Last year I participated in National Novel Writing Month. I have always felt I had a book floating around in my head. In October last year I thought what better way than to participate in the event to get it out of my head and down into black and white. So I signed up and participated.
It was a great experience. I highly recommend it for anyone who thinks that they have a novel floating around in their head. It kept me going and the pressure to get the words out of my head on a schedule gave me some feel what doing this for a living might involve. I wrote every single day. My novel moved forward excuses not allowed.
Unfortunately I am sitting this year out. For the first time I can ever remember there is not book in my head taking shape. I am not sure why, but I chalk it up to doing so much self exploration right now. No matter the cause this year I am sitting National Novel Writing Month out. It is the right thing at this time.
Good luck to all the rest of you who have made the commitment to write this year.
One the things that feeds my soul is my creative pursuits. This new job has made it a little more difficult to feed that outlet. I work ten hour days in the field and spend my nights away from home. It has made access to my creative supplies limited and most nights my energy is completely maxed out. This said, I am not giving up on being more than a worker bee for four days a week.
I always have my camera in my work truck in case I come upon something great driving on the backroads of Montana. I have also started to explore some of the advance settings available on my smart phone, that I am starting to carry with me when I am out doing field work to capture some of what I see in “my office”. I discovered just this week my phone has a macro setting, that I can use for close-up photographs.
I thought I might do more with my writing this summer. I had hoped to start editing the novel I started in November nights in my motel room. I had hoped to do more travelogue blogging about what things and places in Montana. So far I have been doing my blogging at home and scheduling them for the next week. There have been no spontaneous blog posts. That doesn’t mean there might be one yet in my future. It is too soon to give up.
I planned to finish binding on three quilts that could be done if they had a binding. They have been around my house as unfinished projects for way too long. I imagined that I would finish the bindings in front of the TV in the motel room. Not having TV at home, I thought I would spend time watching things I don’t get to see at home. So far I have not found TV that I wanted to watch, so I guess it is okay that I haven’t even packed a quilt to take along at this point. There is so much I have to take each week, a quilt seems like just too much to tote each week.
This week I am adding my sketch book to my collection of personal stuff I take along in my work truck. I am not sure exactly why. I don’t seem to have any talent in the drawing arena, but it might be interesting to see what I put in there with a few minutes I hope to carve out when I break for lunch. Maybe they will be sketches, doodles, a few words or something else. I will pack some sort of pencil case at this point and call it another grand experiment.
This job is all about doing something out of my comfort zone and exploring life in a way I have never done before. I have always found that I often do my best thinking when I am being creative, so I am still figuring out ways to make it all work.
I have just been declared a winner because I just finished certifying my novel for having written at least 50,000 words in November. I wonder about being a winner because it clearly is not a complete story yet. On the other hand it has enough words that it could easily turn into a novel if I stick with it. I have always thought that there is a novel in me and for a host of reasons I have never gotten this far before. It was a great experience and I plan to stick with this one and finish it up.
At the end of 30 days there is lots I have learned.
My writing style is pantser. I am too analytical and if I plan my book I never get beyond planning the perfect novel.
I am more flexible that I thought, because the critical conflict was not anything that was on my radar when I started writing.
I can accomplish an ambitious goal without it taking over my life to the exclusion of other things I enjoy. I managed to make cards, teach a creative class, watch movies, read books, visit friends, x-c ski and other things important to me in the midst of this.
Work will always impact your home life. I was on the road for work and did not write for several days, but it did not prevent me from accomplishing a personal goal. Don’t let work be an excuse for not accomplishing your personal goals.
I like creative writing. It provides a place for all those voices in my head to find a outlet.
Longer stories are much harder than short stories, blogs and other writing I have done.
Being a writer made me a much more attentive reader.
I like writing dialogue.
My business writing skills, as good as they may be, are not sufficient alone to support creative writing.
I will be looking to take some creative writing classes.
I will be looking for a writer’s group to support and question me as I work through the editing process.
Thanks for those who were along for the ride. It is only the first time around the track and I can see that there is at least another lap or two to be made before I finish this race.
I love this poster and may have to just get one for myself. It captures so much of what goes on in a writer’s mind, or at least my mind this last month.
This is just past the half-way mark for National Novel Writing Month. I should have passed the 25,000 word mark this week. I must say this week has been less than stellar for making progress and I am not where I should be. I was on the road this week with work. It was a week fraught with other things pulling at me in all directions none of them giving a rip roar about this little adventure I was on. Now it seems that I am coming down with something nasty and my head is not doing a lot of clear thinking. It sounds like I am going to throw in the towel.
I thought about quitting. I even stayed in bed late this morning hoping a little more sleep time would make me feel better. It did not and I considered giving up for this year. Then I thought about a friend who in just a few minutes will be starting her first half-marathon tonight in LasVegas. She is doing it with friends, one of whom had this on her life list. The other five are just there for moral support. She is busy, with as many things as I have, pulling at her as well. In the midst of this training she has come down with knee and foot problems. It would have been easier for her to quit, but she made a commitment not only to her friends but herself to be there for her friends.
I made this commitment to myself, and I plan to keep it. If you are thinking of quitting, don’t just yet. Hang in there for yourself, it was important enough for you to start it, don’t let yourself not finish it. If you are not working on some goal right this minute, be there to encourage your family and friends who are. I curse the lost of anonymity on the internet all the time, but for once I am having fun watching and cheering on my friend who I can’t be there for virtually. I plan to be one of the first to text my friend when the live race reporting shows her bib number has crossed the finish line. I am proud to be in the company of those who never give up.
I have taken a fair number of writing classes. Most of them have revolved around business writing. I have mastered the fine art of writing proposals, documenting businesses operations, and general written communications. In the course of my career I have learned how to use general business writing skills and developed my technical writing skills. I can write text for websites taking into consideration how it will affect SEO (search engine optimization). I have been doing this all long enough that it comes easy.
I have recorded family history and taken classes to help me learn how to take dry dull, facts and figures and bring to life the people who I have researched. This works writing style works well with my analytical brain.
Now I am writing my first novel and I have discovered I know almost nothing about the right punctuation for dialogue. I know the fundamentals of the use of quotation marks and where the comma goes but beyond that I have no idea. I am writing this novel pantser style so there will be lots of editing to do when I am done. I will be looking to take class, read a book or some other way to learn more about the right way to handle dialogue. Right now the ideas are flowing, and they say as long as that is happening if you are a pantser you keep on going.
They say in good dialogue writing the reader knows who is speaking without telling them. What a goal.
I am over 8,000 words tonight and I put in a full day of work. I am getting a blog posting written and I worked on a gift a bit tonight in my studio. Do you suppose this novel is providing all this energy?
Today I started my novel as planned. It started off pretty fantastic if I do say so myself. So far this writing my the seat of my pants has worked. I knew a few things about my character when I started and as I have written I have found out more about her. I am not kidding myself that every day will go so well or I will always find the so much time to write, but I am making progress. Watch how it goes on the right side of the page. My goal is 50,000 words by the end of the month. Who knows if 50k makes a novel or not, but it is a target to shoot for.