Determination, or How I Try To Get Out of a Funk

I have today, for the first time all April, hit my daily word count target. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, that still leaves me around 20k words behind my cumulative target. Looks like tonight will be more about writing than reading.

I don’t know if it’s still possible to even hit the 50k target I somewhat arrogantly set myself, but acknowledging that I may need to reinterpret my story plan did help along the way. Rediscovering my entirely incidental worldbuilding database (it’s so pretty…) also motivated me to get *something* written down. All I need to do now is word vomit all over the scenes I’ve identified as needing to be written.

Piece of cake, right?

Update – PreCamp

I’ve let the standard slip again, I’m afraid, as I get well into the reading I’m doing. I’ve had a good run of new ideas in the last week, though, so that’s encouraging.

The bulk of my non-work time has been devoted to reading, and I’ve devoured some new things. Spending an evening on Mythcreants, as the slightest incursion to their archives will do, did damage my writing somewhat. Discovering new series is always fun, and I’m happy to report I seem to be out of my romance phase for the moment. No objection to those re-reads, but this has a fair bit more depth.

Speaking of my sci-fi (entirely Space Opera) bender, I should go back and whack my brother for kicking this off in the first place. If he hadn’t recommended one book to me, and my addictive personality hadn’t latched onto it, I would never be in this position…

It changes up my writing nicely though, and what writing I *have* managed to do has been different from the previous. It feels warmer, less formal, though I’m not really sure why that would be as it’s all *my* writing.

I’ve done nowhere near the prep for Camp NaNo as I did for the main event, though I have been writing more anyway. I imagine restricting myself to a single storyline for a month will be even more challenging than hitting my target word count.

I suppose I ought to spend some time boning up on it, but I have to be honest and say that may take a backseat to all the things I want to get done this weekend.

Knowing When To Stop

I have very nearly made up the ridiculous shortfall of the last week by writing 5k today. The thing I’m struggling with is whether to charge on, or stop here, recharge my batteries and attack the particularly juicy scene I’m writing tomorrow when I’m fresh.

Let it not be said that I’m not proud of my achievement – that kind of word count is something I haven’t managed since the heady early days of NaNoWriMo, when I was consciously dedicating large blocks of time to knocking out a novel.

This is a different beast, as I am focused on getting into the habit of writing a significant amount every day; that’s why I think I ought to stop. There’s no prize if I tear through a scene tonight only to run out of energy for it tomorrow.

There, I’ve decided – less is more, when I’m on a roll.

I will write again tomorrow!

Nooooooooooo!

I have just had my worst experience of cloud-connected writing.

Not only have I previously been smug about being able to access my files wherever I like, I have taken advantage of that exact feature to do some writing in unlikely places – like my son’s swimming lesson today.

The writing I’d already done today – 2460 words, I was rather proud – was extended to 2685 in a little burst of inspiration. I saved the file. All good so far.

I get home, open up the laptop… and the file is corrupted. No matter, I think to myself, and look for the copy stored on my hard drive.

Too late – it was also corrupted.

Now, and I will most certainly be taking backups going forward, I need to try and recall what I wrote this morning, or drown in a pool of my own tears.

Unsmug Kitten Out.

Shiny New Distractions

I made a massive booboo this week – I broke my laptop. Just the screen, so if I could be bothered I could probably fix it, but I reckon it’s past the point of being worth it. Bring on the new laptop!

New toy excitement aside, it massively derailed my 2k per day plans – I managed to hit that word count from Monday to Saturday last week, then my rugby (Scotland in the 6nations) love resulted in a defunct device.

I don’t anticipate hitting my word target today either, but as my laptop arrives tomorrow I’m hoping to make it then. After that, it’s getting back on the horse and slogging away until spewing words out is a force of habit.

At that point, I will be that much closer to:

  1. a complete draft of another novel (most of what I’ve written has been for the same story)
  2. being able to keep writing even when I don’t feel like it
  3. figuring out how to manage writing while working

Back to the shiny: I have an opportunity here to alter my routine, to maintain my writing every single day in such a way as to reach my dreams. In April I’ll be undertaking Camp NaNoWriMo with a different story (I doubt I’ll *ever* run out of stories to be writing), so that may require some redirection.

The other thing of note is the pronounced tendency I have to write based on the style I’ve most recently read. The space fleet opera I’ve been bingeing on lately has clearly influenced both my most recent ideas (fully expected) and the writing I’ve been doing (less expected but welcome as its influence has largely pertained to tactics so far).

The Writing Train Has Finally Left The Station

Writing – finally, we have progress again!

Apparently, all I needed was a mental recharge and a visit from my sister to trigger a scene between sisters. 5k later, I’ve managed to write a daily amount which would see me comfortably through NaNoWriMo, which is plenty for a daily average and a good idea to maintain just for practising.

That or it was the genre swap (I’ve been reading Sci-Fi for a week instead of fluff) or the ridiculous amount of alcohol consumed over the weekend.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t care what it was; I feel like I have my mojo back!

