. We’ll see though, who knows what the future will bring, maybe I’ve finally found what I’m good at when it comes to writing. Or does that sound really arrogant?
So the writing is going really well at the moment and reason for that is that I’m not home alone. I love not being at home while I’m writing. The sounds around me calm me and while I spend time looking around, just randomly watching people as they interact it’ll also makes me write more words in short bursts. It works kind of similar like a word war only I’m not timing myself or pushing a certain amount of words. Anyway not being at home alone makes me a lot more productive when it comes to writing. I often go somewhere else during the weekends when I want to write it even works really well for me when I want to read something, especially when the weather is as crappy as it has been today. It’s grey, foggy and raining all day long and no one has seen a spark of sunlight or blue skies for that matter. I really dislike this weather and when I’m at home most of what I see when I’m sitting behind my computer is the sky and the rooftops of the houses across the street and the occasional tree which has already lost all of the previously gorgeous red colored leafs. Not really a motivational sight for someone who’s not really a fan of the fall anyway.

I guess that I’m one of those people who struggle with fall depression! I really dislike the fact that it’s dark when we wake up, dark when I arrive at work and again dark when I finally get ready to go home. No, fall is really not my favorite season – except for those few short weeks when the sun’s shining and the leafs turn all kinds of beautiful colors. Then again if Nanowrimo was held in another month the struggle to write the 50k words would have been a lot harder for me and I think a lot of other participants as well. In the spring and summer there is so much more to do and I personally love spending time outside whenever I can but with this weather that certainly isn’t a problem.

Anyway working at the Ikea Restaurant works perfectly for me. It’s quite funny to note that a lot of people aren’t here for furniture shopping. There are more people around us are sitting here working on their computers. Next to us a group of seventeen year old girls who seem to be playing a game of sorts, I honestly have no idea what they are doing.  It looks like they have formed two teams,  for some reason every time they walk away with a piece of paper on which Ikea furniture is portrayed and from what I’ve seen so far they apparently have to track the furniture down within a certain time limit to gain points or something along those lines.

Another thing which makes Ikea a great place for a Nanomeet – and a good tip for other Nano groups – is the food!  Spending the afternoon here means that you can eat lunch and dinner for ten Euros total and of course you can refill that caffeine booster whenever you need to especially if you have a family member card because then the coffee and tea is completely free. And we all know that most Nano participants are completely addicted and need at least a few caffeine short to get through their writing session.

Unfortunately we are now nearing closing time and soon we will be asked to leave which is a shame because I’m really in the flow of writing at this moment maybe I’ll write some more once I’m home.

For now this is me signing off after a very productive weekend, I’ve probably added 50% to my word count this weekend. Which still means that I’m far, far behind on schedule, but that’s okay.

This was one productive weekend and when I get home I’m gonna play some games, watch television or read a book.

Nanowrimo update

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Here it is, the first official Nanowrimo update since the month started and the challenge started.

It’s day eleven (I wrote this yesterday during our weekly Nanomeet, I just didn’t upload it yet) of the month and my total word count at the beginning of this post is right around 4000 words. Officially I should have been at 18333. I know that I’m way behind in my word count but it’s like I said in my last Nanowrimo post at the beginning of this month I didn’t have an idea of what I was going to write about. And at this point I still don’t have an idea in all honesty I’m literally just winging it at this point. Doing whatever I can to get some words written down.

The word count I’ve accumulated so far is mostly from these blog posts and a couple of book reviews which I’ve been writing these last couple of days. And that’s fine I’ll just call myself a rebel – truth be told I have been calling myself a rebel every year – this year and see what I can do this month during Nanowrimo. If it’ll be 50 000 words, I’m going to be ecstatic if not that’s fine. I don’t need to pit more pressure on myself at this point in time.

This might be the first year – since 2009 (my official Nanowrimo debut) –  that I won’t reach the word count of 50 000 words at the end of the month and that is fine. If it is possible and within reach I will of course try to make it but I’m not going to worry about, it’s not worth it. Not this year. I’m honestly okay with it, if that happens I know the reason behind it and doing anything creative is at this point a goal I’ve reached.

