On Never Saying Never (#NaNoWinner2017 Edition)

I wrote 50,000 words of a novel this month.


Things I can no longer say:

  • I would be amazed to get even 25 or 30,000 words for NaNoWriMo
  • I could never write more than about 2,500 words in a day
  • I could never write 5,000 in one day
  • I didn't write a single word for three days. I could never catch up
  • I didn't reach 1667 for 9 of the first 10 days of November. It would be impossible for me to catch up
  • I could never write 50,000 in a month
  • I'm a slow writer

On Obsessions

Thirst Aid Kit with Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins is my new favorite podcast. I literally giggle like a school girl when I see a new episode is available. The latest episode is the Great British Bae Off. I'd never heard of a 'road man'. It might be worth a trip to the UK. Again.

They end each episode with their own fanfic, which has been, without exception, amazing. I really hope these women decide to write romance. I would buy it in a heartbeat. And dear god don't miss their Tumblr.

Knitpicks. They keep sending me e-mails. I keep obsessing on what I could make with what they have in their e-mails. It's give and take. Mostly me giving them my money and them taking it.

Which leads me to Ravelry. Because once you have yarn you have to figure out what you're going to do with it. My next project is the GAP-tasic Cowl with Billow from Knitpicks. This is how they get you. 

Rachael Herron - How Do You Write?, Petal to the Metal (with J. Thorn, a podcast of "short conversations dedicated to leaving the day job for your dream job"), the Business of Writing in Romance - All of her interviewees and conversations inspiring me for NaNoWriMo, and beyond.

I'm less than 1500 words from 30k. I've never written more than 25k for NaNo. Keep going...

On Being a Pro

For years I’ve gotten up at 5:30am to write before going to work. For years, this has worked for me. But not anymore. We moved into a new building at work almost a year ago and holy hell -the traffic and the commute.

I have flexible hours so I get in later and leave later, at 6:00pm. I don’t get home until 7ish which means by the time I eat dinner it's often 8 or 8:30. This is not working and for almost a year I’ve been fighting it, bitter and angry that I have to do it. Not taking time to workout or really take care of myself physically.

On The Petal to the Metal Episode 46: What’s the difference between being amateur and going pro? Rachael tells a story about when she realized she needed to be a 'pro' (yeah, I'm going on about another Racheal Herron podcast. Do not judge me! and there's even another one too).

Listening to her story I thought, "Yeah, stop fighting it." Get up at 4:45am and write. Get to work at 8:00am. Get home at 6:00ish in time to go for a walk or work out and have dinner at 7 instead of almost 9:00pm. I’ve been waking up at 4:30am anyway. So I might as well get up. 

Also, I’m moving as soon as this freaking lease is up. 

Keep Writing

I'm about 5k behind where I 'should' be for NaNoWriMo, but I'm determined to reach 50k. I wrote for 3+ hours this morning and got a little over 3k words. I'm now less than 500 words from the 25k badge but I can't do it right now. I have to do something else. Although for some reason I'm still online. When will I ever tire of electronic screens?

I've got to write about 2500 words/day starting tomorrow. That seems impossible, but I'm hoping during the week i can do it in sprints, then during the Thanksgiving weekend I can do longer sessions, and maybe get back on track.

By the way. There's a story here. It's an absolute mess and will continue to be during NaNoWriMo, but there's some good stuff here. It's not all shit.

It's after ten at night, but I reached my new daily goal of 2135 words a day. I went a little over, in fact. 

But of course it's me so I keep thinking of awful disasters that are going to get in the way of my writing every day. Actually there were no real disasters that stopped me from writing for three days before, that caused the daily goal to go from 1667/day to over 2000.

I spent one of those days writing my resume, the second one I was... tired? The third, a Saturday was taken up by Ikea (I had a coupon. I had to go) and The Five. And knitting.

But it feels like i'm on my way to 50k.  Shhh... don't tell anyone.

Virtual Pep

I’m here to beat myself up.

I’ve never wanted to finish the NaNoWriMo 2015 novel more than right now when I’m starting another novel in 2017. Why am I starting another novel when I haven’t finished the one I started two years ago?

I’m being very John Green with the half written books. “To finish a novel is to be disappointed.” This is true. But disappointment is not rejection and that’s what I got again last night.

