30 Days of NaNoWriMo: Day 7

Day 7:  The unfortunate truth from today’s calendar…

Nobody said it had to be good, now write…

  • Target for the day, get to 11667 words
  • Current word count 5824 words

While that particular truth may seem disheartening my advice is don’t worry about it, no one will have a finished novel on November 30th. Even the ‘winners’ of NaNoWriMo will have no more than 50000 words down. A lucky few may have gone beyond that and written sixty or seventy thousand. At the very most what any ‘winner’ will have is a complete first draft, and first drafts are as a rule a bit on the crap side. Heres a helpful quote on the subject to put it in perspective, from the delightful Shannon Hale…

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There are exceptions to this rule. I have a friend who writes a single draft, then sends it to her editor, but she writes maybe 300 words a day, 500 on a good one, and tries to perfect every word along the way, as a full-time author she spends a long time on these few words a day. I am sure she wouldn’t write a first draft in thirty days. A year perhaps…

So no, nobody said it had to be good, just that it has to be written. Remember that.

My first published novel (as I may have mentioned previously) started out as a NaNoWriMo. Believe me, no one, including me, ever wants to read that first draft. I sure as hell don’t want to after three redrafts and many months of work turned the bare bones, hacked out story, into the novel I wanted to publish. ‘Cider Lane’ became the novel it is after a lot of hard work. But don’t dismiss for one moment the NaNoWriMo version of the novel. That still forms a good 70% of the final text, and the novel that it became would never have happened had it not been for the NaNoWriMo novel it started out as. So don’t worry about it being good, and write…

But let’s put that to one side, because sometimes this blog writes itself for the day, and last night it did just that, due to bloody annoying technical difficulties. Between my lunch hour and a small amount of downtime at work waiting for a conference call to start I hacked out a good 500 words yesterday afternoon. (Hurray, put the flags out, words on the page…) Then before I left work I hit save to send the document back up to my One Drive and all was good. I had a fine start on the days writing and once I got home, ate and did a few jobs about the house I could carry on…

Typically an error happened when I threw the file up to the cloud and when I tried to open it at home I got the version from last night and 500 words were not there. The joys of writing on multiple devices and expecting the tech to do its job right…

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So rather than just write I spent an hour trying to move a file from my work laptop to my desktop. Which as it would not just do it over the internet consisted of me scrounging around the house for a USB drive. Which despite being certain I have lots of them, I couldn’t find. Then I reset the laptop and tried to get One-Drive working properly again, changed file names, messed about with file types until I finally managed to get it to move the file properly in word via a VPN once I got it up and working through San Fransisco from my laptop to my pc which was sat next to it my front room in Teeside.

This was not the kind of procrastination I was looking for, I needed coffee at this point and realised to my utter horror I was out of milk… Some days just want to kick you in the &%&**^%(*%, so a trip to the shop was in order, for as everyone knows…

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One needs one’s caffeine….

But anyway, finally I got to work on the story again and made some inroads into the word count deficit. I can’t help feeling I would have made more if I hadn’t had the issues with the cloud drive. The lesson here is, save often, save properly, and if your gonna use the cloud make sure the cloud behaves itself…  And don’t forget the milk…

 

Adios for now.

Mark

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30 Days of NaNoWriMo: Day 6

Day 6:  Nothing desperate about the calendars advice today…

When in doubt, add a flying monkey…

  • Target for the day, get to 10000 words
  • Current word count 4127 words

So yes I am still some way behind after the fun and frolics of the weekend but with that distraction out of the way I can get down to some serious writing. I just need to remember the advice of Hemingway and bleed a little…

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The trouble with distractions though is there are still plenty of them about, here’s a list in no particular order of the distractions…

  • The next episode of Star Trek Discovery due tonight
  • Learning to play the F chord with a smooth swap form a D on my guitar
  • The whole of season two of Stranger Things
  • Twitter
  • Clearing out Nuka World on Fallout 4 on my PS4 (a current obsession that has been eating my time despite really wanting to turn it off and write…)
  • Blog posts to write ( not just these but I really need to do the next Lovecraftian instalment.)
  • Sleep
  • 2000 AD to read ( about three weeks behind with these.)
  • Two whole seasons of The Walking Dead on my to watch list
  • Facebook
  • Car Insurance to sort out
  • On Call week at work
  • The new Philip Pullman to read
  • Matter, the I M Banks novel to read
  • Multiple DVD season sets I still have to get round to watching, Arrow season 4, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl season 2.

 

Anything but writing in fact and some of those things are actually important… And of course, you have to feel like writing… Except you don’t, To borrow from Anne Tyler.