To me at this point it’s more important that I’m actually writing and for now that’s certainly happening which makes me feel a lot better than I have been feeling in a long time. Which is even more important to me. Especially since I’ve been feeling really down and blocked lately. Nothing in my life seems to ever be easy or going according to plan. This should have been a great year of new experiences and happiness and instead I’ve been feeling like I’m a failure. And I keep beating myself up about things and that is not what I want to feel like. I want to be happy and successful. However that is not what this update is about. This is about Nanowrimo and the progress I’ve made in writing. The book reviews are from books which I had read in these past couple of months, however like everything they had been backlogged since I wasn’t writing. Although I have to admit that it’s quite hard to write a review from a book which I read months ago. But I’ll get there, I’ve almost cleared all of the backlog there are just a couple of books left in my list.

Tomorrow – Sunday – we’ve set up our next Nanomeet. We’re going to the Ikea to have an extended meeting from I think noon till however late it gets or till the store closes, whichever comes first. They have a nice restaurant area where we can sit and they have some pretty decent not too expensive food. We did a Nanomeet at the Ikea last year and I think that we made it our longest meet ever. They almost literally kicked us out right before closing time.

Nanowrimo 2016

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Usually right around this time of the year you would have seen at least a couple of Nanowrimo related blog posts on my blog. It’s November first and if you’ve been following me for a while you might have missed that excited prep period. At least I hope you did miss them?

Every year since 2009 I’ve been participating in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), but this year has been a little different for me. Each year during my summer holiday – usually right in the middle of August I start thinking of a story and the prep stage starts. During August it’s usually just thinking about a story. During September I make the first steps towards writing the information I gathered down and the real prep starts. During October I’ve usually gathered enough information to be able to start writing once November first comes around.

However as many of you might have noticed I haven’t really been posting anything since before the summer started. Reason for that is that I took a break, initially I thought that it would be a couple of weeks – a month at the most. This past year writing became a task – something I had to force myself to sit down and get some words written, part of that had to do with the fact that I used my writing to work through some situations that occurred last year. Hence writing became something connected to a lot of negativity and not something I received joy from. I needed to find that joy back and since it was not happening by forcing myself to write something and that was my initial reason to take a break. But that little break became a lot longer than I had expected.

In all honesty it hasn’t been just the blog writing that has been lacking, I haven’t been writing at all. Nothing, nada … not a single word. At least nothing that wasn’t required in some shape of form.

I used to love writing, it would take my mind away from my worries. It made me happy. But due to the very stressful situation I was in last year and some personal issues I’ve been struggling with my creativity. I’ve been feeling down and blocked and it’s really hard to write when you feel that way. Whenever I watched a television show I used to be able to come up with a missing scene or I could hear a song and make a story out of it. But nowadays nothing seems to inspire me and that has been a real struggle. So I haven’t been doing any prepping. Nonetheless I did decide that I was going to sign up for Nanowrimo this year as well. It’s a thing and I have a great group of friends who meet up every Friday in the library during November. We’ll just see what happens, maybe I’ll get my shit together somehow and I’ll actually get some writing done. I need to get that spark back. For my own sake, because the way I’ve been feeling isn’t good. I need to get my shit together.

The only problem is that I have no idea what I want to write or what I’m going to write about for that matter. I have no idea, no plot, no characters, not even a simple idea. Nothing … So I’ll be a rebel this year – I’ve been a rebel most years with writing fanfiction and all that. But since it’s November first I better get some writing done so that is why I’m writing this blog post. Because any writing is good writing and this will definitively go in my word count for this month. I need to turn my life around, for my own sake I need to get my creativity back and if this is the year where I can make it through Nanowrimo by adding up literally every single word I write this month, so be it.

But who knows maybe the excited Nanowrimo posts will come once this month is on it’s way and I somehow find my spark back.

If you’re going to participate in Nanowrimo let me know, if you have a blog post the link in the comments and I will follow you. I love to hear how other people are doing during Nanowrimo.Save