NaNoWriMo 2019: My Auto Focus Has Broken

For a few days I’ve been struggling to write. The story is there, and in short bits it comes out easily on to the page. However, I don’t seem to be able to focus on writing for more than three minutes at a time.

It’s not writers block – I can write, just slowly and in small bits. The biggest problem is the frustration, I have things to write, just not the will power.

But its okay, instead of ramping up the challenge, which I nearly did by aiming for 200k by the end of the month (total word count),

So where as earlier in the month where I kept ramping up the challenge, I’m now ramping it down, I’m doing a couple of thousand or so words a day. It feels a bit better, and I’m filling my time to with building the Saturn V rocket Lego model, (I built the Moon Lander earlier in the month). I’ve also bought the Lego Y-Wing to go with my A-Wing, (my two favourite ship models from Star Wars).

So for those that marvelled at that early word count – I couldn’t keep it up.

As to why, I don’t know – could be burn out, could have done too much too quickly, but there are other factors out there, I don’t think I’m over the riot that happened on my street a few weeks ago, I’m also missing the structure of a normal work day, not sleeping to a proper schedule, I’ve slipped a few times into having caffeine after 4pm, (which has been a no-no for me for over a year now). And lastly I’ve had some medical issues to deal with, not just illnes that affected me earlier in the month, but also a couple of more chronic conditions I’ve been diagnosed with, which has imposed some lifestyle changes.

So, chill for a few days, I’ll ramp up for the last few days, finish my current story, and will do some plotting using my new Fabula deck, (review to come later).

Random Update on My Life

So, I’ve got some things to say on books and movies… been struggling for inspiration blog wise, and I don’t want to just have space fillers and time wasting posts just to maintain some level of frequency. Benefit of not trying to make money off of a blog with advertising and sponsorship’s, I’m not beholden to the stats. It’s just my place to put down thoughts, ideas and share things I’ve learnt along the way, when I feel like it, it’s my space no one else’s.

So I’m back again, there’s at least four posts I want to write, not including this one. This one is a general update, there’s a lot of stuff going on in my life, which eclipsed both writing and blogging for a little bit.

To be honest, not writing was a mistake, I could have probably done with the release, write some random stuff just to get things off my chest, or explore what it is I’m feeling.

I’ll stop burying the lead, I’m faced with a massive life change as I’m being made redundant from a company I’ve worked at for 12 years. It’s not a bad thing, I posted round about this time last year about the need to make a change in my life regarding work, but it actually happened is something else.

I’ve got a plan, it’s a pretty good plan, it will allow me to keep earning, and given time, effort and dedication, I can prosper. Not only that, if managed well I will have more spare time, so I can really focus on my writing journey. It’s change though, it’s a massive change – and obviously that’s scary.

What’s interesting is, incredibly frequently in stories the characters have to go through serious changes in their lives as part of the story, and even when it’s something you want or are ready for, I don’t think I’ve ever fully understand just how emotional that can be. In fact, I think it’s something a lot of writers don’t necessarily appreciate.

So, this is where I find myself now. Exciting, but scary times. I just wanted to say something about it.

There’ll be a few more posts in the next few weeks, but for now I’m going to enjoy the Leeds West Indian Carnival parade, it passes by my street. I’ll add a photo of it. It’s a great event, one of the best things about living where I am now.

Still struggling…

I’m still struggling with writers block. It’s spread from my ability to write fiction, to my ability to write poetry, and write here. It is having a decidedly melancholy affect. I’d hoped a bit of travelling might snap me out of it, but no such luck.

I think I need a crisis, I had a crisis this time last year, and coming out of that crisis I started writing again. However, the new improved me deals with problems a lot better, so few even get close to a minor crisis, never mind the life altering ones from last year.

I am now quite scared of NaNoWriMo looming over me, I’ve got the ideas, but without the ability to actually write, it’s fairly meaningless.

