NaNoWriMo Update 2: Derailed!

November 14, 2014 in Fantasy, Novel, On Writing


It’s been about a week since my last update.

I’m not going to lie. As you can probably already tell from the headline, my plans have been derailed — somewhat.

It has not happened due to a lack of effort, that’s for sure. I tried getting back into it at the start of the week, but work was such a bitch (I sometimes have those days, and they just happened to be in succession) that I could barely get anything done. That and the fact that I was stuck on trying to figure out how to resolve a plot point had me on stall for the first couple of days.

Then something else happened. I was trawling through the hard drive of my old laptop and found my other project, Without Prejudice: Almost Entirely True Stories of Life, Death and Scandal in a Top-tier Law Firm. This was my master’s project, one I had done about 4 or 5 very polished chapters for and completed rough drafts of another 4 or 5 chapters. The remaining 4 or 5 chapters of the book were already planned out.

I started reading through it. I don’t like to brag, but since you brought it up, Without Prejudice is an awesome read. It’s probably the best unpublished thing I’ve ever written because most of it comes straight from my bleeding, twisted heart. My supervisor at the time — this was 3 or 4 years ago — gave me the top grade and advised that I complete it for publication.

Then life happened and I forgot all about it. I don’t regret having put the project on hold for stuff like moving overseas, having kids, doing freelance gigs to survive and then starting a new job. That shit happens. But man, I do regret not having picked it back up sooner because I had such great momentum back then and all the horrible memories were still so fresh. And with so much already completed, I was pretty damn close to completing it.

Anyway, I’ve decided to park my fantasy novel for the time being and focus on completing Without Prejudice. It took me a couple of days to sort through all the stuff I’ve done so far and rearrange and cut and paste the files until I had a master document with all my drafts and ideas — old and new — in them. It’s about 85 pages in Microsoft Word.

To my surprise a lot of the anecdotes are still etched firmly into my brain, though some others have already faded or are fading fast. I’m hoping planned visits with old friends and colleagues in a few weeks will help bring back those memories. Maybe some of the dysfunction in my new workplace can also help create some new ones.

In the meantime, I’m dedicating my NaNoWriMo to finishing this project. I only managed to do about half an hour before my working week finished for this week, but it was a great rush and I’m itching to get back into it soon. It’s a fantastic feeling to have that fire burning again.

Unofficial, modified NaNoWiMo starts now!

November 5, 2014 in Novel, On Writing


The excuses have finally run out. After “strongly suggesting” that I will take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for at least a couple of years, I have decided to put my foot down and join in the fun –unofficially — for the first time.

This is more a kick up the backside for myself than anything else. My writing projects have lay dormant for way too long and the months and years have been slipping by right in front of my eyes notwithstanding multiple self-promises to get them moving again.

So from today, I am going to commence an unofficial (in that I have not signed up for NaNoWriMo) writing spree that will be tweaked to suit my unique situation. I’m starting a few days late because I was busy polishing off my basket of outstanding movie reviews (pun intended), and I will be gradually releasing them over the next few weeks so that this blog does not become inactive.

However, as I am usually completely tied up by kids and family over the weekends, I’m basically restricted to writing five times a week during work hours, which means I just need to be super efficient. Moreover, I’m heading overseas for a three-week holiday that will run from the end of this month to mid-December, and I doubt I’ll be able to do any real writing during that time.

To account for all these issues, I’m going to be stretching NaNoWriMo over November and December. If my calculations are correct, I’ll have about 15 writing days this month before I go on vacation, and about 12 writing days from my return to the end of the year. The goal is to get to about 100,000 words, which is insane for someone who already writes for a living, so I’m going to temper expectations down to about 80,000 words.

If everything goes according to plan I should have a shitty first draft of something or at least a part of something done by the end of the year, like I promised myself during my optimistic “New Years resolution” period. It’s going to be hard as I still need to update my Pacers blog on occasion and I just can’t refrain from watching more movies and TV series, plus I’m on a special diet and exercise regiment this month. But frankly, I’m sick of being an unmotivated bum while everyone else is reaching for the stars.

So here goes. I’ll be providing weekly updates right here.

