This past weekend I attended the Antioch Writers’ Workshop (AWW) 2017 Saturday seminar, as well as the keynote and craft class with Hugo Award winner John Scalzi. My head just about popped with all of the knowledge poured into it by some fantastic speakers. I can’t imagine what it would be like to attend the full week, but I hope to find out one of these years.
After taking some time to mentally digest the new knowledge, I wanted to share with you three things I took away from the weekend. There were far more than three things I learned, but these are the ones that stood out.
1) Find a process that works for you.
Sometimes I worry so much about doing things the “right way” that I get discouraged and don’t move forward. This is a useless approach to getting anything done. Even though I know better, I still get caught up in this trap. Silly. Continue reading
I ended up taking a little break from writing after NaNoWriMo this year. It wasn’t really planned, it just happened.
NaNoWriMo was a success for me again this year in that I wrote almost every day in November and managed to type just over 50,000 words in the process. I didn’t really like my story, though. I think the problem was I wrote it in the first person as a 15-year-old high school student. There is not enough money in the world to make me want to go back to high school again, so that likely tainted my perception of the experience. I think the general story has potential, but there were times when I just struggled with what to do with some of the characters. After all, it has been many moons since I was in high school and the world has changed so much in that time. I think I will revisit it again some day but rewrite it with the main characters as adults. We’ll see.
I also did not work on editing my story from NaNoWriMo 2015. I did find it crossing my mind. A lot. I miss the characters. I can relate to them better, probably because there is a lot of me in the main character. Does that make me narcissistic? Maybe. No more than any other writer who puts bits of themselves into their characters, though. I just grabbed my printed copy with notes and put it on my desk so I can get back to this. Continue reading
A little over a year ago, I heard about this thing called National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a. NaNoWriMo. It sounded like a crazy idea. Therefore, I had to try it.
In November 2015 I participated in my first NaNoWriMo. Holy crap. I loved it. Not just because I managed to reach the goal of 50,000 words in 23 days, but because it felt like such a major personal accomplishment. I had been afraid of trying creative writing up to that point. NaNoWriMo gave me a reason to say, “To hell with the fear, I’m going to do this!” It was like I grew up a little bit that month and dealt with something I had been afraid of for a long time.
In addition to helping me get over the fear of creative writing, I love NaNoWriMo because it provides a deadline for getting a story written. I tend to be a perfectionist, though I have been working on getting over this. The perfectionist in me desperately wanted to go back and rework almost everything I wrote. But I was able to tell her to hush, let me get the words out to the computer within the 30 days, and she’d get her chance to edit later. And I was pleased to go back and not hate what I wrote. It was pretty not bad for a first attempt at a first draft. It was crappy like any first draft, but crap that could be worked with. The perfectionist in me has been happy to bleed red ink on the pages to make the story better (yes, I went old school and printed the first draft to edit).
Finally, I love NaNoWriMo because it is a massive rush. I have been a pantser the past two years, which just means I did very little planning and am writing by the seat of my pants. So it is a ton of fun to watch the story unfold and take turns I wasn’t even expecting. The characters also start to take on a life of their own and behave in interesting ways.
Well, speaking of NaNoWriMo, I’m behind on my word count and need to get back to my story. Can’t wait to see what the characters will do next!