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national novel writing month

No NaNoWriMo This Year: Working on A Different Sort of Writing Project

writing-project

Remember how last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote about my experience? Well, I’ve decided to change things up this year.

I’m not going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Instead, I’m going to be working on a different sort of writing project. Something I’ve been meaning/wanting to work on for some time now, but have kept putting it off time and time again.

There’s this story I’ve been working on since I was in 7th grade. I’ve had this story stuck in my head repeatedly, picturing how it’ll all turn out and what it’ll look like completed. I’ve made various drafts of the first couple chapters, both handwritten and typed trying to decide how to continue moving it forward.

The problem is I’ve always gotten stuck at some point with it. I just couldn’t find the right words to continue the story, couldn’t decide what I wanted to happen to my characters next. So I’d stop, telling myself I’d continue with it on a later day. But I’d end up not going back to it at all despite its continued presence in my mind.

This is the story I want to write instead of participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I want to write this story because I feel like its calling to me. It passes through my mind on a daily basis, asking to be written.

So I want to take up the grueling, difficult task of completing this story. I don’t know yet how long this’ll take me to finish. But it’s something I want to do because I hope to one day have it published. I want to be an author one of these days and I think this story could possibly be my way down that path.

Unlike with my story The Swan & the Crow, however, I won’t be publishing any of this story on my blog for you to read. I don’t want to do that because I don’t want the story itself online before I can get it published.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t hear anything about it from me as I continue working on it. I’ll try the best I can to continuously update you all on how it’s going, and whenever I finally finish it, I’ll be letting you know that too.

Right now, I can also tell you what it’s about in the hopes you’ll be interested in reading it if I’m able to get it published. I’m still working on a few kinks with the title and all so my synopsis will be pretty brief.

When Derek, a young high school boy goes to get his younger sister a birthday present, he gets more than what he bargained for. When he notices a mysterious necklace that not even the store owners were aware they had, he’s curious about it and buys it to wear later. Once he puts the necklace on, however, Derek begins to transform into a being he only thought existed in fairy tales. Having to adapt to the transformation, Derek makes friends with an unlikely ally who helps him adjust to the changes in his body just in time for them to have to work together to defeat an unexpected enemy.

I hope this story sounds like something you’d read and I can’t wait to continue working on it to see where it’ll take me.  

My NaNoWriMo 2015 Experience

As the month of November comes to a winding close, I want nothing more than to talk about my experience with National Novel Writing Month this year.

While 2015 isn’t the first year I attempted to write a 50,000 word novel (I tried once back in 2012. But I didn’t get too far because I was too busy with college life and just wasn’t able to fully commit to participating), it has been such a great experience for me for many reasons.

It has changed me. Changed the way I write, the way I see my own writing and my own understanding of how the writing process works. It has made me understand myself too in ways I didn’t understand myself before. Made me understand why I write and what I love the most about the whole writing process.

But with my NaNoWriMo 2015 experience, I’ve also experienced a lot of ups and downs. I’ve crossed some hurdles I didn’t expect to have to overcome and made it through all in one piece. And while I didn’t come close to reaching the 50,000 word mark, I’m glad that I got to have this experience and that I was able to challenge myself through the written word.

During the month of November, I experienced a lot of challenges that I believe were a major part of why I wasn’t able to cross the finish line and make the 50,000 word goal. While I know I really have nobody but myself to really blame, I think the challenges I have faced are what a lot of writers experience when putting themselves to the difficult task of completing a novel in one month.

Writers block: During November, I faced a lot of periods where I just didn’t want to write. At all. I just wasn’t able to find the inspiration or motivation to want to add to my story and bring it further to life. And as a writer, I am the type of person who whenever they go to write a story, wants to write the story chapter by chapter in chronological order. Because I have a difficult time going from chapter to chapter and writing segments from further chapters to be included in the story. So whenever I’m writing and just lose momentum, I lose momentum. And once it’s lost, I can’t get it back. So I have to wait until the cloud of writer’s block isn’t hanging over my head before I can go back to writing again.

