NaNoWriMo Approaches

It’s that time of year again. The time when I decide whether or not to take up the November writing challenge. I did it last year, won and have spent ever since trying to make my effort into something readable. I’m still working on it and its grown to over 90,000 words as I try to get it to a suitable ending.

In the past, I’ve always struggled to start or got bogged down in the middle somewhere. Lost focus or lost interest or just found that time had overtaken me and then it was difficult to get started again. I’ve been lucky to be able to use Scrivener to break it up into manageable chunks and lately I’ve started using Ulysses, which does the same but in a different way. In fact, I’m writing this in Ulysses as it allows me to post straight into WordPress and onto my blog. Easy.

I need to make up my mind shortly though as that will give me time to research and plan during October. Although I’m pretty sure that things will be busy for me in that month so as you can see. I’m a long way from deciding as we head towards the end of September. Have to wait and see I suppose.

If I abandon my 90,000+ word project for a couple of months whilst I indulge myself on NaNoWriMo will I ever start it again? On the other hand, if I do that and then come back to it will reading it again guide me to a suitable ending? Dilemma – I’ll let you know.

Writer’s Block

I don’t do writer’s block. No one ever refuses to serve you at a supermarket till with the words, ‘Sorry, can’t do it. I’ve got checkout person’s block.’

David Hewson

I read this today and began thinking about writers block. There are mixed thoughts about it’s reality. Plus an unending number of ‘cures’ for it. Hewson, in his blog post, doesn’t believe in it, just that writers dry up because the path they have chosen to write went awry a few hundred word previous. The drying comes from writers trying to write themselves out of it and hoping to pick up the thread by just putting words on the page. What they really need to do is address what went wrong earlier and find a new direction for the story.

I have experienced this drying up and I suppose it’s easy to put a label on it and call it something, like writer’s block, as an excuse not to write on or find a solution. I have been guilty of this. Getting stuck on one story doesn’t mean you can’t write something else, but putting a label on it can do. Doing so gives you permission to give up, like having flu so you don’t have to go to work. Calling it a name means you have some sort of illness that only afflicts writers and nobody else.

There are many reasons for drying up or writer’s block but when it happens you can call it what you like but don’t use it as an excuse to stop. When you are sitting looking at a blank page, desperate for a beginning to the story that’s fast fading from you thoughts. Start in the middle, or write down the ending but write, write, write something and it will pass. Unblock writer’s block.

“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”
H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Writing Time

You can’t say, I won’t write today because that excuse will extend into several days, then several months, then… you are not a writer any more, just someone who dreams about being a writer.
—Dorothy C. Fontana

I came across this quote recently and, for me, it really hit home. I have spent a lifetime of dreaming about being a writer. I have always allowed other things to get in the way and every day, I feel the pull of distractions as I sit at my computer trying to write. Its email, then social media, even WordPress have been amongst the things which draw me away from writing. More recently I have really annoyed myself by just “trying out” Farm Heroes and Candy Crush. These games are so frustrating but addictive at the same time.

Time is so precious and we treat it as its a given, with little regard for when that time ends. I try to find the room to write each day, to add a little space where I can sit down and produce something, anything. I don’t always show what’s written, in fact, most of it will never see the light of day. The more I write the less other things become momentarily important and the writing becomes more of a habit. With NaNoWriMo fast approaching I’ll need to be in that frame of mind that pushes away thoughts of procrastination but just lets me get on with the process of writing.

As David Hewson, the author of over twenty books, writes in his blog post

Here’s the hard truth. No one ever finds the time for writing. We make it.

And if you don’t… you’ll never finish that book.

So we have to make the time to write, it doesn’t just present itself. Me, I’ll be staying off Farm Heroes and all those other distractions.

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.
—Isaac Asimov

It’s all kicking off

November is closing in and it means fireworks, bonfires, Guy Fawkes, dark nights and for some of us National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. It’s called ‘National’ although writers across the globe will enter and try to complete the 50,000 words in 30 days. So, in reality, it’s more global or universal perhaps but I suppose GlNoWriMo or UnNoWriMo might not roll of the tongue as well.

The question I suppose we all should be asking ourselves is why do we do it? Why subject ourselves to the pressure of knowing we MUST achieve 1600 + words day in, day out for the whole of the month? Heaven only knows what that means when we miss a day or so and when real life gets in the way of our target. Work, family, problems and general obstacles all have this nasty habit of lying low until November and the suddenly deciding that they need some of your time too. Suddenly work reduces the comfortable deadlines you thought you had or your family have planned a surprise holiday for you (Even though they knew you were entering this writing marathon again!). That’s without all the complications of plotting, adding characters and keeping the story line going. Not to mention writers block. (I did say not to mention writers block)

Cover of "The Shining [Blu-ray]"

Cover of The Shining [Blu-ray]

I do realise that I could spend my days repeating the same sentence over and over, like Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’ and be declared a winner, but what would be the point of that? Personally, as I mentioned in a previous post, I am using this year as a means of getting back into the discipline of daily writing.Will we all be like Jack before the end of the month?

Why are you entering?

Hair of the Dog

Here in Britain the title means using the illness to cure. Some say that getting back on the bike or horse after a fall will cure the fear of riding again.

Since I entered (and failed) NaNoWriMo in 2012 I’ve written virtually nothing. I have felt little desire to put pen to paper or more realistically, tap out words in Scriverner. I don’t really know what happened or why I suddenly lost my writing desire. I can’t really say I have been suffering writers block, its been much deeper than that; I just lost my mojo. Other things seemed much more important; things which, in the past, I would have ignored rather than not write.

Lately its begun to bother me. I’ve continued to read all the interesting blogs and sometimes two books at once but the desire to write hasn’t been there.

So I’ve decided to enter NaNoWriMo again this year, just for the discipline of writing every day again. I’m not really bothered if I win, although I have every intention of doing so. It’s more about seeking the cure from what I feel has contributed to my disappearing muse.

I’m writing my autobiography so I know the subject pretty well and I don’t need to do lots of research. By getting back on the writing horse I’m hoping to rekindle my desire to write.

I’ll let you know

Blog Writers Block

 

Well, I never thought it would happen but I seem to be suffering from blog writer block. Whenever I feel the need to post, something else gets in the way and I continue with other projects. An idea presents itself to my consciousness, one that I think will make a good blog post, and suddenly, without warning, it turns into something else. It changes form into a short story or an article. I think it’s the opposite of normal writers block where, commonly, writers stare at a blank sheet of paper or computer screen but, no matter how long you stare the words don’t come. My problem’s different, I have no problem writing the words; it’s just that the words are not what I want to blog about. Is this unique? I doubt it.

I always try to post things I consider other readers may want to read. It doesn’t always work that way but that has always been my driver. Lately, however, many of the ideas I have, are already being covered by other bloggers in Freshly Pressed and I’m looking to entertain with new thoughts not regurgitate old ideas. Sure I could just go over the same old ground but I want to read about something new and I suspect everyone else does too. Sure I could write about traveling the trans Siberian railway but I’ve never been there or I could write about knitting a jumper but I can’t knit.

Maybe I have too many things going on inside my head. Perhaps my head is too full of other things and the lid is snapped down tight and won’t allow blog posts to pop out like they did. I hope so because I know that can change if I ease open the lid a little.

Has this ever happened to you?