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Self-discipline is important, and when I find some I will let you know the secret, but my current target is 2000 words a day, every day this week, and to start them before I do anything else on the list. Because to borrow from Philip Pullman, whose new novel will just have to sit on the shelf for a while longer waiting to be read…

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So, this that said I will glue my backside to my desk tonight when I get in from work, put on some music, and write… No, Honestly I will… Really, no distractions just write. Just getting words on the page. Self-disciplined me .. typing away.

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I may just have an hour on Fallout4 first is all…

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Adios for now.

Mark

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30 Days of NaNoWriMo: Day 5

Day 5:  And today the calendar offers this gem of wisdom… (yes I ain’t sure what it means either, just go with it, 5 days in the brain gets a little odd sometimes…)

The plot bunnies are coming, write for your life…

  • Target for the day, get to 8333 words
  • Current word count 3589 words

So if you’re following this little wander alongside my NaNoWriMo journey, you will probably notice that word count has barely moved. Yes for all my advice yesterday on how to deal with the weekend, I failed utterly to follow any of my own advice… So nothing new there (says anyone who has read any of my writing/self-publishing guide posts over the last year or so, chock full as they are of advice based on my own mistakes.)   Added to this, if your really paying attention you’ll notice this post is late because I normally post these about noonish in the UK. Which is because after a long day of not writing yesterday, and an evening catching up with Lucifer with my girlfriend on the sofa, we drove out to see a wonder of nature in the dales at High Force Waterfall…

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A fracture point where a seam of volcanic rock slips between a layer of sandstone and Limestone, has caused over several hundred thousand years to create this wonder, ain’t nature grand…  The Wifi service is shocking however and there is nowhere to plug in your laptop. Unlike where these update posts have mostly been written, at work in my lunch hour…

So, as a result, I am over 3000 words short of where I should have been yesterday before I even start typing tonight, let alone the 1300 words needed for today. I have however had a good weekend, spent time with my significant other, caught up with the prince of hell’s odd little adventures in LA and seen a really great waterfall, oh and on the way to it passed a mating pair of alpacas, which was odd to see in the Yorkshire Dales. So writing wise it has been a bust, and writing this post is not helping me much getting back on track… So rather than an inspirational quote, today it’s just a painfully honest sign to make and put on the door of your personal writing cave if your NaNoWriMo weekend has gone anything like mine…

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And, one bit of sages advice if you are as far behind as me, I have been further behind and still got across the finish line in the past, and sometimes, no matter what the cynic’s say, its the taking part that matters most…

Good luck to everyone, off now to try and get some serious catching up done with the rest of my evening and hopefully cut into that word court at last.

 

Adios for now.

Mark

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30 Days of NaNoWriMo: Day 4

Day 4:  And the calendars reflected of the wisdom of the crowd for today is

You’re not stealing Facebook statuses you’re paying homage

  • Target for the day, get to 6667 words
  • Current word count 3432 words

Its the weekend, the time of rest, recuperation, and juggling the hell out of your social life trying to get some words down in a desperate desire not to fall further behind… All the while hoping you’re not going to get called out to work as it’s your on-call weekend…

Okay maybe that last bit is just me, but the weekend experience is one most NaNoWriMo writers hit at some point, and generally if you’re doing this for the first time it comes as a bit of a shock. It’s the weekend, you probably don’t have work, surely its easier to find time to write, right? For some perhaps, this is even true but I suspect a lot of us hit the ‘first-weekend wall’ and suddenly it gets a whole lot harder to find even a couple of hours to hammer out words on the computer.

This is one of the reasons I like to try and get ahead, banking a few hundred words at least to avoid falling behind on a weekend. Loved ones want your time, and are a lot less understanding of that mad hobby of yours, because it doesn’t matter how you think of all this, to them its a hobby… You can just take the advice of William Goldman…

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But be prepared for the kickback from friends and family on that one, and if you’re not spending time doing what you would normally do on a weekend you might have to… There are however other ways. Get your backside out of bed early and write for a couple of hours on a morning. Steal a couple of hours at the end of the day. Or, and I do not recommend this… sleeping tablets and a hot chocolate for your partner around seven o’clock… Or just keep the document open on your computer and find ten minutes here, and a half hour there. All the while doing your best to make time for those you should be, and with luck, they will make time for you to write in return…

Or just get yourself ahead through the week and have a few words in the bank… Which is always my prefered plan (Damn you Goldfrapp…)

In case you haven’t worked it out I am still behind, and Facebook doesn’t have a single status worth stealing… Grrr…

 

Anyway, a happy weekend to everyone, and hopefully you’re all further down the road than I and can take a bit of downtime to keep those sails in the wind…

Adios for now.