I could create a crisis, however that doesn’t fit with the new me that works hard not to get life in a state. I’ve gotten into pretty bad financial trouble this year (after years of owing no more than £400 at anyone time), however I’ve even dealt with that so that I’ll be debt free again in by this time next year, and am comfortable with that.

I could quit my job, which does have double benefits, it would be a major crisis, I wouldn’t be able to fix easily, and I would have time to write. However, I’d have nothing to write on, never mind anywhere to actually write – so possibly a level of crisis too far.

Likely, it’s still temporary, and that once November hits, I’ll be flying. I’m actually planning on doing something insane for NaNoWriMo (assuming I can find the ability to write again), and that is enter NaNoWriMo twice. That’s right, I’m aiming for the 100,000 words in a month bracket. I’ll be doing it with two different stories – however I personally feel that 100,000 in a month, on one story, that could retain 75% to 85% of it’s words after editing, might be worth pursuing. I was tempted to do it one story, however, I worry that I’ll balk under the challenge and settle for 50,000, I don’t want to settle. With two entries, settling is still a win and a failure, to have a true win, have to achieve both.

What I’ll aim to do, is get the first one complete in the first fortnight, and the second in the second fortnight, so I’m not having to switch between stories (which I can do, but might cause problems).

For now though, I’d settle for some good writing for the rest of September, and through October.

Another problem with writers block, it forces you to analyse every idea, as you seek the in roads to it, that will allow you to translate imagination to words on a page.

I just had a brilliant idea for a poem, for about a second, before I realised it’s a subject that’s been more than adequately covered in myth and legend.

There was tiny spider (but with long thin legs) in the bath, and it was stuck, but kept trying to get up the sides. It’d get so far, and then fall, but used it’s web to limit it’s fall, then tried again, then the web broke – so it started over, and nearly gets to the top, and then falls again.

Eventually, it drifts along the length of the path, trying to find a decent climb, and it makes it! I actually felt quite happy for it (even as I don’t have any like for spiders after being bitten by one, yuck). Then the damned thing, not satisfied with it’s monumental climb (they’re not after all known for escaping baths), then proceeded to climb a shampoo bottle. It must have realised it was disappointing when it get to the top, as it got back down again. Teetered on the edge of going back in the both, but instead choose to use the grouting to climb up to the ceiling instead.

It was amazing to watch. Unfortunately, it’s already a well observed phenomeon, kind of – Robert the Bruce famously is supposed to have seen a spider trying, and failing, then trying again, to get a web from one side of a cave to another, and it inspired him to try again and rebel against Edward. He still failed, but the moral is no less true.

As I said, it was amazing to watch – even more amazing, aside from this ickle spider, there was a much bigger spider (where the ickle one had legs no thicker than a hair, this had legs that were like 0.5mm – and a much bigger body and mandibles that were very visible (shudders). To be fair, I suspect they were the same breed, but probably the bigger one was considerably older (I believe a week might be descriptive enough of age in the life cycle of a spider – but I’m no arachnologist afterall), just sat there watching. I couldn’t decide if it was keeping the little spider as an emergency meal for later, or not. After the little spider escaped the bath, it turned and was facing the wall (it had been facing the length of the bath for the entire time little spider had been trying to escape), so I wonder if it was thinking, damn – if only I were smaller, and lighter, with legs that could find every tiny bump and gap to get me up – I could make it. Or maybe it was just cursing it’s luck, as the little spider succeeded, while it had sat and done bugger all.

Well there you go, like Robert the Bruce (allegedly), that little spider has inspired me too – because I’ve written a few words. Maybe I will write a poem about the two spiders… it’s a subject that may have been covered, (but then, lets face it what hasn’t?), but it was a pretty major thing for me.

I love moments like that, I once wrote down a few pages about a pigeon with a clubbed foot that I saw at the train station while travelling to work once. Still have it, might share that too. In fact, I think I might share inspirational animal stories everyday next week, I’m feeling well and truly inspired.

Thanks for reading, if you did 😉

JL Legend