DITL – NaNo Burnout

*DITL = Day In The Life. Also known as: Random thoughts on the writing life.

Near the end of this year’s NaNoWriMo, I had a terrifying realization: I need to change my story’s ending. 

I thought about winging it. It didn’t seem too daunting because I know a lot about my characters and the detailed big picture behind the story. But, the idea of winging it went out the window pretty quickly. Just shy of the climax, I had to slam on the breaks because one of my minor characters threw a wrench into things.

He’s a villain. 

Messing with my life is part of his job.

Basically, this guy is an old war hero. By old, I mean he’s in his late 800s. He’s about to tell someone off by listing his fantastical deeds on the glorious fields of battle, which meant I needed to have dates and locations for important battles throughout the last 800 years of history. The last millennium of history is full of major battles, so I also needed to know where this character would be and why. Which meant I needed to know more about this (pain in the butt) minor character.

My writing came to a grinding halt.

While I was as taking a break for research, I decided to do a little side reading so I could glean a few tidbits of wisdom before I rewrote the climax. Climaxes are kind of important.

So, I grabbed a book. It was awesome. I read it through in two days and – what have we here? – found a list of recommended books in the appendix! One thing lead to another, and I am currently reading book #4.

And it’s good.

I also cleaned up my writing files, printed off a bunch of helpful worksheets, and worked on detailed character profiles and scene charts. 

Am I procrastinating? 

Maybe.

I know what needs happen in the new climax, but I’m not ready to write it yet. There are still a few nuances and possible plot holes I need to work out first.

Thing is, NaNoWriMo was amazing, but I ended November feeling kind of burned out.

The recent break I’ve taken has been a much needed breath of air. I feel like the creative embers are starting to glow again. I don’t need a roaring flame, but I don’t want to craft a new climax in burnout mode.

I’ll get there.

I can feel it. I’m getting restless and the concepts banging around in my head are starting to reach a fever pitch. Pretty soon, I’ll have no choice but to throw some ink down and see how everything plays out on the page.

Surviving the Holidays as a Writer

I don’t know about you, but the holidays are a crazy time for us. We have 4 family birthdays between November and December, and our closest family members live an hour away. Lots of travel. Things get hectic. How do I survive all of that without losing my mind? Or my writing?

Here’s how I stay afloat when things get a little bonkers.
1. Prioritize
This is going to look different for everyone. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2016 Wrap Up

Recap: I did NaNoWriMo unofficially this year. Why not go official and get the cool certificate? Because rules. You can’t have any prose written before November 1st, and I’ve got a massive outline chock full of prose. So, I can’t be all officially official. Instead, I set a goal to write 50,000 words in November for the draft of my current work in progress.

And I’m so glad I did.

November is always a crazy month for my family. We have three birthdays, two of which require travel of 1-3 hours (one way). Plus, there’s Thanksgiving, which requires hours of travel and/or significant planning. This year also included the bonus of a ridiculous election cycle that had my Facebook feed blowing up non-stop with family and friends sounding off on just about everything.

I’m exhausted just writing that.

So why would I subject myself to an intense word count goal during the craziest month of the year? Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2016

**Just realized I never hit publish on the NaNoWriMo post I wrote at the beginning of the month! That’s what I get for blogging on the run. Better late than never, and I figured I should share this before I posted my NaNoWriMo wrap up. Spoiler alert: I did get to 50k!

November 3, 2016
Sorry I’m late! I do have a good excuse, though, since I’ve been busy cranking out 3000+ words a day. Crazy! Today, I’ve been busy driving around running errands, and it got me out of my book world enough that I finally remembered I’d forgotten to write a NaNoWriMo post. So…

Happy National Novel Writing Month!!

First, a confession: I’m not officially doing NaNoWriMo this year. I’m in the middle of writing a project that’s been in the making for years. Continue reading

I’m Back!

Cue dramatic entrance music! Stage lights! And… all that other stuff!

I’m sure none of the above is necessary, but I write my blog for the sake of writing my blog. So, dear blog, I’m sorry I abandoned you.

I’m back.

My twitter is tweeting silly things again.

My Facebook is… not doing much again.

But more importantly, I’m doing it all better. Continue reading

Murder your darlings.

Quite a jarring statement if you haven’t heard it before. Never fear: It’s a writing thing. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, a British journalist, critic, novelist, and professor gave the following advice:

Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it–wholeheartedly–and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.

When I first heard it, I thought it meant I was supposed to make my writing bland and generic. So I ignored the statement. Who wants bland writing? Continue reading

Humility. And Squid.

Writing can be an exercise in humility. When I first set out to write my current story, I was overwhelmed by ideas. The story haunted me for two years before I set anything down on paper. I had so many ideas crashing around in my head
that any attempts at writing an outline failed. I’d end up writing whole pages of dialogue and descriptive scenes.

Wow. Big problem for a writer, huh?

I know. I promise I’m not whining.

That comes later.

Where was I? Too many ideas. I decided my problem meant I needed to just write the thing down already. I ignored the advice given by so many authors, and I abandoned outlines in favor of writing unencumbered. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Continue reading