Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Round Two

Have you ever posted on a forum that appears to be buzzing with back and forth conversation, only for that forum to die suddenly and become paranoid that it was because of you?

No?

Is it just me? Am I that self centered?

It’s even more heartbreaking when the forum you were posting to was ‘one sentence synopsis of your novel’ for NaNoWriMo. Everyone was blasting all over the place with their snappy one sentences, receiving positive feedback. And then I posted. And then the crickets began to chirp.

Okay. It’s probably not me. The thread was long dead by the time I got there.

I’m just antsy that I’m going to be spending a whole month writing something that’s complete and utter crap, and not realising it until I’m half way through and thinking ‘wow, this is complete and utter crap’.

But, I can’t begin the process this way. I’ve chosen a storyline, fleshed out the characters and built the world probably as well as Athens prepared for the olympics. I’m sticking to it goddamn it. It’s going to be the best novel I’ve ever written.

Actually it’s going to be the first novel I’ve ever written. To a stage of completion that can warrant it being called a novel.

I can’t believe November has come around again so quickly.

I’m having flashbacks to last year’s NaNo and the novel writing pain. My brain hurts already. I can feel Miss Crankypants coming on. Yet, still, I’m pretty damn excited.

Maybe I’m a masochist.

All I know is that this year is going to be better somehow. I think it’s because I now have a cat. You’re not a legitimate writer until you have a cat.

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44,514 Words of Paranoid Delusion

Day 26 of NaNoWriMo: November is almost over. We’re on the home stretch, slowly dragging our way to that illustrious 50k finish line, like a dismembered, self-possessed zombie limb creeping up on an unsuspecting ankle.

After all this time writing, the aptly named forum title on NaNoWriMo’s official website : ‘NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul’, is starting to make sense to me. With every Facebook status in November an update on a milestone word count, every WordPress post about the perils of writing on an everyday basis (ha, who am I kidding, I don’t have time to blog…), every request made by my mum answered with ‘but I have to finish my words’… yes, it has happened, I’ve become Nano-hermit. No, I haven’t stopped showering, my personal hygiene is still immaculate, but I have perhaps gone a little stir crazy. Which is to be expected, being cooped up in my own head all day.

I thought a change of scenery would help, so I took my laptop to a cafe – ‘please, monsieur, just keep the earl grey tea coming’ – Ah, yes a date with my laptop and all my screwed up, issue ridden characters – ‘why you give me two pots of chilli soy chai? Do I look like that much of yuppie? And what the hell is chilli soy chai, anyhow?’ – Needless to say that exercise lasted about 2 hours and around 600 something words.

However, it must have put me in good stride, because for the first time ever that stupid little grey bar went past the daily expected average line. Whoop! Yes, a small win, a feeling that perhaps lasted until I realised dinner was a carrot. And that I hate my life. And that I should probably stop checking my Facebook in a state of paranoid delusion that I’ve annoyed everyone. Because that’s what happens when I cut myself off from all normal social interaction. I become weird, and start thinking that the outside world doesn’t like me. Which may or may not be true. But, seriously, look at this face, aww, who wouldn’t love this face.

Stop looking at me.

Ah, curse you NaNoWriMo, you fickle beast. Soon I will slay you, and you will be my floor rug. Or my yoga mat, because I really need to stretch out these cramped up muscles. Eh hem, you’ve also made me fatter, and required me to wear my glasses more often. Luckily for you, I look damn fine in these glasses – they don’t at all draw attention to any unsightly jiggly bits – but that new massage chair your mum’s boyfriend bought does, so let’s just use that in the privacy of our own company, shall we?

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16,314 Words of Mild Insanity.

Day 11 of NaNoWriMo: It’s a Sunday, and I feel like that’s some sort of milestone, being the end of the week and all. A perfect time to consolidate all that has happened in the month of November so far. But, in reality, this is the only day I haven’t felt an immense self-reprimanding guilt for typing words that are un-realted to my novel word count. However, this is important, I feel, to take stock, to see how far I’ve come, what I’ve learnt and to perhaps give myself a little pat on the back for managing to put something down on the page every single day – after all, it’s quite a surprise for someone like myself, a world class procrastinator and all round lazy sod to accomplish such a feat. I’ve seemed to gain some sort of rhythm, yet haven’t quite perfected the illusive ‘maintaining quality whilst producing quantity’ technique. I guess that comes with practice.

Here’s, however, what I have learnt. (Apparently not the difference between learned and learnt…is there a difference? One’s Brit. according to my dictionary. Hmm, learning something new everyday!)

Okay, one: rising levels of commitment  – in the beginning of my NaNoWriMo quest there was food, lots and lots of food. About ten million satay chicken sticks and Vita-Weets with butter and Vegemite, a product of intense, procrastinating hunger, and left over catering food from a wedding waitressing job. As the quest carried on there became less food. I love food, and I love dinner, so when dinner becomes a banana because you just have to reach your word quota for the day, you know you’re committed. Now, when you forget about your tea, steeping on the counter, left to go cold, perhaps you’ve taken it too far. Another sign of your rising commitment is the sore poky outie bits of your wrists that rest on your laptop, leaving you to type from above, like your on some sort of clunky, old school type writer.