Rejected again, but that’s the… {looking}. I’ve gotten fifteen rejections from twenty four queries. So I’m about a quarter of the way through being rejected the 'standard' 100 times. Great. That’s just fucking great. What kind of masochists come up with this stuff?

Also, Can We Talk is STILL in my head non-stop. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s something else. Just a pretty melody?

Now I feel stupid for starting a new novel. John Green. Damn it! He’s so ubiquitous and so right. Fuck.

With the pep talks I've been reading, I’ve decided I DO want to make it to 50,000 words this year. Why not? Why say that 30,000 is okay? Or 40,000 would be great? Why not go for the goal? I can do this. I’m tired of saying I’m a slow writer. I’m not. I’m an anxious writer. I’m constantly second guessing myself.

I’ve just added four hundred words of anxiety and feelings to this story. And by god – okay wait. It’s me god, Julia. I’m not challenging you. I just want to have fifty thousand words by the end of the month. Is that asking too much?


Can We Talk

For a minute?

I had Tevin Campbell's Babyface produced slow jam from the 90s Can We Talk on my mind all day. I went to Spotify at the end of the day found it and played it on a loop for the next hour. I'm listening to it right now. When I played it as I packed up to head home, it made me giddy. This song is beautiful. Gorgeous. It's perfect pop music.

Listening to it, I figured out the ending of my novel. Not the one I'm writing for NaNoWriMo this year. The one I started for NaNoWriMo in 2015 which I still haven't finished. I also figured out the end of a horror short story that I've been working on for longer than either novel. I don't know how that snuck in.

One more thing: When I got home I had another rejection from an agent. So, I have to remind myself to never give up.

I'm still listening to Tevin.

The Agony and the Ecstasy of NaNoWriMo

I haven't written a word for NaNoWriMo for two days. Wednesday morning I wrote 1200+ words in a 90mwc and I knew what I would write next. I was less than 100 words from that 10k Badge and I wanted it. I could have made it that night. 

However, I needed to apply for a position. I decided I hated my resume and I needed to start from almost scratch. I hate talking about myself. I hate tooting my own horn, putting myself out there. Whatever saying applies to me saying good things about myself, I hate doing.

My therapist suggested I try writing my new resume in third person. My therapist is awesome. It worked. I made statements - true statements - about my experience that I never would have said if I'd been using the pronoun "I". 

I write almost exclusively in 1st POV. There's no story that I've written in 3rd POV that isn't immediately cured of all its ails by my changing it to 1st. Why? What's underneath? How does this affect my writing?

Find My Darlings

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm currently obsessed with Rachael Herron's podcast How Do You Right?

  • "Breaking the seal" in Ep. 060: Rachael Herron with 3 Writing Tips You’ve Never Heard Before. There's a "holding your pee all day" analogy that makes the argument for writing first thing in the morning. It's genius. 
  • I've listened to Ep. 061: Olivia Dunn on What it Means to Do Two More Drafts multiple times now
    • Breaking the seal is again discussed. You can do a lot with a good peeing analogy
    • Also Dunn shared how she started a blog when she was "in her 20s at a boring office job." She wrote only a paragraph a day, which seems really insignificant, but with time she had a significant amount of writing. Even if the writing wasn't significant. (I've used some form of the word "significant" a lot in this bullet point. Its use is not significant.)

I go through periods of blogging but my perfectionism gets in the way and the whole process takes away too much time from my fiction writing. Or knitting. Or watching TV. Or Napping. 

So Thank you Olivia Dunn. This - one paragraph a day - I can do. I am not a wordy person. I never have to cut my fiction writing - kill my darlings. I always have to add words, scenes, characters. I have to... find my darlings.


On Never Giving Up

I've been inspired by so many random things in the past week. 

  • Anyone and everyone who's doing NaNoWriMo
  • The authors I heard speaking at the Texas Book Festival, all of them women
  • Rachael Herron's podcast/youtube, How Do You Write? which I've been listening to obsessively for the past week. I love the range of author's she interviews. 
  • A post It never gets easy. by Ilona Andrews (Gordon). Prompted by a question I asked at the last Austin RWA meeting.
    • "One question stood out, and it’s a question that comes up a lot.  Basically, Rules.  What are they, are there ones you never break, are there ones that you always break."
    • That was my question! And the answer was: It never gets easy.

All of them had one thing in common: Just keep going, keep doing it, keep moving forward, don't give up. Never give up.