Monday November 6

Diary entry, just an update on life, things, whatnot.

November 6

The view from my office today around 4pm

This morning the sun came up at 8:57am and it set at 4:11pm. The high was in the low twenties while the low is in the single digits.

So NaNoWriMo started. I didn’t get the surge of creativity on November first like I’d hoped. I managed to write a few hundred words, and immediately got a monster headache.

Haven’t touched it since.

Like so many things, I like the idea of having written, but not so much the actual work of writing. I haven’t been able to have fun writing in a long time. I was hoping that NaNoWriMo and my crafty composition notebooks would at least make me want to write, but I honestly haven’t wanted to write in a long time.

Probably I picked the wrong story for NaNoWriMo. And probably I should have just tried typing instead of writing longhand. And I probably should have remembered the lesson from last year–if a thing is supposed to be fun, but there’s a time limit and/or daily goal, I’m not going to do it.

I know I could write 50k words in 30 days. But trying to write 50k in 30 days brings out my stubborn, toddler brain that only knows how to say NOPE.

Preptober 2017

nanowrimo crest

National Novel Writing Month starts November 1, tomorrow. If you too are attempting to write 50,000+ words in the month of November, feel free to add me as a writing buddy. My username is kristykristymckinnon. Last year was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, and I did not win. May as well try again, right?

This year I’m going to be writing a brand new novel. If I had to pigeon-hole it into a category I’d call it a supernatural mystery. Basically my heroine hears things and accidentally figures out that she’s hearing other people’s thoughts. One night she hears someone plotting a murder, and later sees a story on the news about a famous person who supposedly committed suicide via the same method as the murder plot she overheard. Did I mention that my heroine is a tired, divorced grocery store clerk? Cue the moral struggle/sleuthing theme music!

That’s a thing, right?

Because my job requires me to sit and stare at a computer screen all day, I have a hard time making myself sit and stare at my personal computer after work. In an effort to give myself every opportunity to win NaNoWriMo, I decided to handwrite my novel this year. This way it will be portable, I’ll get to practice my handwriting, I won’t be tempted to rewrite the same sentence over and over, and I have an excuse to buy new pens and notebooks!

So I picked up a few cheap composition notebooks. I tore the shiny paper off the covers to expose the brown paper. This makes it easier to use glue. Using double stick tape and glue, I attached thick cardboard to the covers to make them into hardcover notebooks since I’ll likely do most of my writing sitting on the couch. In hindsight, I should have just spent a few extra bucks to buy hardcover composition notebooks. Oh well, live and learn.

Attached cardboard

I attached a piece wide elastic to the back cover of each to make a pen loop. Then I wrapped the notebooks in sherpa. My thinking was that it would make the books soft to the touch, which would make me want to hold them. But I’m probably going to regret this decision. The sherpa is shedding worse than my kitties, and now my kitties think the notebooks are cat toys.

Finished

Finally, I glued some pretty paper into the front and back for a flyleaf.

Flyleaf

Flyleaf with penloop

See the pen loop?

Almost all of the supplies came from Michaels, and the rest was just stuff I had in my stash.

Acquiring the materials was the fun part. Now comes the work.

I have a general idea of the plot, but I haven’t done any real planning or developing of my story. I want to have the entire story fleshed out and divided into thirty parts before I start so that I’ll know exactly what I need to write each day. Alas, I have been procrastinating.

Writing should be fun, especially the plotting stuff. There aren’t any rules. You get to make up and choose everything. If you don’t like the way something turns out, you can change it to whatever you want.

But to date I’ve had more fun daydreaming about potential cover art and my old abandoned scifi novel. Drat.

But I did make this:

Word count countdown

See? Every time I cross a word threshold I get to color in a box! Hooray for visual goals!

I don’t have to work tomorrow, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that in the morning I’ll feel a surge of creativity, finish drafting the outline, and still hit my 1,667+ word goal. It could happen.

Just Another Drop in the Ocean

Lately I’ve been spending my life watching YouTube.

On YouTube, you get a nugget of information (taken with a grain of salt), a giggle, a cringe, and then suddenly it’s three hours past your bedtime. There’s something compulsive about watching just one more five minute video. Not a ten minute video. Ho no! Ain’t nobody got time for that. But a dozen five minute videos?  Sure, why not?

