Talking about the rest of NaNoWriMo 2019 in the middle of December because…

Am I at the muddy mushy saggy middle already? (Week 2)

SO! (Week 3)

Here’s what happened: (Week 4)

The mushy middle past my by and the bitter, bitter end bit me in the ass.

I did not do any writing past week 1 because finals are a bitch and I visited my in-laws for Thanksgiving. Zero. Writing.

But before all that happened, at the tail end of Week 1, Mr. J and I had a wicked 2.5 hour brainstorming session about my paranormal horror/contemporary fantasy book series The Slaughter Chronicles AND

*deep breath*

I’ve reorganized the whole thing.

Because book 1 was actually books 1 through 3. Has that ever happened to you? You think you’re writing one book and it splits apart in what I can only describe as some kind of overzealous meiosis. Not mitosis because of the fucking Law of Independent Assortment. (Yes, I just took a Biology final. No, I made a B but I have an A in the class. I digress.)

So the bad news is I don’t have a finished draft. But the good news is I can put all these pieces from previous drafts together and have a finished draft maybe by the end of the month if I can just stop taking naps every day.

I’m burned out. From school. From vacation. All of it. Burned. Fucking. Out.

I wanted to be diligent and blog about Nanowrimo every week. And I really, really wanted to win this year.

I want to talk about developing writing routines and share helpful tips and tricks but I’m all out of ideas and motivation.

When I get like this, overwhelmed by all the promises I made myself and all the disappointment I feel at not meeting my goals, I need to step back and re-asses. And that’s what you’re going to see here on this blog in the next few months.

I’m going to try to document how I make a routine from nothing, or how I fail miserably at making a routine, or how I throw the routine out the window and still manage to write all the things.

I’m not making sense right now but I don’t care. Check out my future blog post about how I get all my thoughts in order and detail my master plan for 2020 like a neat and tidy recipe. Haha. Like that’s ever going to happen.

Anyway, I didn’t want to leave this month, a month that was conceptually very important to me, without making some kind of comment.

Writing is hard. And I feel like I’ve lost communication with all the fun things about it. But I’m not going to stop. And if you are unhappy with your progress and if you didn’t reach your goals this year don’t stop. Keep going. You’ll get there.

And just so you know, when the setting sun hits the branches of my neighbor’s trees just right the branches are all lit up in gold and look like a massive spider web.

Poems and Slime

Slime is a thing. Slime mold can make maps.

As this is National Novel Writing Month I wanted to present you with some writing advice. It has to do with reading but you can apply it to writing.

Take the Time to Read Out Loud from The Write Nook 

And here’s Anne Lamott’s NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

Over the last few weeks/months I’ve been drawn to poems about places and poems about animals. This is what I want to turn into. Something that travels through and is traveled through. One day I hope to return to the ground. And the ocean.

The Rats by Keetje Kuipers

Gaman: Topaz Concentration Camp, Utah by Kenji C. Liu

East River and The Ghetto by Lola Ridge

The Belladonna of Sadness by Sally Wen Mao

Not Everybody’s Bestiary (Yet) by Rebecca Morgan Frank

If You’re Going to Look Like a Wolf They Have to Love You More Than They Fear You by Abigail Chabitnoy

Ghazal IV by Bojan Louis

Łčíčšeʔ by Heather Cahoon 

Quantum Foam by Elizabeth Jacobson

And I just LOVE the format of this poem. You will see poems like this from me in the future.

Countdown as Slow Kisses by Michael Wasson

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Photo by Krystal Ng on Unsplash

NaNoWriMo 2019 Week 1

Hello world! Hello writers and readers! Hello NaNo people!

Week 1…wow…all the writing…

When I turn on my iPad (that’s what I write on) or open a notebook I’m terrified nothing will come out. I’m not terrified I won’t write anything good. I’m terrified of writing NOTHING. So, naturally, like a weirdo, I do what I most fear because part of my brain has convinced itself that the writing won’t happen no matter what I do or no matter how hard I try so why even bother?

Gross thinking, right?

Anyway, this week has been a real struggle because it’s so easy for me to find excuses to not write (school, homework, chores, etc.). But at the same time I’ve actually been doing pretty well keeping up with my word count even though I didn’t write at all on Tuesday. If I treat the writing like a homework assignment I feel better about writing.

Here’s what I need to remember:

1) Writing is supposed to be fun.

2) Nanowrimo is supposed to be fun.

If you’re not having fun you’re doing it wrong. And stressing out about not having any ideas is not a good way to write.

3) There are resources I can use to get ideas. Writing sprints with topics, for example. Watching live-streams on YouTube of people writing and talking about their writing.

4) You don’t have to do this alone.

Just because writing is a solo activity doesn’t mean you need to ignore the writing community. I’m a very shy person and I don’t like participating in chats and groups but I do have writer friends who I love talking to and resources outside myself that I can use to grow and cultivate my creativity.

Things I’ve learned during week 1:

1) Start the writing day with a new blank page.

I hate having lots of word documents for one project. But if I start with a fresh blank page every day I’m less tempted to distract myself with re-reading what I wrote or doing a quick grammar check that turns into a long procrastination session.

2) Make a list.

I’m one of those writers who loves to edit as I draft. I use the excuse of, “If I re-read what I last wrote I’ll remember where I left off and what I wanted to write when I stopped.” That logic has led me to revise the first chapter of my novel 10 times and the last chapter only 3 times. Not useful.

