I challenged myself to write this.

At this point in time I would be considering doing Nanowrimo or Nablopomo with them both starting in November. I decided a long time ago that writing a novel in thirty days wasn’t something I was good at keeping to after a disastrous attempt a couple of years back. And yet, there has always been that urge to try again once I’d come up with a decent idea. I had even bought a book on novel writing ages ago in the hope that it might inspire, but no ideas came and so I resolved never to touch that particular challenge again – well, at least for a year.

Nablopomo however, was an altogether easier challenge for me. Writing thirty blog posts in  thirty days was simple enough to do, even if half my posts were more “yes I’m still at it!” than posting anything that was planned or remotely meaningful. I was still writing something though, even if it was a lot of crap. Plus I regarded completing the challenge two years in a row as a big achievement, seeing as I often tend to give up on a lot of things.

This year however, I’m thinking about not doing Nablopomo at all. I don’t really feel like I can come up with a month’s worth of blog posts and even if I could, my heart wouldn’t be in it at all. The other occasions I did it, I really wanted to put more content on my blog. I really wanted to write stuff and actually  had things to share. I’d slacked a little in updating the site and in writing overall prior to doing the challenge and this was my way to get into the habit again. Nowadays any attempt to blog finds me writing one sentence before deleting it or saving it to drafts – that’s if it gets that far. I feel that if I was to do it again, I’d want to really plan what I’m doing and have the ideas there, but I don’t think I’d always have time to do that. I don’t want to post for the sake of posting, as it’s always pretty obvious when someone does that (I can see plenty of examples on my own blog, when I read them back).

Most of all, I want to enjoy doing it, and I’m not sure I will this time. Don’t ask me why.

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It’s almost November

Time was when November was only about fireworks and thinking about what to buy for Christmas but not really buying anything until the week before the 25th December. These days, it’s also about men trying to grow a moustache for a month and people trying to write a 50,000 word novel over thirty days.

Being of the female species, I can’t grow a moustache, however I did once try to go for a month without shaving my underarms. I lasted a week and a half (it probably wasn’t the wisest idea to try it in a summer month but I didn’t know there’d be a heat wave. Sorry, TMI – they‘ll be no more of that, promise). I have participated in Nanowrimo once, two years ago. I managed 10 days and 5000 words, which were mostly a load of nonsense but I still consider it an achievement that I managed to write anything at all.

I’m not considering doing Nanowrimo again this year, or in the future (I wouldn’t discourage anyone from giving it a go though, it just didn’t turn out well for me). However, recently I have been thinking about trying to write more. I have been trying to post more often on this blog of mine, but for a variety of reasons (lack of time, energy, ideas, etc) I’ve not done it as often as I’ve liked to. When I have posted, it’s more out of telling the three or so people who read it that I’m still alive, which aren’t the most interesting posts really.

So I have decided to set a challenge for myself. As of the 1st November, I am going to post a blog every day for a month. Long posts, short posts, pretty much any kind of post I can put up on the blog I will post on here. I’ll even stick the odd video, photo or audio up on here if I am in the mood for it. The only thing is: “how could I possibly come up with enough decent posts for thirty days straight?”

That’s where you come in, dear reader.

You see, I think I could come up with at least seven days’ worth of ideas for blog posts, but I think there could be times when I need help. So if anyone has any ideas for stuff that could be put on here over the thirty days, then I’m open to suggestions. So long as they are (a) clean and (b) aren’t likely to endanger the lives of myself or anyone around me, then that’s fine with me. I’ll be sure to give you a credit too, unless you’d rather stay anonymous, which again, is fine.

I’m going to have to plan this out a bit more, but already I feel a bit excited. Kind of.

 

So I failed Nanowrimo.

Not just failed it, but epically failed it. You all knew that it was coming from my last blog post, when I wrote that I had struggled in trying to find both time and ideas for it. I suppose when I look back at it, I was a little bit hasty in signing up. I didn’t really give enough thought as to what I was going to do for it and while I know that the whole thing is about quantity over quality I still thought it would be ideal to know what it was all going to be about. Even if you wrote a load of crap you want it to be coherent crap, with some story going on.

For all this, I was glad that I did manage to get some words down, even if it was thousands of words off the target. You think that for every person who either completed their novel or did a couple of thousand but then stopped there are loads more who signed up for Nanowrimo and didn’t write a single word. The fact you tried to have a go is an achievement in itself, even if you didn’t get to the end. Certainly trying it out made me think more about writing, if not always for my near empty shell of a novel, then for my blog and twitter. I found myself writing down more stuff in my notebooks, even if it was just a sentence, or general random nonsense. At one point I may look back at some of them and see what I can use. Maybe for next year’s Nanowrimo – or maybe not.

Will I do it next year? I might do. If I did, I would definitely be more prepared for it than I was this time. I wouldn’t want to come across as taking it too seriously as it is meant to be a fun thing, but I would still want to have a good stab at it. Obviously I wouldn’t take time off work in order to write it, that would be stupid.