Mark

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30 Days of NaNoWriMo: Day 3

Day 3:  and today’s cheerleading comment in the calendar

Sack your inner editor today

  • Target for the day, get to 5000 words
  • Current word count 2219 words

So, on the plus side after the Goldfrapp incident, I have been able to catch up a little. Unfortunately, nowhere near enough as I am still over a thousand words behind, as I didn’t hit the daily total again. Partly this was down to a rush job at work causing me to stay behind an extra couple of hours, but mainly it was down to something else entirely.  Ironically, given what the calendar told me this morning, this was because I did not ‘sack my inner editor‘ and what should have been a quick read over of what I wrote on day 1 turned into a long editing session while I tried to make it make sense…

This is not to say day 1’s output did not make sense in the first place, just that I got myself lost in editing mode. I should know better… So the advice of the day is apt if nothing else.

In my pitiful defence, I have been in editing mode for a couple of months with ‘A Spider in The Eye...’ and forcing myself into first draft mode is proving difficult. First drafts are a different skill set and a wild indulgent ride when it works well, akin to throwing your sails to the wind and letting the current and the salty air take you where they will. First drafts are uncharted territories, and if you start taking soundings you may avoid the rocks but it doesn’t half slow the progress…

So at this point, I think we need to take solace in the words of Ben Arment’s pointed response to Hemmingway’s… “The first draft of everything is shit…’

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Stop editing yourself into the ground and write… As I need to tell myself when I sit down to get some words on the page today. Don’t worry about the quality, that’s what editing is for… Or as Nanowrimo like to call it, December…

 

As ever good luck to all of those on this journey, and keep those sails to the wind…

Adios for now.

Mark

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30 Days of NaNoWriMo: Day 2

Day 2.  on my NaNoWriMo calendar this year…

What were we thinking?

  • Target for the day, get to 3333 words
  • Current word count 879 words

One day down, twenty-nine to go, and in my personal journey I am already behind. This is not the way it is supposed to go, the first day (for me at least) is generally the easiest of the lot, and a wave of enthusiasm takes me past the first wordcount and banks a few hundred words for less enthusiastic days… yet I did not even get myself past a thousand…

In my feeble defence, however, I expected this to happen because…

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The best-laid Nanowrimo plans of mice and men mean nothing when their girlfriend is a Goldfrapp fan and you have tickets for a gig on the 1st of November…

So I am behind, I am probably not the only one, and ‘The Goldfrapp Problem…‘ is not a unique experience, unlike a Goldfrapp concert which definitely is…  But, as I reminded myself this morning, ‘I do not live to write, I write to live…’ which no writer ever said, but you would have thought one of them would have done so. Typically even the search for helpful quotes has let me down this morning… However, for everyone out there trying Nanowrimo for the first time, it is important to remember that life should not stop just because you’re trying to hit the magic 50000. Every writer writes from experience to one degree or another. Even if you’re writing about a zombie lawyer and his bestial partner trying to track down ‘The Elf-Kings Thingy...’ You still draw from real life. So it’s important to go out and experience it… Even in November writing month…

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So if you did miss your first-day target like me because of something beyond your control (or just going to a gig with your girlfriend.) take heart with the wisdom of Douglas…

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That whooshing sound, that was life, and you have to remember to live it… And there is always time to catch up tomorrow…

As before good luck to all of those on this journey…and adios for now ( I still have my own writing to do and an extra 500 words or so to catch up on…)

Mark

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30 Days of NaNoWriMo: Day 1

Day 1. on my NaNoWriMo calendar this year…

‘Say goodbye to your sanity’

Target for the day, get to 1667 words

Time to get going, dig out the notes you made if you’re a plotter. If your more a fly by the seat of yer pants just start typing… If you’re a night owl like me, you could have waited while the stroke of midnight on the 31st. Ate the last of the Halloween candy, and rode the sugar high into the wee hours typing away…

I know some people struggle with the first day.  Struggle with that first line… The first word… That inescapable desire to procrastinate just a few moments longer… The write a blog post rather than start writing the NaNoWriMo novel just to put it off a little longer… But with luck, you will just leap in there, besides, do you really expect anyone to believe you have not written that first line in your head a few dozen times already. The first day is hard, but also should be easy. After all, you have the bare bones at the very least of what you are going to write, your working titles been on the board for a few days at least. You’re scared, even if you’re not going to admit it, even to yourself, your a little scared… But take solace in the words of the great sage…

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So revel in that little bit of fear in the pit of your stomach, your on a journey and the first steps are ahead of you. Take a breath, fetch a coffee form the kitchen, put on some music, block out the world for a moment, close your eyes and breath… Just breath… Then remember the words of L’Amour…

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Take one last deep breath and type…

 

So good luck to all of those on this journey…and adios for now ( I have my own writing to do…)

Mark

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