Confession… I Failed NaNoWriMo

Yes – all that preparation, all the practice and warm up, and it didn’t add up to a win. A lot of stuff going on personally and professionally, plus I’ll admit there were more frivolous distractions like Red Dead Redemption 2, (great game), also listening to the Lord of the Rings novels, (great story, but so horribly written).

I made it to 28,469 words, and at the point where I stopped, I was still ahead of target. It wasn’t that I’d fallen behind, and just couldn’t catch up, I just disengaged and couldn’t get restarted after that.

In fairness it didn’t start great, struggled to get going until day 3, but with a sudden change in plot I flew off.

So, next up I’ve got to start writing again. No good dwelling on it, this post is to put a line under it. Going forwards I’m going to put the failed novel on the back burner – it was promising for a while, but it needs a good rewrite to fix some problems and let it flow again.

So, have some ideas for stories I’m going to explore with some plotting, and maybe the odd short story will come from those as a beta test. Also there’s an old story idea I want to revisit, if I’d written at the time it would have been very forward thinking, still is – but instead of being predictive, now it’s more stretching reality to it’s limit. Really have to strike while the iron is hot with an idea.

Anyway… went away to do NaNoWriMo, and should have come back earlier – I didn’t, but I’m back now. Let the writing commence.

And lastly – a sentiment just saw online – fail better. That’s definitely the goal for the next project.

Daily Flash Fiction: The Early Conclusion

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

Genesis 1:31

And the writer saw everything he had written, and behold, he saw 14 grammatical errors, 27 spelling mistakes, 5 plot inconsistencies, and 3 unbelievable truths

Jonathan L. Lawrence, May 2013

 

Hands up if anyone noticed I’d not posted in a month? Well I noticed, and it was very annoying, because it means I’m really really quite far behind on my daily flash fic posting. So far behind that it’s gotten to a month and a half, (well 44 days to be precise). I’m never going to catch that up, because I don’t think I can commit to daily stories at the moment. It’s never been my style, I’m not a short story writer. Well despite 135 short stories to the contrary.

That said, I am really proud of some of them, yes they all need a lot of work – the challenge was not to edit and just keep posting, but there are some real gems in there.

And since I’m very fond of stats, I’ve had a look at some for this challenge:

105,168 words written (in story only)

796 average story length

Here’s some graphs, because I love a good graph. The first shows my words per day, and a moving average word count. It shows I was gradually getting shorter in length, which was a goal of the challenge, so that’s something positive to take away:

From Word Usage

The second is just for my interest really, I like seeing an accumulative word count. Of course with a limit of 1,000 words maximum, and for most of the challenge a minimum of 500 it was pretty much guaranteed to run a relatively straight line, but it’s nice to see all the same:

From Word Usage

Aside from getting bogged down in distractions, apathy, and writer’s block, I’ve enjoyed the challenge for the most part. And it’s succeeded in several ways, such as having the chance to try new things, practice things I’ve never been particularly good at, writing with a little more abandon. It’s also given me ample opportunity to see where my skills are weakest in the fundamentals, (spelling and grammar that I simply don’t get).

It’s also more words than I’ve written outside of NaNoWriMo since I started doing NaNoWriMo, and probably from before then too.

I’m not done though, although I won’t be trying to keep up with 365 short stories in a year, I am going to post the occasional short story – to keep my eye in for next year, to give me a break from other projects, and to simply test out an idea I’ve got bouncing round in my head.

In the meantime I’ve got two pretty big story ideas, neither of which will be saved for NaNo, I want to write them now. I’m in a planning phase at the moment with brain storms and notes scattered all around. I’ve decided which one I’m going to write first, though I’ve written a few lines, (the proverbial foothold in enemy territory of the plain white page), I’m mostly writing out the back story. It’s a fantasy piece and it requires a good backing mythos to really work.

I’ll get you next time, Gadget. Next time!

NaNoWriMo 2009 – The Conclusion

So NaNoWriMo 2009 has come and gone, with much heartache, sleepless nights, sore hands, etc, etc…

I have a confession to make – I didn’t finish. This year was not mine for the sweet smell of success. I peaked at 25,000 words (a quarter of my original target). To say I’m disappointed in myself would be an understatement – but equally, I’m not ashamed. Indeed, in many ways I’m quite happy, and proud of myself, during the final weekend, I finally learned to accept I can’t write all the time. I want to, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes there is no way round the fact that without will, inspiration is relegated to frustration.

I really really don’t like failing, but I could have pushed in that final weekend, and pushed, but I would never have hit even the modest target of 50,000, and even if I had. Instead I took a break, having accepted defeat, let go of the pressure – I felt wonderful. So immediately following my return home, I started writing again. Nice and smoothly, and without much effort. In fact I’ve had some late nights, because the writing has being going so well, and I wasn’t aware of the time.

I’m not finishing off my NaNoWriMo project for now, I’ve put it to one side, as my imagination is caught with  a sequel to my previous NaNoWriMo attempt (the one I won last year).

Just shows you, sometimes pressure helps, and other times it hinders – I think for me it’s the accumalative pressures I found myself under with family life, work, money, and writing, it made for some unsurmountable obstacles. Until I let go, and found away to enjoy myself away from the pressure.

NaNoWriMo 2009 – An Update 10/11/2009

Well we’re now into week 2 of NaNoWriMo, and I managed to resolve my problems that came about at the end of last week. I say temporarily, because despite introducing a brand spanking new character, to whom I switched to, so I could imply the extent of the problem with my protaginist, without gettimg bogged down in detail, (and the logic of how long healing should take), I still wrote in the troubles just later in the process.

Two thousand words dropped for nowt, and probably another thousand to erase the second mistake.

I do have a plan though, and it is a cunning plan, go back again and undo the difficulties, limit the protaginists psychological difficulties (which are what would take too long in the time wise to deal with), but keep the secondary character. Kind of a sidekick to help out my protaginist through the couple of days recovery he needs (I’ve also undone shooting him in the legs, and instead had the bullet nick his brachial artery).

This should mean my character is less on his own, and has more interaction, and I can up the humour a bit. I’d much rather my characters were funny people than the narrative, or situations. Gallows humour is good, especially in procedural crime writing.

So, recovery is in sight – but I do have some monster writing sessions between now and this Saturday. Which is fine, I don’t mind the pressure, it’s only when deadlines become tight that I really put my foot on the gas and blast those monster wordcounts out. I had hoped this year woukd be different – but events conspired against me.

Meeting up with other NaNoWriMo’ers helps – it’s where I found mysels thinking out the solution to my plot problems. It was a good meet up on Sunday, (7th November 2009), some new faces and old. It’s enough to make you believe writers are generally smart, talented, driven people, who are genuinely nice, friendly, and social – until you remember I was there ;), brutish talentless oaf that I am.

The only way to hit 100,000 is going to be by being diligent, and erm… Deadlining with an all nighter on Friday – yes my bad, but we each have our ways of writing afterall.