NaNoWriMo: A Stressful Week 1

Welcome back to another recap of my NaNoWriMo journey! As most Americans could tell you, this past week has been stressful. This entire week has been as draining as it has been exciting. For the past week, I’ve gotten home from work and attempted to stay as far away from the news and social media as I could. I tried to limit checking for updates and searched for something to distract me. There was a sign saying “hey, writing your NaNoWriMo story might help”. Surprise, that was not how it panned out.

Instead of focusing on my writing, I took a deep dive into other distractions. YouTube? I was there. Knitting? You bet! And, of course, social media took its place as the number one distraction. On top of this, I was getting home every day from work with a brain that felt like mush. A mushy brain is not my ideal when it comes to writing, and I couldn’t figure out how to overcome it. I was on a roll for a few days, pushing through to get a few paragraphs in at the very least. Then things started to pile up, and I lost my ability to power through. Instead, I became an Emily burrito of stress and the mushy brain feeling only grew worse. Needless to say, I did not get much done.

This continued on for most of the week. An endless cycle of stress and a lack of productive work. If you were in the same boat as me, it is okay. Many people were stressing over events and were channeling that stress. They channeled it into outlets other than writing. My favorite outlet was the meme format. Many created funny and sassy memes about Nevada and other states who appear to be slow counters. These memes made me laugh and helped me get back into a good enough mindset to write again. The good side of the internet strikes again! 

Thanks to this newfound determination, I was on a roll at the end of the week. Fingers were flying, words were flowing out of me like honey. The ideal writing situation! I knew that this wouldn’t be a frequent feeling for me during this year’s NaNoWriMo. I don’t have that gift at the best of times, let alone during a year where stressed out is my default state. I’m grateful to have this inspiration while it lasts. It might hold me over until December 1st, or it might tank tomorrow. Either way, I’m glad to be doing this challenge. It reminds me that I can write. That I could someday join the ranks of published NaNoWriMo participants. You can too if you keep pushing through and keep striving to improve your skills.

How are y’all doing with NaNoWriMo so far? Any tips you’ve picked up to help power through the hardships of writing? Let me know in the comments below! This year has gotten me excited to be a part of the writing community. I’d love to continue expanding my list of writing buddies. If you want to be writing buddies, let me know and I’d be happy to beta your story. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy writing!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Let’s Do This

Welcome back everyone to another year of new characters and weird plot ideas! It’s time for NaNoWriMo 2020, aka National Novel Writing Month. I can’t believe it’s already time to start this challenge. It seems like yesterday that NaNoWriMo was sending me  Camp NaNoWriMo emails in March. Now we’re knee-deep in character sheets and chugging caffeinated beverages. How time flies, especially during the weird year we’ve had. In honor of my third year, I wanted to share some information about my story. I also want to give NaNoWriMo newbies a glimpse into my personal experience.

Before I go into my own experience, let’s get into what NaNoWriMo entails. For those unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month happens every November. Over these thirty days, writers are challenging themselves to write a novel. The rough draft of one, usually. The NaNoWriMo goal is always 50,000 words, which is roughly 1,667 words a day. I have never met this goal, so if you don’t get it don’t worry about it. The main goal of this adventure is to get yourself writing and thinking about writing. To keep it fun, you get badges on your profile when you hit milestones. They also make a community-driven affair. There are countless forums you can join to meet other writers online and get advice. They also have forums in your city, which is great for when they are planning group write-ins. We won’t be doing those this year for obvious reasons, but it’s still a great way to make writer friends in your area. 

As I mentioned, I’ve never hit that 50k word goal. I usually end up writing a bunch of scenes that are hard to piece together. I’m still writing more than usual, so I can’t berate myself too much about that. Last year I threw in the extra challenge of this blog. It both motivated me and increased the nerves I had about writing. I found myself writing more because if I didn’t, there’d be nothing for me to talk about in my next blog post! Because of this, I wrote 13,464 more words than the year before. Talk about an improvement! If you are a NaNoWriMo first-timer, don’t worry about making that goal in the sky. As long as you improve and finish with a semi-formulated idea, that’s all that matters. In the past two years of doing this, my writing has improved. I also feel less self-conscious about my writing. 

This year has been crazy for me like it has been for most people. I worried that November 1st would pop up and I’d have no ideas and only stress. I’m still stressed, but I do have an idea. A victory for myself, I’d say. This year, I’m challenging myself to write the next North American Folk tale. I’m hoping to channel the essence of these stories. I want to create something that fits in among the Johnny Appleseed’s and Headless Horsemen of the genre. I’m not sure how I’m going to do this. In fact, as I’m writing this I have no clue how to write American folklore. There aren’t a lot of papers or books that go into how to write them. Or I haven’t found them yet. I’m going into this with only determination and hope. I did discover an unexpected plus of this genre. Most classic American folk tales are short stories, so I don’t have to climb the 50k word mountain this year. I do want a full rough- draft, which will be both easier and more difficult because of the smaller word count goal. 

Despite going into this blind, I’m excited about this year and my new story idea. I can’t wait to see what I have on November 30th. If you are taking part in NaNoWriMo 2020, let me know in the comments below! Please keep me updated on your project. I’d love to hear what other people are working on and how it’s going. Also, please let me know if this is your first time participating. If you’d like some advice or a writer buddy to cheer you on, I’d be happy to help! This is going to be a crazy awesome month, and I can’t wait to dive headfirst back into the story writing world. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

Rejuvenating with Writing

 It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that things have been a bit rough for a lot of people recently.  We’re all grasping at straws to find some hint of what used to be normal, while trying to grow and change at the same time. On the whole, it can get a bit exhausting. Sometimes you have to take a break from the glaring reality flashing in your face. Whether it’s gardening, Zoom calling your friends, or reading a book, you need something to rejuvenate your spirit. To keep you on the path towards a brighter future.

For the longest time, the only thing that fell into this category for me was reading. Then music joined the mix, but it’s a bit difficult to quietly practice a clarinet in an apartment complex. Especially when everyone is at home to hear your cringey attempts at relearning scales. Reading has been a comfort to me, but I’ve also found that writing has joined the ranks as well. When I write, that is. Writing can ebb and flow in my life to extreme degrees. So, when it is in my grasp, I snatch it up like a child catching a lightning bug. Cupped firmly-but delicately- in two hands, to see the glow of inspiration between fingers. 

Writing this blog has been a mixed bag for me right now. Some days, I can feel the ideas for future content flowing from me. But only when I’m in a location where writing said ideas down is an impossibility. Most days it feels like a chore, but one that I enjoy doing once I’m in the middle of it. I’m sure you have something in your life like that right now. 

But the nice thing about writing right now, despite my lack of inspiration, is time. Time to focus on research rabbit holes about 1920s archaeologists, or invent an underground network of spies. If you feel stuck in the rejuvenating hobby, try a new strategy. For me, this new strategy is research or character sheets. I can pull myself into parts of writing that normally won’t cross my mind until I’m in the thick of a writing session. Researching might not add words to the page, but it can add ideas to my mind that I can pluck out later when I’m stuck. Designing a new character might put their words on the page in a new way. It’s also a great way to learn about how your characters will interact differently with each of the characters in your novel.  

If you’re like me, staring at your lack of life progress in frustration, take time to rejuvenate. If you feel stuck, try that new strategy. Take a new look at another piece of it that will help the big picture. Rabbit holes of researching or learning about writing are some ways that I’ve kept my big picture. How will you help yours? What are you doing, or are wishing that you could do, to reignite your spirit? Let me know in the comments below. Stay safe out there everyone, and happy writing.