So it’s no surprise that as my creative bug starts to wake back up, my gut instinct has been to start filming content for my little YouTube channel. A vlog, maybe, or I could talk all about bullet journaling, or writing, or maybe just make hundreds of cat videos. Better yet, I could do it all! Unboxing, product testing, pranks!

I went so far as to buy a little tripod for the old digital camera and started brainstorming script ideas. And then I procrastinated by watching more YouTube videos.

procrastinate

Recently I found out that something like 300 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day.

Yeah, I have zero interest in producing YouTube videos now.

It’s the same with my writing. How many millions of books are available to read on Amazon? How many magazines and blogs are desperate to get a single reader? The competition is fierce, and I’m just not competitive.

Anything I do creatively, I have to do for myself first. If I wanted recognition of any kind, I would have to change the way I do everything. And then I would be beholden to strangers for their attention and approval. It would be like reliving high school, and I am not doing that.

I have to ask myself, why bother? Why spend the time and energy to create a thing if I truly do not care whether or not others will enjoy it, especially when it means that my video/novel will just be another drop in the ocean?

Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 8.51.11 PM

We recently moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. One of the few remaining open Blockbuster Video stores is here, and I love it. We usually visit once a week. Yeah, returning the discs stinks and yes, they don’t have everything. But there’s something to be said for wandering through the aisles and picking out something to watch.

Netflix and Amazon online video services are great, but there is no real browsing to be done. They use algorithms to point out content that you’re likely to enjoy, and sometimes they’re right. But what about the genres I don’t normally watch? What about that amazing movie that was released before I was born and isn’t even available digitally yet? And who wants to spend hours surfing through thumbnails of “related” titles when you really want to watch something new and different?

It’s like book stores. Sure there’s a big selection, but it’s strictly curated by the business owner. They want you to spend your money, and they fill the shelf with things they think you want to buy. We actually canceled our Netflix subscription. Having DVDs shipped to our house in Fairbanks was prohibitively time consuming, and their instant view portal is obnoxious (via the Playstation anyway). I would much rather wander through Blockbuster.

This is why I hope Blockbuster makes a comeback and used book stores never go away. Variety is the spice of life, right? But the algorithm depends on your tastes being consistent. I said it before and I’ll say it again:

angtft

 

P.S. After re-reading this, I realize that if my point is “why bother?” in addition to “variety is the spice of life,” then wouldn’t that mean that my creative offerings are “spice” and not just another drop? *shrugs* The ocean is already pretty polluted.

About NaNoWriMo…

If I have to do something, I don’t want to do it. Doesn’t matter if it’s something I usually enjoy doing or if it’s a chore. Deadlines are a heavy weight that keep me camped on the couch doing anything but the thing I should be doing.

And so it’s day 17, and I’m still at 5,537 words. Only 44,463 words to go!

Technically reaching that 50,000 word goal is still doable, but I would make myself sick, miserable, and grouchy if I vomit-typed that many words in that short of time.

I’m still working on the story. My little notebook (with a fancy new spiral spine thanks to Office Depot [never buying a glue-bound notebook again]) is all decked out with backstories and character sketches and ideas.

nanowrimo-bolt

My daily total tracker. I planned to use red if I was below goal, and green when I exceeded the goal. The green colored pencil has become dusty. (Check out my new Bolt G2 pen from Karas Kustoms! Just got it today and I’m in love. Maybe if I was hand writing my book I’d be more willing to bust out those 40k+ words in a week and a half…)

But the next few months are going to be pretty dang stressful for me and I need to give myself plenty of downtime to do whatever will relax my brain.

So, NaNoWriMo, maybe next year. xox

Another NaNoWriMo Update

If you want to write 50,000 words in 30 days, you divide 50k by 30 and get 1,667 words written each day. And if you’re hitting the 1,667 daily goal, by day nine (today) you should have 15,003 words.

I’ve been sitting at 3,473 words for a couple of days now.

I could list many excuses as to why I’m not keeping up with my writing, but suffice to say, life happens. Writing is a great distraction, but lately my brain seems to prefer being distracted by reading, knitting, and drawing mandalas.