It’s also nice to be able to write something I intended on doing… even if there is one (perfectly logical) diversion. It doesn’t even make later scenes change. It’s also allowed me to acknowledge a greater depth in one character. Good stuff, so far. Now to redirect this on time in April for Camp NaNo…

Back to the sci-fi binge – I need to stop being obsessive about things I find interesting. I breeze through everything available rather than pacing myself – though spending a week reading six books is pacing myself – then get a prolonged story hangover when I’m done. I’m just lucky in this case that there’s already a spinoff to get into, though I’m not convinced it’ll have the same impact.

It may freshen up my ‘you might like’ list though – moving it away from fluff.

It’s also, unfortunately, the time when the TV programmes I was watching before Christmas have started airing again. That means less reading time 😦

Overload

I’ve been busy at work, busy with sorting out my car, busy messing up dinner and then crying about it… Nothing seems to go right lately. I’m more than ready for my upcoming week off *snigger*.

The snigger, of course, is because it isn’t a week off from stress, only from going in to work. I will still have to drive my family around, I will still have to cook dinner (though admittedly we’re spending two nights away from home so I won’t have to do it then), and I will still have to remain on call for my job (which is a whole lot less glamorous than ‘doctor’ or ‘consultant’).

Why am I looking forward to it? I associate not having to go into the office, and even not having to wear office clothing, with relaxation and de-stressing. Probably a holdover from my school days, where non-uniform days were hailed as the pinnacle of any school term.

My writing has, yet again, not been progressing, though I’m edging towards what I think will be some quality writing time – we’ve finally taken on the task of getting the housework finished before we go away.

In the meantime, I’m adding continually to my over-long list of stories to write, largely in the low-intensity area of romance. The sheer number of situations I can envisage is something to be proud of; the main reason I haven’t been upping my fantasy count so much is that the setting has taken up the bulk of my creativity there.

I was pleasantly surprised this week when I was required to write something distinctly non-formal for an expo we’re doing: 100-word limit, no sales jargon, describe the company without being boring. I had loads of fun with that one!

Whoops

I’ve somehow fallen into the position of being tired all the time and extremely busy when I do have the energy to deal with things. I haven’t properly written anything since Christmas, and I feel terrible about that. I seem to be emerging from the other side of a minor episode of SAD, so now is the time to take my life back in my own hands.

All my typical excuses (bar the fatigue, that probably won’t go until I’m drinking again) are now exhausted, so I need to get off my backside, sit down at my laptop, and get to typing. Irony fully intended.

The loose plan for what to write is one of my fantasy projects – not the NaNoWriMo one and not the one earmarked for Camp NaNoWriMo – then in February (of course) knock out some steamy romance, which is always a good fallback when I’m in a low mood.

The Soul Is Willing…

…but the flesh is weak. Addled by caffeine and too much alcohol, the odd burn from cooking and a dependency on sugar. I do go swimming though. Honest.

I haven’t done much writing at all since hitting the 50k mark for NaNoWriMo – on the 18th of November. I rested on my laurels, which was a silly thing to do, and now I’m paying the price. I had thought that the seat-of-the-pants nature of my project for NaNo was the reason I stuttered and stopped a couple of times. In an attempt to prevent this happening in subsequent efforts, I plotted out the novel.

Then I plotted out a few more. Not next-in-the-series, just other stories I haven’t written yet. What I learnt? I have yet to find the method for planning novels which actually suits me. I also have a hard time with the terminology.

‘Conflict’ is one that crops up rather frequently – in my head it still means a war or at least a fight of some magnitude. That novel-plotters mean something more like ‘at cross-purposes’ doesn’t escape me, but it feels rather contrived to insert opposition when in your head there wasn’t any.

I suspect I’m getting the wrong end of the stick, and that I’m also a little too romance-and-fluff-focused. I personally don’t mind, but I have a feeling the point is to get some tension into the story. It’s only a story if something happens which didn’t before, and it’s only interesting if things keep happening. I love a good action scene, though other people’s can bore me (I get that it’s hypocritical, but it’s also reading as a writer, so thbpbpbpbpbpt), but I genuinely don’t like too much in the way of opposition to something.

Perhaps that’s naive and perhaps I should stop thinking that way, but I reserve the right to keep reading things with a happy ending whenever I want.

Another facet of novel-planning which seems designed to scupper me is talking about characters’ motivations. Are they supposed to have deep, driving causes? Can’t someone genuinely be along for the ride, living in the moment? Do we really care about the childhood tragedy which orphaned the hero and sent him on an otherwise predestined path?

I hate that kind of thing. Plenty of people have had perfectly nice childhoods and gone on to do both wonderful and terrible things. Then again, the books I read tend not to be centred on normal families. Why not, I ask you? I would attempt to talk about ‘low fantasy’ (as opposed to high fantasy), but that’s already a thing and it isn’t about the average Joanne. There seems to be a real dearth of main characters forming meaningful relationships with people (especially parents) in my preferred genres. It’s sad.

Despite the little rant above, I actually do like reading fantasy – you get a really experimental take on systems of government, the limits of humanity, and the effects of powerful people throughout history. What I wish I saw more is how all that really cool high-level stuff affects the villager in their cottage, or the bartender at the inn.

I’ve seen it written more than once that if you really want to read a particular story, you should write it. That is what I will do. Starting with the situation closest to my own – young family.

If it turns autobiographical, poke me.