November is halfway over and I’m not even halfway done with my NaNo book this month.
There’s a part of me that’s completely un-enrolled in my story and writing. I’ve been so busy with life! Socializing, planning parties, potlucks, movies, reading, and everything else in between. How can I juggle all this and writing?
I know writing and having a social life is possible; writers do this all the time! This all sounds the same, doesn’t it? Like I’ve been here before, talking about the same thing but it’s a different day. I’m aware of that. Writing down this awareness makes me want to step up my game and finish this novel. I may not complete the thing but the effort is there, no?
For my fellow NaNo’s, work it! Eleven more days! Woohoo!
I started the National Novel Writing Month on the first. I started with one idea and then went off and did something totally different. I am satisfied with what I’m writing about though so I don’t feel as if I shafted myself.
What I’ve been slacking off on is the discipline to sit down and write for a long period of time. I find myself tweeting instead or updating my word count every five hundred words or minutes. Talk about distraction!
Amidst the distraction and lack of focus, I have been constantly thinking about writing, planning my social gatherings around enough time to write, and meeting folks (online and in real time) who are writers! I am aligned with the universe in my passion, which is a fantastic thing.
When I do sit down to put words on the page, there’s an acute attention and concentration that takes control as my hands fly across the keyboard; I’m in the zone, the story is taking itself somewhere I didn’t expect, and my characters are really talking to each other. It’s an amazing feeling.
I mostly have this concentration when I’m doing NaNoWriMo though; when I’m writing a short story, the creation is already written down on the page and being transcribed onto my laptop. There’s a different energy when I’m typing versus when I’m writing. When I have a pen in hand and I’m writing from a prompt, my creative juices are flowing, my mind is churning, and I’m putting everything down on paper to make sense of things later. With this contest, I’m doing the same thing but the accomplishment is greater because it’s a novel, not a short story or prompt.
I love NaNoWriMo. I wish I could have this kind of discipline with all my writing year round. Maybe this time, I’ll carry this with me for years to come.
Sunday afternoon after a night of celebrating my single pad living situation (yes, I had an “I Live Alone” party and I’m so not looking for a roommate), I nursed a mild hangover and forced myself to trek into Manhattan to write with a fellow writer (one of the co-workers I befriended who’s also a writer) at Union Square’s Barnes and Noble. Continue reading
One of my fellow intern colleagues (who I found out is currently enrolled in a MFA program at Adelphi College on the island of long) mentioned this 3 Day Contest that happens every year around Labor Day weekend.
Being a veteran of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that takes place every November across the country, I had to research this contest.
I found the website and saw there was a contest fee. $50 bucks to write for three days? I’m so broke and I’m unemployed; I can’t afford $50 bucks for that. Well, then again, I did just purchase three books about writing (see? I can’t stop myself from buying books especially when I say I’m going to stop) the other day so I’m considering the contest.
There are prizes for first, second, and third place. The contest is based in Canada and you have to print out your story, send it, then you will receive a certificate stating you have completed the 3 Day Novel Contest. This is similar to NaNoWriMo where you can print out your own certificate and post a badge on any of your online websites to let people know you completed a novel in 30 days.
The more I write about this contest, the more enrolled I am in actually doing this over the course of three days. The coolest thing about this contest is you can write an outline prior to the contest so you’re not going in there crazily. Well, the point is to see where your creativity takes you with a very short outline; the possibilities are endless!
I’m not completely committing to this contest but I’m considering this seriously.
What about ya’ll? Who’s going to try this?
If you are like me, when you open a screen to write for an allotted amount of time, you find that you’ve pissed the time away surfing the web for something and nothing at the same time. And guess what? Then you do something else because your scheduled time has expired. At least, that’s what it feels like for me.
Below are great tools to help you keep on track whether online or off.
Freedom. This software can lock your internet for up to eight hours so you can get some work done. My memoir writing instructor first mentioned Freedom and I never used it until I found the software online. Apparently, the software was only available for Macs and now Windows users (like myself) have access to this. I have not used the software yet but writer friends have accomplished a lot using it. Oh and it’s free.
Write Or Die. This is a website (and can also be downloaded for a small fee for your computer) that provides you with options to choose how long you want to write and how many words you intend on producing. You write in a blank space once you plug in your numbers (30 minutes for 1,000 words) and you type away. I mostly utilized Write Or Die during the National Novel Writing Month for fulfilling daily word counts. It works! How does this help, you ask? When you stop typing, you either hear extremely irritating music (bad violin playing or Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”) or if you choose the Kamikaze Mode, your work starts erasing because you are not writing. When you are complete, you hear a trumpet and you have an option to save your work after you are done. There was something soothing and empowering about being focused on putting words on the screen until you were finished; I had tunnel vision with every session and I produced a great amount of material on Write or Die. Check it out.
For the distracted writers like myself that constantly find themselves resisting writing when there’s always something online to research, either of these options work. Mostly Freedom though.
Happy distraction free writing!
This year, I did not complete the National Novel Writing Month. I was in San Francisco, visiting the sights, and not writing.
It’s not an excuse but I don’t feel too bad about it. I know next year, I will kill it, no matter what I’m doing. Hopefully, by then I’ll be in school! If not, I’ll be working and writing. And possibly applying to graduate school the second time around. Let’s not jinx it, shall we?
I congratulate all the winners for this year’s NaNoWriMo! We are all winners because we write!
See ya’ll next year!
How am I doing this? I just reached 30K last night (behind by at least 7K to complete my goal) and I haven’t written a solid personal statement for my applications. And on top of that, I haven’t received two of my recommenders letters. I should have just had them send their recommendations directly to the schools. I’m freaking out a little bit but those recommendations aren’t a Huge deal anyway. If worse comes to worse, they’ll receive all my materials with one recommendation (or two) and then I’ll fedex the last one to them. Well, some of them only want two anyway.
The greatest thing about the writing month is that I feel solidarity with my fellow writers cranking out that word count every day. I know I could sit down and write 10K if I wanted, but I do other things. I like spacing things out. Unfortunately, tonight I did not write but I’ll make it up to myself tomorrow. It’s all about completion.
It’s getting down to the wire. My last week. I have personal statements, another looksee at my manuscript and then I’m done! Not to mention I have an interview for a publishing company (super exciting!) early in the week.
Good things happening all around. I’ll be glad when this process is all over and I’m relaxing in San Francisco!
I’m off like a dirty shirt!
I’m halfway there. I am up to 27K in NaNoWriMo and it feels so good! But I’m also behind. I’m sure I’ll be able to make it 35K by this weekend. Two or three hours of straight writing will help me bang it out.
I find that listening to artists like Bishop Allen, The Beatles, John Mayer, Frank Sinatra, Owl City, and the Postal Service provides with me the focus I need to really immerse myself into my characters and story.
Right now, my protagonist is sitting in a jail cell awaiting her sentence: will she plead insanity or guilty to committing the murders of unsuspecting men via poison? She’s thinking about it and I’ve already decided on one side but with a novel like this, I find myself doing something unplanned seventy five percent of the time. I love this exercise in writing because it has me writing every single day, all the time. I’m writing right now and I’m not sick of it.
I’ll have an entry ready when I hit 35K. Hopefully, it’ll be this weekend. Even though I’m doing MFA applications and I could set this aside for awhile, I know I won’t finish. I’m dedicated to writing 4K a day. 2K is not going to cut it anymore, especially since I’m behind by a few thousand words. I want to be ahead of the game!
I also need a good case of R&R so off I go to watch The Chipmunk Adventure. I love this movie to death!