But don’t count me out just yet. The goal is still achievable. I just need to rally.

Buffering…

Quick NaNoWriMo Update

Day 3 of NaNoWriMo, and my word count is where it should have been yesterday morning.

Drat.

I didn’t plan well enough. I have a very basic outline: A to B to C, etc. I’m trying to segue into B right now, but I’ve written myself into a corner.

Should I tell the story from multiple points of view?

Or should I stay focused on my heroine and hope for the best?

The problem is, she’s basically a bystander that gets thrown into the story. But to set the story up will take more than she could possibly know during A. So, do I keep the reader in the dark and hope they don’t get bored, or do I make her a Mary Sue who can figure out what’s going on and/or magically get all of the players to confide in her? Or do I need to simply bounce around to different characters, major and minor, to paint the bigger picture?

Yep. Need more planning.

mandala

Spacing out while drawing a mandala is my favorite way to plot. If you’re interested, I use this circular graphing paper and these pens. Happy plotting and writing, folks!

NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, happens every November. The challenge is to start a novel on November 1 and write 50,000 words by November 30. There’s a website with a supportive community, forums, locally hosted write-in events, and swag to buy. If you hit the target, you’re considered a winner and for that you get bragging rights.

Ever since I heard about NaNoWriMo, I’ve made annual excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly participate. This year was shaping up to be no different.

Excuse #1: I need to finish editing that book I already wrote.

Excuse #2: I need to spend my free time preparing for the pending move.

Excuse #3: I…need to…um…

But the fact is, I haven’t touched my old book in months, and there’s not much more I can do to prepare for the move short of packing all the things, but since the move is still a few months away there’s only so much packing I can do. And honestly, I could use the distraction.

So I grabbed my trusty notebook full of book ideas and picked my favorite.

book-ideas

Any time I have an epiphany or an idea for a story, I jot it down in this notebook. I love this little book even though it’s pretty darn impractical. It has stone paper, which means it’s made of limestone and resin. It feels incredible and is virtually impossible to tear. But it’s also nearly impossible to write on. Fountain pen ink puddles on the surface. It will dry eventually, but the one and only time I used my fountain pen in this book I had to leave it open overnight to dry. Ballpoint pens don’t like to work on it either, and they etch the letters into the paper in addition to ink. Fortunately I also love felt tip pens, and they work on this paper no problem.

Idea chosen, I started to prepare. That meant picking out a blank notebook (my favorite part).

nanowrimo-notebook

This is one of those Denik notebooks. They have a lot of fun covers and a portion of the profits goes to schools. Unfortunately the binding is pretty awful. It won’t lay flat, and it will barely stay open. I have to use an alligator clip to keep it open to the page I want.

Anyway, I rewrote my initial idea on the front page. Then I made a list of characters and named them. My book takes place on a cruise ship, a submarine, and an island, so I gave each location a page and did some research on each so I would have some idea of what I’m talking about. And then I came up with a rough outline for the story.

I added a brainstorming page, for all those times when I get ideas for the story and need somewhere to jot them down. I have a page filled with questions that will need answered. And I’ve started some character sketches.

I numbered 30 pages with the intention of putting 1/30th of the outline on each page. I thought that way I would have a set number of scenes to write each day. But then I remembered that sometimes I get into a rhythm and will write for hours. If I got “ahead” on my outline, my procrastinating brain would take that as an excuse to take a few days off. Don’t want that! Instead I’ll use those pages to summarize each day what parts of the story I wrote. Then I can refer to it the next day rather than rereading what I wrote which would lead to compulsive editing.

nanowrimo-tracker

I plugged this graph into my bullet journal so I can keep track of how I’m doing word-count wise. To hit 50,000 words, you should average 1,667 words per day. But I’m not going to cling too closely to that. If I hit 1,667 and still feel like writing, I’m going to keep writing. Fifty-thousand words doesn’t make for a very long book, and I want to actually finish the story by the end of the month. I want to prove to myself that I can write a book quickly.

My last book (which I’ll talk about in a different post) took me three years to write just the rough draft. I’ve now been in editing mode for more than a year. That’s pretty discouraging. If I can crank out this rough draft in thirty days, I might start to feel like a writer again.