Two: imaginative descriptions use up most of my brain juice – As you may have been able to tell from my incredibly knowledgable description of a certain part of my wrists, adjectives are not my strongest suit when it comes to writing. I’m not a very detail-orientated person, which is quite frustrating when you’re trying to create a scene from scratch that doesn’t exist on this planet. Why on earth did I decide to write Sci-Fi, anyways? Everything just ends up being silver and shiny. ‘Would they have concrete in the future, on a distant moon colony half way across the galaxy? Hmm, maybe not, perhaps I should just say it’s a concrete like substance, yes, that will do, I can’t waste precious time agonising over a made up building material…’

Three: Perhaps the literary community is right, when they say ‘write what you know’ – I don’t know anything specific about space travel, paramedics, the laws of physics, military hierarchies, the legal system or whether people would still tile their bathroom showers in the future, which leads me to digress that writing a story which requires much research is probably not the best thing when sticking to a strict schedule. Not to say that I have done absolutely none. I have bugged my Paramedic friend about the procedure of a chest decompression, and she’s probably a bit confused why I’m so obsessed with the specifics of the needle used – it’s just a needle. Ah, yes, but how exactly long is the needle, is it thin or thick, what colour is it, is it like a tube thing or a syringe thing? etc. Ah, that’s okay, just forget about it, we’ll fill that in later, along with another word for space concrete.

Four: The research can actually be more interesting than your story and distract you from your work – Upon realising that Sci-Fi, by definition, actually requires some fiction about science, I consulted the internet about long distance space travel and stumbled upon a genius fellow by the name of Michio Kaku. One reasonably priced Amazon purchase later and I was the owner of his books ‘Physics of the Future’ and ‘Physics of the Impossible’. What I remember from my high school physics class is a diagram of someone pushing a boulder off a hill and some mathematic equations like speed = distance/time (I’m not even sure if that’s right, shows how much attention I was paying). Anyways, if they taught physics in high-school, the way Kaku writes about it, I’m pretty sure I would have at least sat up with a keen interest and not endeavoured to drop the subject quicker than a south-shore Sydney teenager, in the 70’s, drops his girlfriend when she eats his meat pie (Puberty Blues, anyone?).  If any high-school physics teacher talked in terms of the possibility of death stars, lightsabers, force fields, laser guns and gamma ray bursts that can incinerate all life on Earth, I’m certain we’d see more future Leonard and Sheldons walking around the school yard. Because that shit is cool. And being smart should be cool. Why isn’t smart cool? Is it because all smart kids look like Leonard and Sheldon? Anyways, if you can find a way to slice through any material with a glowing hot, plasma sword, you should be rock star.

Five: When the 900 + words you’ve just written in half the time it would have taken to write that amount in your story, makes you kinda depressed, you know you must get out of the house and reclaim your sanity, just a smidgeon.

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You’re The Best Around

I’ve been thinking about something for a while now. Thinking about dreams and why they’re so important to have. You know, life purpose sort of dreams, not the sleeping kind of dreams, like the one I had where I was a Maroon 5 groupie and Adam Levine gave me a piggy back through the snow singing Sunday Morning … well they’re important too, because nothing that awesome would ever happen to me in my waking life … but getting on point.

Big dreams, aka, what you really want to do with the rest of your life, scare the shit out of me. As they probably do for most people. It’s much easier to sit on the sidelines and make excuses why you can’t be or do what is really in your heart. It’s easier to pretend that you’re being realistic, that you’re saving yourself from disappointment, from failure and all those other shitty, ice-cream binging emotions. You may not feel supported, or worry that you won’t actually be very good at thing you most aspire to. There’s a lot of things that seem to clasp on your ankle like a shackle and drag you down with a ball and chain, even though from an outside perspective nothing appears to be stopping you.

So, obviously, in most cases, you are your own ball and chain. All that negative self talk that swirls around your head, telling you that you’re not good enough.

Okay, have I thoroughly depressed you yet? Well, the good news is, and I think I’m saying this for my own benefit, as I do need a regular kick up the ass, is that if it’s all in your head, you have the power to change it.

I like to constantly tell myself ‘hey, you’ll soon be dead’, not in a morbid kind of way, but in a ‘hey, you really have nothing to lose’ kind of way, to put things in perspective. Yeah, it helps, but that doesn’t mean that going after my dreams still doesn’t make me want to crawl back into bed and hide beneath the covers. Let’s just say I’m working on it.

I would quite like to grab the bull by the horns and shake the hell out of it. Put on that theme from Karate Kid or Rocky or whatever cliche you can think of, because it’s time to get motivated.

I’m going to enter freakin’ NaNoWriMo and try to finish a 50k novel in a month. Why not, I need the practise and obviously a reason to drive myself insanely mad. Yeah, I feel better about it already.

OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE.

Frack it. Put the needle back on that ‘You’re the Best’ record, because I’m going to do it.

Now, perhaps having images of myself with unwashed, unbrushed hair, severely neglected eyebrows and a piddly bank balance from having spent hundreds of dollars on Osteopathic appointments for my badly compressed spine and rounded ‘laptop’ shoulders …

Did I tell you to stop playing that ‘You’re the Best’ record? No, I didn’t, because I need it, and maybe you do to, so, onwards children, go frolic in the field of unrealised dreams. You may end up looking like a hobo, but at least at the end you won’t be saying this …

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