So one thing I started doing this week was remember WITHOUT LOOKING at what I wrote the day before and made a list of things that I wanted to add to that section/scene. I can add those things later when I start the second draft.

3) Work on other things.

I know this sounds counterproductive but whenever I can’t find the “motivation” to work on my NaNo project I skim through some of my other WIPs and add a paragraph here or there. Because the urge to edit is still there. And I can treat it as a warm up to drafting.

I got 1000 words in for the plot of Book 5 and then wrote my daily word count for Havoc’s Moon.

Some people would count that extra 1000 words as part of their word count in NaNoWriMo but because I am determined to get to 50,000 words on just Havoc’s Moon, I don’t count any other writing towards my word count on NaNo.

Happy Writing all you lovely people! Keep being awesome!

Until next week!

#gowrite

Preptober 2019

I bought the t-shirt.

This will be a thing…NaNoWriMo 2019…it still feels like it’s January and I just moved back in with my mom while Mr. J went out on job things.

Since then I’ve completely cleaned the house, taking on some major home repairs in the process, and gone back to college to earn my 3rd higher ed. degree. Whew!

It’s a lot.

And I’m determined to add to that a lot-ness since both April and July Camp NaNoWriMos sucked balls for me.

So here’s what I’m going to do.

Wear said NaNoWriMo t-shirt. Wear the NaNoWriMo scarf that I got back in 2016 when I won NaNo for the first time ever. I did not win 2017 but I won 2018 (before I moved).

Watch all of Austinland’s Preptober videos.

Write 1 week’s worth of word count. I know this may seem like “cheating” but in the last week of November I will be visiting my in-laws for Thanksgiving and I will definitely have zero time to write. So I’m going to use the 7 days of October to start National Novel Writing Month early so I can balance out that planned not-writing time.

Also in Preptober, to get myself back into the writing groove, I’m going to be relaunching one of my poetry collections. What was Lupercalia, a 50ish poem manuscript will now become two mini chapbooks/digital pamphlets and what is not included in those will go into my new poetry project, currently titled Poison in the Spring, which will hopefully go out into the world in 2023.

I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that I haven’t been honest with myself or true to myself about what I want to write and how I want to write it. I had this idea for Lupercalia but I scrapped it because I thought nobody would like it. That idea keeps/kept popping up in my head and now I’m going to act on it because that is what I should have done in the first place.

So I’m going to do my best to develop a writing habit that is uncensored and honest. I don’t want to write something just because it sounds cool or just because I think I need to write a poem about subjects x, y, or z to BE a “real” poet.

I’m also letting go of a lot of poems that just don’t resonate with me anymore. Poems that I loved back in 2009 and 2010 don’t hold the same attraction they did before…to be blunt: I don’t love them anymore. So they’re going away. I used to feel like every little thing I wrote was PRECIOUS. Not anymore.

And I want to get more experimental. Go back to hybrid texts, lyric essays. Really explore the physiology of words.

With fiction it’s a little different. I want to keep things I write and don’t like because maybe they’ll fit in somewhere else with another project somewhere later down the line.

I might also try editing the two novellas I tried to write over the summer. Get back into those characters and see if they want to talk to me again.

Autumn is coming in slowly but surely; the grass is dying, the leaves are falling. It’s still hot as f**k out but there are more clouds in the sky. It’s getting darker earlier at night and staying darker later in the morning.

“The seasons burn and so returns…”

Preptober.

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Lyric by SJ Tucker.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Nano 2018 Days 25-27

Yesterday and today I did not update my word count on the Nanowrimo site because:

1. I forgot (yesterday)

2. I got a new tattoo (today)

But over the course of the last few days I wrote 14,231 words which put me at

51,660 words this month!

I honestly didn’t think I could do it, much less do it early but there really is something to be said for not paying attention to the word count and just writing.

There’s a lot that can be said for just writing. Just writing works, worrying about everything else doesn’t. But, as always, it’s hard advice to swallow.

I haven’t completed any of the projects I set out to complete this month BUT I did get a lot accomplished and I look forward to my continued progress into the next year.

Right now my brain is dead so I don’t have anything profound to say about “winning” Nanowrimo.

Here’s a picture of my new tattoo:

It’s a cover up and you wouldn’t notice unless you looked really hard.

Nano 2018 Day 24

Word count: 2862

Projects: Havoc’s Moon (and two companion novellas to the series)

Goals achieved/notes: got a lot of side characters and more of my antagonist fleshed out. Progress is happening but the scene that I wanted to tackle today remains unfinished. There’s always tomorrow.

Total word count: 34,928

Nano 2018 Day 23

So I took a couple days off. I needed some serious recovery time, not from the holiday, but from life. So I binge watched Netflix and indulged in napping. But yesterday and today I’ve made tremendous progress and I may very well reach 50,000 by the end of the month.

Word count: 2,270

Projects: Havoc’s Moon

Goals achieved/Notes: I got my antagonist more flushed out, made a few MAJOR character changes, and started on a scene that had me stumped for months, seriously months. Mr. J and I went shopping today and we had an hour drive to the stores and back and in that time I went over a couple crucial plot points with him and he helped me iron things out tremendously. Seriously, I am seriously grateful beyond words to have a spouse that is interested in my writing.

Total word count: 32,066 (no, its not the 38,341 that I want it to be but it’s getting there)

How are y’all doing?

DON’T GIVE UP AND KEEP ON KEEPING ON 🙂