However, there are ways to combat writer’s block that makes the time you’re stuck in it pass quickly. One of the things I do the most whenever I face writer’s block is find other things to do with my time until the cloud goes away. This allows the writer the chance to give their mind space from the story, even if it’s for a little bit and come back to writing the story whenever writer’s block is no longer hanging over them. The reason I find keeping myself preoccupied whenever I’m hanging in a writer’s block cloud to be a good way to deal with it is because I already know I can’t completely get rid of writer’s block so instead of fighting it, I embrace it and allow myself the chance to take a break from whatever writing project I’m currently working on.

What makes writer’s block a challenge during NaNoWriMo is that it makes reaching the 50,000 word count a difficult task. It also makes you possibly loose interest in wanting to write during NaNoWriMo altogether too. However, writer’s block can also be seen as a peaceful break from your novel. Because while the task of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month is daunting, your mind does need some down time too so that you have space left in your head to write the novel so that you can reach 50,000 words.

Personal life: Whenever you have a lot of personal stuff going on in your life, finding the time to write and wanting to write at all can sometimes make the month of NaNoWriMo difficult.

While at times I’m very happy to have participated in NaNoWriMo this year, there were some moments where I didn’t want to participate at all. And you can thank that for all of the personal stuff that decided to happen days before NaNoWriMo began.

The personal stuff that happened to me helped inspire me to write The Swan & the Crow but also hurt me too.

Originally, I had planned on making The Swan & the Crow based off of Beauty & the Beast because I’ve always wanted to write my own adaptation of that fairy tale. While there are some elements of that story hidden in my novel, The Swan & the Crow is actually inspired by my own recent heartbreak.

This year, I met a really wonderful guy. During the course of our relationship, he made me feel like the happiest I’d ever been in a really long time. He made me feel loved, important, special. Like he would always be there whenever I needed someone to talk to during my darkest moments and that he cared about me as much as I care about him. I opened up to him in ways I’d never been open with anyone else and with each moment I talked and spent time with him, I fell deeper and deeper in love with him.

For the first time in my life, I found love in the most unlikely of places. But then, my heart was broken in two. He decided that he no longer wanted to commit to being in a relationship full time (his exact words for why he ended our relationship) and ended our relationship this October. Since then, I’ve been experiencing a train wreck of emotions from pain and sadness to anger and frustration. I’ve had some good days, some bad days, and felt everything in between.

This heartbreak at times made writing this novel a difficult task for me.

However, I used the pain and my new experience to push me onward. Instead of letting it control me completely, I used it as inspiration for my new story. I used it to help get me out of what I still feel deeply and begin the process of opening myself up to healing. Of letting go, moving forward into brighter and better days and an endless future. Of accepting what happened and not letting my anger and frustration over the breakup control my actions. Of opening myself up to further love and learning forgiveness.

Personal life getting in the way of writing is one of the things writers have no control over. If something in life gets a writer down and they need time to heal and adjust, they do the best they can under the circumstances to write.

But for me, whenever I’m down and feel as broken as I have, I use writing to heal. I write about whatever experience is hurting me so as to express myself completely and so as to get a better understanding of the problem and why it’s troubling me.

Because writing is one of many things that helps me whenever I find myself in an emotional funk. It is the one of many things I feel like I can do to get out of that feeling and begin the process of healing.

And while I would like to say writing this novel while all of this personal stuff going on was easy, it wasn’t. Not at all. I had some days where I just didn’t want to write and choose not to because my emotions were getting the best of me and I was getting nowhere with my story.

But in the end, I pushed on. I didn’t let my personal life get in the way of writing my story. And while I haven’t finished The Swan & the Crow and am nowhere near close, I wrote until the last day of November.

Self-doubt: One of the biggest challenges a writer faces while writing is self-doubt.

Is my writing good enough? Why does any of this matter? Who would want to read my novel anyway? These are some of the many lingering thoughts that enters a writer’s subconscious at any given moment when writing.

When a writer finds themselves at the end of their rope, they begin to experience self-doubt over the work they’ve created. They begin to question every thought, idea and story they’ve created. They begin to doubt, to seriously believe their work isn’t good enough. That nobody would want to read it and that every person that reads their story will absolutely hate it.

Every writer goes through this. Every writer experiences the feeling that their work isn’t good enough. That their work is flawed and that they will be criticized for it.

And I know I was no exception. During NaNoWriMo, there were many moments where I experienced self-doubt while working on my novel. I doubted every character I created, every action I allowed my characters to make, and every decision I made with regards to the story I built up.