If you are reading this and did manage to complete your novel, then congratulations! If like me you didn’t, never mind, you still did alright.

(Sorry if this post looks like it should be on my Tumblr page).

How to fail at NaNoWriMo

So in my last post, I mentioned how I had signed up for NaNoWrimo and was challenging myself to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I thought it would be a good idea to write a post telling you my progress on it, seeing as there isn’t really anything else I can think of to blog on here at the minute.

So far it is well into the second week of the challenge, and it’s got to be said, I am finding it a lot harder than I thought it would be. Not that I never thought that writing a novel in thirty days would be an easy task, I just thought that once I got into it the ideas and the words would just come out. Suffice to say the amount of words and ideas that has come out from writing for it hasn’t been a waterfall as much as it has been a drip leaking slowly from a tap.  At my last count, I had just under 1000 words, which is pretty much under what you would be expected to have at this point in the challenge. A bad thing? Some might say that, but it is more words than I had at the start of the month, thus I am sort of pleased that I have managed to do anything at all. Plus, I can’t be the only person in this position.

My progress on my novel (or lack of it, in some ways), can be attributed to a number of reasons – lack of time, lack of ideas and that good old friend of ours, procrastination. I am in full-time employment, and depending on what kind of mood I’m in I don’t always feel like getting stuck into story writing when I get home. I’d rather watch TV, browse the web, listen to music, post nonsense on Twitter or indulge in my Tumblr obsessions. Sometimes, even just sleep.  I intend to catch up on it at the weekends, but then I end up doing something else during the day, so I put it off until later on, and not get far with it.  I don’t intend to procrastinate, it just happens, which is still kind of worrying.  I know that at the end of the day, this is just a bit of fun but you know…

One way that I thought I could beat the writers’ block was by starting a blog on Tumblr in which I have attempted to write posts as the main character of the story. By doing this, I have been able to bring up some character traits, come up with other characters, locations and identified one or two bits that could be useful to the actual storyline.  These have probably contributed most to my word count, as I haven’t been able to put together any proper chapters yet, as much has I have tried to.  I suppose if the novel-writing turns into a total fail then there is still a blog that can come out of it, albeit a fictional one.

If there is one thing that I have learned from the whole nanowrimo experience so far, is that it is probably not a good idea to make an iTunes playlist for it – or not to have certain songs on that playlist at least. I created one prior to starting the challenge as I thought it would (a) motivate me a bit and (b) provide a sort of soundtrack to the whole experience. Word of warning: putting a song like Pumped Up Kicks on a playlist you designed to help you write something is asking for trouble. In fact, just avoid putting anything from Foster The People on it –  their songs will stick in your head and have you mentally singing along. Or out loud, which would be incredibly embarrassing. Seriously, save listening to them when you’re not coming up with your next amazing plot twist.

 

NaNoWriMo

 

If you happen to follow my blog a lot, you might well have noticed that I am always looking for other ways to keep myself occupied in terms of trying to be creative. I tried the post a week challenge on here, which I managed to keep up until around August, when I realised it was impossible for me to have anything of note to say for every week of the year or be able to keep up without having life get in the way somehow. I tried audio blogging (via audioboo), but didn’t get far with that. As for vlogging, that’s sort of been put on hold for a while (i.e. I need new batteries for my Flip but can’t be arsed to put any in them).

Now I have decided to sign up for National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as you’ll have seen it written as) which starts on the 1st November. I signed up a couple of weeks ago when I was in one of those moments when you are just browsing the internet, see something mentioned and you think “yeah that seems interesting, might give it a go for a laugh, like”. Of course, twenty four hours later you’re thinking, “What the hell have I let myself in for?” and I am still thinking this. I mean, you’re trying to write a novel in thirty days. You’re not necessarily going to write anything the quality of Harry Potter or War and Peace in that space of time, and truth be told you’re not expected to as it’s all about quantity over quality, but even so you want to try and create something that makes some sense. If you go back to it after the initial challenge is over you want to be able to understand it enough to make changes to it – that’s if you’re serious enough about it.

As it is, I still haven’t thought of a basic idea for my novel yet. I know there’s probably plenty of people who don’t have anything in their head until the very first day of the challenge when they fire up their computers to start typing it for the first time, but I like to be prepared even if this is all essentially a bit of fun. I want to have at least one character and the beginnings of a plot before I start putting it down for real and as yet I have nothing. They say everyone has a novel inside them, but I don’t have a sentence, let alone a paragraph or chapter. But sod it. I am going to give it my best shot even if it turns out to be the biggest pile of wank I have ever written. Just writing enough to reach the word limit would be an achievement for me.

So this place might be even quieter now than it was before, and there might even be a bit of Twilence along the way. I’ll still be around somewhere, in some shape or form.