Unofficial NaNoWriMo Update: Reboot

November 23, 2011 in Novel, On Writing

With a week to go in the official NaNoWriMo challenge, I hope everyone is on track with their target of 50,000 words.

As for me, who isn’t registered for the official version and is doing his own ‘unofficial’ version, here’s a little secret I’m going to whisper to you…I haven’t done anything!

Excuses excuses excuses.  But they are legitimate ones.   I’ve been extremely busy looking for work (both full-time and freelance), which has taken a lot of mental and physical energy out of me.  Emails, letters, updating CVs, phone calls, interviews, tests, samples, etc — on a daily basis.  Plus a family health emergency a week into the month pretty much derailed everything.  As a result, the planned epic writing sessions have not even taken off.

On the bright side, the family emergency is over and it’s all good now.  Plus I have several jobs and freelance gigs either offered or in the pipeline.  The interviews are still going on but after next week I’ll probably have to finally make a decision as to what I am going to do.  Essentially I have two options when it comes to full-time opportunities.  I can go for a traditional job that offers some challenging work that I have an interest in, with traditional hours and reasonable potential.  Or I can go for a very cruisy job with flexible hours that offers slightly less pay but affords me the time to do other things, such as work on my own stuff and freelance.  It’s a dilemma.

Back to NaNoWriMo.  I figured, since this is an unofficial thing anyway, why do I have to create arbitrary rules such as having to write 50,000 words in the month of November?  Why don’t I just reboot and start tomorrow and write 50,000 words in the next 30 days?  Why the heck not?

So that’s what I am going to do.  Not tomorrow (because I have plans…), but maybe next over the weekend or next Monday.  Yes, that’s what I am going to do.  Until I say otherwise.

NaNoWriMo Update: Days 1-3

November 3, 2011 in Blogging, Novel, On Writing

If I could sum up my first 3 days of NaNoWriMo 2011 in 2 words it would be: EPIC FAIL

I had planned to dedicate this entire month to writing my personal projects but, as usual, things didn’t turn out the way I expected them to.  In short, my last three days have been largely spent on job seeking and freelance related work, interviews and other errands.  I’m sure if you counted the words I wrote on work-related emails, CVs and applications it would have totalled in excess of 3000-4000 words (oh, and I did ONE blog post that took about 10 times longer to upload and arrange the photos than write the actual text).  But alas, my total NaNoWriMo word count is officially…(drum roll please)…a big fat ZERO!

In many ways this is good news.  It means I’m actually doing something worthwhile.  I didn’t expect to start looking for work so soon immediately after the big move, but I did a little bit of ground work (expecting it to take a few weeks at least to result in anything), but instead work has suddenly started coming to me.

(Un)fortunately due to certain developments I can’t slow down now on the job/work searching front.  I need to strike while the iron is hot (or in this case, before I have to start accepting/rejecting offers).

What does this mean for my NaNoWriMo challenge?  For now, my goals remain unchanged.  50,000 words.  Now in 27 days instead of 30.  I just need to pick up the pace and make up for the last few days.

I am an optimist by nature.  Or maybe just a moron.

Contemplating NaNoWriMo 2011

October 26, 2011 in Novel, On Writing


We’re less than a week away from the start of NaNoWriMo 2011 (that’s National Novel Writing Month for you non-writers) and this year, for the very first time ever, I’m determined to do something.

What the heck does that mean?  I dunno, but it’s not nothing.  I still don’t think I have what it takes to write an actual novel, from start to finish, in 30 days (like Sara Gruen, whose Water for Elephants began as a NaNoWriMo project), but I believe I can do some serious damage in the month of November.  I’ve got two in-progress novels and another book that’s pretty much finished, so why not give it all I’ve got and see what happens?

Of course, this means I won’t officially enter NaNoWriMo this year, again.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t try and write 50,000 words this month (that’s the NaNoWriMo target).  A tad ambitious, considering I have a bunch of other stuff to do, but not impossible.  An average of 1,666 words a day (and it doesn’t even have to be good).  I mean, how hard can it be?

PS: If you’re interested in entering NaNoWriMo (the real one), register at the website here.  Alternatively, if you’re 17 or under, you can try the young writers’ version here.