Here is a picture of one of the aliens I wrote into my Nanowrimo Camp. I know they are going to come to earth at some point and they are going to want coffee. The colors are anemic, so that have to re-think/ re-draw it at some point.
This is another post about procrastination. I do a lot of it.
April is Camp Nanowrimo! It used to be Script Frenzy, but since that’s no longer a thing, scripts have become a part of Camp. You can also set your own goal, which is new this year. I set mine to 30,000 words, 1000 words a day. So that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.
- Wandering around the craft store (Ooh, I must have use for that, and that and that… I call the abundance of new ideas ‘crafter’s brain’)
- Reading about vintage sewing methods, modern sewing methods and drafting patterns
- Researching at handcraft marketplaces besides Etsy ( I may or may not decide to sell my crafts)
- Searching Pinterest for craft fails
- Cleaning my room (You saw that right)
- Listening to podcasts (Drawing while listening to podcasts is super helpful, not so much writing)
- Writing this post (okay, I should’ve written this a couple days ago, but…)
- Eating Easter candy (sugar, whoooo!)
- Eating leftover meatloaf (My grandmother’s recipe)
- Checking twitter and browsing links found there (All those tabs slowed my browser down…)
- Checking my email repeatedly
- Checking news links
- Some years ago, I procrastinated during Nanowrimo by watching Hannah Montana videos. (I am nowhere near the demographic that would make that okay. And unlike My Little Pony, I am indifferent to Miley Cyrus.)
So the cure for this procrastination is: Butt in the Chair and Writing (I didn’t come up with that phrase, but it’s super helpful). That is the only thing that is a real, lasting solution, to anything whether it is novel writing, graphic novel drawing or a job search. I could ask why I can sit down and commit and go writing off on that tangent, but that just invites more procrastination. And 1000 words is not that much.
On the Nanowrimo boards one year, someone (I can’t remember who, sorry) mentioned that to enforce the butt in the chair thing, they actually took a scarf and tied themselves down. Some people use rewards, like chocolate, or new books, but those just distract me. I might try the scarf idea.
Last week, I bought two things. A stack of plastic boxes for my pens and pencils, and software for writing and organizing novels in progress– Scrivener. In the interest of fairness: I had an winners code from last years contest and several good recommendations from fellow nanoers. So I had incentive to choose this software.
I did eight years of Nanowrimo, without the benefit of this software. I also never went back for deep edits. It’s easy to type out a first draft by just plowing forward. Never mind the characters that you introduced in chapter 2 never made another appearance, or the word ‘hello’ was invented with the telephone. But if you want to go back, figure out how how to reintroduce the characters from chapter 2 (or even who they were), or correct the usage of ‘hello’, you are going to need to lay the narrative out and look at the pieces. Text producing programs cannot do that. They are for writing out words and pages. Once it gets past five pages or so the editing gets cumbersome. It’s like taking everything out of your closet and putting it back neatly, giving some away and throwing out the garbage.
The other purchase are a little more straightforward.
These were for my drawing supplies. I have it in my head to make a webcomic (remember this guy?). I have quite a lot of art supplies, but I needed the pens and pencil and erasers and rulers to be in a box at hand. A box that would hold them all and wasn’t being held together with rubber bands. That way I wouldn’t have to think of my materials when trying to wrestle with the stripes on my tiger.
Organization keeps me focused. It’s like a meditation to do before starting a project. I get my folders (virtual and otherwise), my pens and the proper eraser. I get the threads and the sketches I made. I’ll set up the framework for my project, and then all I’ll have to worry about is the creativity.
So, I’ve decided to resurrect this blog. I realized when I signed in just now, that I didn’t post at all in 2011. I spent most of that time going to community college to learn how to be a paralegal. I had it “up to here” with writing and turning things in, in general. But now, I’ve graduated and in between jobs, I have the time and presence of mind to post again.
While in school, I did do some writing besides school assignments. I won two NaNoWriMo years while in school after all, a ScriptFrenzy (sadly a recently defunct challenge similar to NaNo), and while I was commuting to school I started another science fiction novel. But despite that I couldn’t find the time to write on this blog.
Part of this was self motivation –Deadlines are so much better at motivating me. Cross this line and — something bad happens. Or something like that. NaNo and ScriptFrenzy were great deadlines. There is a start and a finish, the thing doesn’t spread out into infinity. There is only so much room for procrastination, not an entire lifetime.
Writing on the bus wasn’t a deadline as such, but it had a limited timespan and lets face it, there is not much else I’m doing on the bus besides reading, writing or listening to my iPod. When I got to school, I would have to put my writing away and think about other things. I got a lot done, but then my commute ended before the novel did, and I’ve been doing other things ever since.
Now I’m doing NaNoWriMo Camp, so I can have more deadlines (I like them. For noveling). This pared down version of NaNo takes place in June and August. I was browsing through a thread someone had post about user’s blogs and realized that I still create stuff and I have time. I can still talk about what I make, which is what this blog was created for.
So it’s been three years, but I finally finished my 2006 NaNoWrimo. It’s a story I’ve been working on in one form or another since oh, about eighth grade. Don’t worry, the thing has matured as I have and I expect it to mature more yet as I edit.
In some ways I’ve finished with the easy part — the easy part many people don’t finish. What the first draft comes down to is putting your butt in the chair and advancing the plot. If something doesn’t click, you can write it out in the next scene and write a ‘note to self’ to edit it later.
But the most important part is to write. The writing won’t be done all at once (the fastest I’ve ever done a draft is 30 days, that was part of a challenge and it was hardly the length of a usual novel: 50,000 words), so the best thing is to do a little ever time you get the chance. This may mean doing the same time every day, or like I did, in between everything else. I took a spiral bound notebook with me and wrote scenes on the bus, on my lunch hour, on the train, on the weekends. I wrote a lot of other things in that notebook too, including bus schedules, phone numbers and grocery lists. Interspersed were pieces of my novel. When I got home I would transcribe the latest bit of my story into the document in my computer.
I had to write the end of the story three times before I got one I could live with. There are a lot of loose ends to the narrative and I have a feeling I know what my next NaNoWrimo subject is going to be.
Something to keep in mind about writing though: everyone works differently. Find the thing that works for you. I may take a lot of searching. I can only write about what works for me.
So the “easy” part is done: now I get to edit this big fat mess. It’s a story I’ve been working on so long a yet I still love the characters — which I take as a good sign. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford the ink/paper needed to make a hard copy…
It’s almost November (a few more hours…), and I’m going to the midnight launch of National Novel Writing month in Portland. So I’ll be dreaming up a novel in November.
Go to www.nanowrimo.org to witness (or get in on) the madness.
Also, find me on Twitter: “ThePripyet.” I’ll tweet some book reviews during the month instead of writing here. I don’t have a pic yet, but don’t get freaked out. I’m planning to add one very soon.
And, for the record, The Adventures of Augie March is slow going.
I’ve finished Script Frenzy, and won:
2009 Script Frenzy Winner Icon
I got through 97 pages of story and then by putting the “frame” designation (I’m writing a graphic novel script, which I’ll be the only one to see) on a separate line, I got it up to 127 pages. Amazing what the “return” button can do.
So anyway, I’m back to world of the blogging.