But despite my own personal thoughts on my novel, I pushed on, ignoring the voices in my head telling me it’s not good enough. And I created it. I created a story that is uniquely my own and despite my self-doubt, I did the best I could to make it work.

I did the only thing a writer can do when they experience self-doubt: ignore it. Because no matter what, you’ll never think your story is good enough, no matter how many times you edit it to perfection. So the best thing a writer can do in order to get their voice heard is ignore it and make the most of the story they’ve put their hard work into writing.

Despite facing these challenges during NaNoWriMo head on and not getting past the word count, I’m extremely proud of the writing I’ve produced because of it. While I don’t think The Swan & the Crow is the best work I’ve recently written, my plans are to continue working on it.

Overall, I found my NaNoWriMo experience to be very rewarding. While I dealt with a lot of difficult challenges during the month of November, I also felt like I learned more about myself with each word I wrote. I learned what I do to cope with personal problems and what some of my strengths and weaknesses are in my novel writing.

NaNoWriMo was a very rewarding experience for me and I’m looking forward to participating in it again next year.

NaNoWriMo Season Coming Up

National Novel Writing Month logo. Can be found on NaNoWriMo's website, nanowrimo.org.
National Novel Writing Month logo. Can be found on NaNoWriMo’s website, nanowrimo.org.

As the next couple days go by, NaNoWriMo is vastly approaching. I am both excited and nervous for NaNoWriMo to be here.

For those who are unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it is National Novel Writing Month. In November, writers who want to participate begin the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in the span of a month.  During that time, a writer can write about whatever they want. As long as they keep writing towards the 50,000 word count, they are good to go. The novel doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you reach the word count by the end of the month.

I once participated in NaNoWriMo in 2012 where I attempted to write a novel called The Zombies Are Coming! The Zombies Are Coming!  However, I quickly realized in 2012 that I had so much going on at the time that I wasn’t able to fully commit to participating in NaNoWriMo. I had just started going to college and was still getting used to living away from home. And my classes were keeping me so busy that I didn’t have a whole lot of spare time to write. Plus, the Internet at school was bad and gave me a difficult time at uploading my word count every time I worked on my novel.

Since 2012, however, I’ve always wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo again. So I figured since I’ve already graduated from college, why not do it this year? Besides spending my free time looking for a job in my field, playing video games, reading books, blogging, and working, I know I’ll definitely have time to write this novel in November.

At first, when I quickly realized that NaNoWriMo was approaching, I freaked out. I had one or two novel ideas in my head, but had done nothing to get these ideas outlined and ready to go. However, I had these past two days off from work this week and was able to outline my ideas on paper.

And it was while I was outlining my two novel ideas that I was able to decide which novel I wanted to write for NaNoWriMo this year.

Since I am an avid lover of young adult literature, I decided that I wanted to do my own version of Beauty & the Beast, which I’ve decided to name The Swan & the Crow.

The Swan & the Crow centers on two high school teenagers named Steph and Max who unexpectedly fall in love. Steph, a young teenage fuckup, never thought a boy like Max would ever be interested in dating a girl like her. And Max never thought he’d be dating a girl like Steph who was anything but perfect. Dealing with some issues at home, Steph goes out at night after school with friends to get away from her problems. It is while she is out at a party with some friends that Steph meets Max, the perfect role model at school who everyone idolizes. But Max doesn’t want people looking up to him and just wants to live a normal teenage life. It is while at the party where he meets Steph that he finally discovers a wild side to himself that he wants to explore. As months go by and their relationship is nowhere close to breaking, Steph must make a difficult choice that could change their lives forever.

The Swan & the Crow is a story I’ve had in my head for a while now.  Beauty & the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales and I’ve always wanted to write my own story based off of it. I’ve had this story in my head but have never taken the opportunity to actually write it. And now that I actually know that I want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, I’m going to write it.

While I’m still trying to figure out how exactly I’m going to do that, I have a basic outline for some of the chapters written out and prepared. While I’m not going to post my outline for my story on here, I plan on posting the chapters so that they can be read and appreciated by you guys.

Are any of you guys participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are you planning on writing about?

I’m really looking forward to NaNoWriMo this year and can’t wait to get started.

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