What’s your writing style

Do you know how you write the best?  I know for the longest time I didn’t.  I do now, of course, but there are some people who still haven’t figured it out.  Here are some things to think of.

Do you think about writing almost every day but rarely do it?  Well if that is the case you are probably like me where you need a deadline to actually write.  There is nothing wrong with that as far as I’m concerned.  You work well under pressure.  It’s the main reason I like NaNoWriMo so much.  I HAVE to complete my novel in those 30 days no matter what!

On one hand I like only doing that once per year because it’s stressful and takes away from basically everything else in my life.  On the other I don’t write much else the rest of the year, which is kind of bad.  For those who want to really go at it they now offer CampNaNoWriMo during the summer; either June 1-30 or August 1-31 (ooh look one more day in August).  So for those who work well under pressure, doing all three of these writing months might be just the ticket.

There are also those who need a quiet morning, a noisy afternoon, or the dead of night to get something out.  I know one guy who prefers Sunday mornings because he is focused and the writing tends to flow.  I envy that but I also know I can’t do that (I’m one of those who has to have music and it doesn’t have to be any specific kind of music either).

So I ask again, do you know how you write best?  Let me know in the comments.

Waiting to Edit

With almost a full month of NaNoWriMo being completed the looming job of editing is staring me in the face.  I am actually not ready to edit this year’s novel as I am still working on 2010’s so I can let the 2011 simmer in my head a bit longer but the knowledge that I will have to at some point is still there.  And that thought frightens me some.

The biggest problem is that I am too close to the work (then again what author isn’t?).  In 2010 when I finished on November 30th I decided to wait until at least the beginning of February.  I was burnt out on anything relating to my own work during December (not to mention how the holidays take up so much time) and I didn’t think January would be enough time with it out of my sight to work on.  Unfortunately February came and I still couldn’t edit it, I was STILL too close to the characters, setting, story.  So I waited a few more months and tried again, same problem.

In June I was able to pick up my red pen and begin to edit the novel.  Unfortunately it wasn’t the great job I had hoped it would be.  I tried doing a little at a time with limited success.  I even gave a copy to a friend of mine who I knew would rip it to pieces.  Unfortunately she never got around to it and now has decided she won’t do it for me, she thinks I will be highly upset with her for ripping it apart when that is exactly what I am looking for.

August was when I finally got smart and began to edit the novel backwards.  While I have heard of doing this, I didn’t think doing it for a first edit would be a good job.  However I am making progress, of a sort.  I have discovered some inconsistencies I don’t think I otherwise would have going forwards.  You definitely get a different perspective by reading the last chapter to the first.

I stopped editing during November so I was no influenced by my own writing during the second novel.  And much like last December, I have not had much time to edit again, plus I wanted a break from my own story.  Come January I will be at it hard and heavy again.  I do have to say that waiting to edit is probably a good idea.  Hopefully for you, it won’t take eight months to accomplish something useful.

Time to Write

I spoke about this somewhat in my last post but burnout really is a problem in December for me.  The month is half over and I still have no desire to write.  I feel I have recouped enough from November that I could if I sat down but with the holidays quickly arriving, I find I have less time.

Like everyone these days there is much I want to accomplish during this final month of the year but also much more which demands my attention that has nothing to do with writing and editing.  A house to decorate, a party to plan (we host one every year), other parties to attend, the actual holiday where I have to split my time between families, the upcoming New Year (along with the party we attend), shopping for people, wrapping presents; along with the general housework and my full time job.  There is also the need for downtime.

Sometimes I feel that December pulls me even thinner than November does.  Sure there is a holiday in November but I am fortunate that I don’t have to cook for it, for now anyhow.  Some days I don’t think I will accomplish all I set out to do, and some of those days I actually don’t.

So finding time to write can be hard.  Even when I have downtime I don’t want to think about writing, I want to relax.  Writing is a passion but it is also work, especially when you are creating your own world.  I probably should do what I do in November but on a much lower scale.  Make the time to write a few days a week no matter what.  I just really don’t feel it would be possible with everything else going on.  I do, however, need to find the time to write.

Welcome to NaNoWriMo

So you have never heard of NaNoWriMo?  You know what, that’s ok.  I have known what it is for at least ten years and still hear people ask what it stands for.  There are many who when they hear what the acronym means know it, they have just never hear the actual “title” before.  Well it stands for Nation Novel Writing Month. 

Held every November people across the nation (and I think across the world) attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in only 30 days.  While this sounds impossible it really boils down to writing 1667 words per day, every day of the month.  (This actually puts you 10 words over the minimum but hey what is 10 extra words when you are going for 50K?). 

However it actually isn’t as simple as writing 1667 words every day.  Why?  Because life happens and there are days when writing is impossible, other commitments take precedence.  So how do you make it to the 50K mark?  You schedule writing time, figure out the day you KNOW you won’t be writing (like Thanksgiving and Black Friday), add a couple extra days just in case and with the total you have left over, divide that by 50,000 to see how many words you need to write each writing day to finish on time.

This is the third year I have attempted NaNoWriMo.  Last year I did finish a novel.  This year I am well on my way to doing so again.  The first time however I flopped, big time.  What made that attempt worse was I had a 15,000 word novel started that I was trying to finish.  I couldn’t commit myself to the intense writing and thus it did not get done (in fact that novel was until recently still in the works 15 years later at 30,000 plus words.  It has now been put in the “not to be used” pile.  Don’t get me wrong, the stuff in it will be used, just not as the individual novel it initially was intended to be).

Many people know this month by what it used to be called; simply NaNo.  It stood for the same thing back then but I’m sure Apple or the organizers who run the NaNoWriMo site did not want a lawsuit so the name was changed.  Oh you did not realize there was a site for this month of insanity?  Yup (www.nanowrimo.org).  They have all kinds of forums for help, you can become buddies with people to keep track of each other’s progress (and encourage), or just keep track of yourself.  You update your word count daily (or as often as you want).  There is a stats page which will show how many words you have written that day, your overall total, how you rate with the 1667 words-per-day amount they offer to finish, your average words per day, where you will finish if you keep up the current writing pace (this can be bad or good), and some other things.  For someone like me, it helps push me where I need to be pushed.

NaNoWriMo is actually not for everyone.  I say this because everyone has different writing styles and some people just don’t do well with writing now and editing later.  That’s ok.  It is nice to do it though because after that month of writing like crazy, you can say you have written a novel (or two or five depending on how many years you keep at it).  And while the idea is to write a complete 50,000 word novel in that single month, there are people who take previous started work and finish it.  While this is considered “cheating” the discipline needed tends to be stronger when you have a network to keep you motivated.

So welcome to the insanity (although we are almost a third of the way in) that is NaNoWriMo.