Writing stories of whatever length, can mean gathering a lot of information. I don’t know about you, but I think I’m organised, then spend hours looking for that one snippet of research, or a name I thought would fit, or a picture of a setting. And the longer it takes Continue reading
Following my post last week about writing habits and NaNoWriMo challenge, I thought I might share my preparation for the big event. I’m not doing the novel challenge but instead will be drafting a short story every day in preparation for submissions next year. I’m aiming for around 2000 words per day and in order to get ahead of the game, no it’s not cheating… Continue reading
As Autumn descends in my part of the world my thoughts are being taken over by one thing. NaNoWriMo. As November, National Novel Writing Month approaches, writers in their hundreds… no their thousands of hundreds are sharpening their pencils, filling their inkpots and exercising their typing fingers. To NaNo or Not to NaNo. That is the question.
NaNoWriMo challenges writers to write 50,000 words in one month. 30 days. That’s around 1666 words a day to be precise. Every day. Now some purists say that 50k doesn’t make a novel. But that isn’t the point. The point is that a story gets told. Well a rough draft. It’s about forming a habit, supported by other fellow habit forming writers and watching your progress on a daily basis. Some people don’t make it. Some people write double that. And some writers go on with the NaNo project to publication.
There’s an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention.”
― Chris Baty
The initiative started in 1999 with 16 participants. In 2013 they reported 310,095 writers signed up for the challenge of which 14% achieved the challenge. So, it’s not an easy task and some do fall by the wayside. But again, that’s not the point. NaNo puts writers in touch with writers, develops local communities, provided tips and suggestions and a forum for participants to share information. It’s a huge family of writers and really it doesn’t matter if you don’t reach the target. What’s the worse that could happen? It’s about trying to form a habit. The habit of writing. For how else is that novel going to be written? And there is so much more. Two Camp NaNo challenges in April and July as well as help with editing and plotting the next challenge.
“Whether or not you write well, write bravely.” -Bill Stout
I’ve participated in four challenges. One I had to pull out of as a family illness became a priority and rightly so. I love the buzz it gives me. And I have signed up. But I have five Works In Progress, rough drafts of on average 60k words and my priority is to edit and revise them before I start another large writing project. Otherwise I’ll just end up with a load of sh*tty first drafts.
“It’s not always about writing more words or drinking more coffee. Sometimes getting to the end of a novel simply takes remembering that the world is more complicated than we know, and then sticking some of those complications into the story.”
― Scott Westerfeld
But I’m still going to participate because I’d like to encourage the buzz it gives me outside NaNo. I want to create a regular writing habit that sees things through to an end. I also believe that writing short stories can develop my skills as a writer, especially for scenes, which need a beginning, a middle and an end. So scribbling away in my morning pages at 6.30 am I decided to write a short story a day. Around 1500 words, some may be longer some shorter but I hope to reach the target. My own personal NaShoSto month. And hopefully I’ll have some fodder for some competition entries in 2016. Who knows what can happen?
So what about you? How do you form a writing habit? And will you be participating. If so, my NaNo name is The Duchessa (another story for another time) we could be buddies!
There aren’t many things that come free in life, not that doesn’t come with a caveat or two. My on-line writing group, Writers Abroad, produce a free literary magazine every 6 months. And Issue 3 was published on 1st September. Not got your copy yet? Well you should – you could win a free e-copy of our last Anthology. Continue reading
No, no it’s not catching. Honest. But I’m willing to bet a cup of coffee that a lot of us are experiencing this at the moment. Sweaty palms? A tendency to look at the pictures taken for the last month with a heavy sigh? Daily yearnings for an ice cream cone in the afternoon? Maybe a G&T before 6pm? A dread of getting on the scales?
‘Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will no withdraw from us.’ Maya Angelou
It took me a long time through my writing journey (one which I know will never end) to understand that novels are not written in their readable form in one steamy afternoon. I don’t have a problem with knocking out a first draft – I have six of them in varying states of rebirth but I have struggled with finding a process for rewriting, which is the time when the real stuff really happens. Continue reading
All writers have a life outside of their writing. Although it’s generally considered that we writerly folk are more introvert (definitely in my case) we do have other things going on in our life-like all people-we need stimulation from a wide range of things. So what gives me pleasure, other than writing? Continue reading
The month of June has been a sad one as two dear writing friends over at Writers Abroad sadly passed away within days of one another. So it’s been a tough time for my writing. But I know they’ll be sat somewhere telling me to pick up my pen and Continue reading
How do you organise your notes, scribbles, thoughts and things ‘to be read later?’ If like me you regularly end up with a stash of unread emails and bookmarks of useful articles, never to be found again, or you spend an entire afternoon searching for an image or a snippet of information that is critical to the scene your’re writing, then read on. Continue reading
In a previous post I wrote about the Call For Submissions for the Writers Abroad 5th Anthology. Our theme for this year is light as 2015 is the International Year of Light and Light based technologies. The good thing is that this theme is open to lots of interpretation and it could be anything. So where do you start looking for ideas? Continue reading