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 It’s probably the best unpublished thing I’ve ever written because most of it comes straight from my bleeding, twisted heart.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.

NaNoWriMo Update 1: That’s Rough, Buddy

November 7, 2014 in Fantasy, Novel, On Writing


So here’s my first NaNoWriMo update, and it’s not pretty. Better than nothing, I suppose, but the progress has been admittedly slow. I have so far had two days to write and I have barely broken 2000 words, a far cry from the overly optimistic and fairly ridiculous 3000-a-day target I had set for myself.

What I have realized from this process is that writing anything at work is really really hard. There are distractions galore, and I don’t just mean actual work-related stuff that needs to get done. And all it takes is one shithouse article — just one — to screw up my entire schedule and rhythm for the day. Lately, unfortunately, I’ve gotten a few.

As for the writing itself, I’ve decided to tackle my oldest project, the classic fantasy novel that has been rewriting itself in my brain on and off for the last dozen or so years. It’s probably the most ambitious of my projects, but also the one that requires the least amount of planning and thinking through.

I have started again right from the beginning with a new intro that will introduce the protagonist in a more exciting manner so that the story hits the ground running. I’ve since gone back to work on a prologue, though I think it probably works better as a backdated chapter 2. I guess I’ll see how it goes.

The biggest take away from these last couple of days is that I still have not figured out how to just write and not self edit along the way. They always say, when writing first drafts, that you should not think too much and just let the words flow. Sure, it will probably be crap, but it is more important at this stage to just get the words down. You can always fix things up later.

On day one I started off relatively well, getting about 1500 words down, but on the way home at night I kept thinking of things I should have added. So on day two instead of continuing with the writing I spent much of my time putting in those changes, and all the other things I kept thinking would improve the narrative. Due to some of these changes, I have had to stop and think of ways to make the story logical and fit together, which took up a huge chunk of my time as well. In the end, I only had about 500 words down on the second day. And the truth is, it is still crap, so I more or less wasted my time trying to fix it now.

Still hopeful that I will be able to get into some kind of groove so that the words will come more easily. At this stage, unless I catch fire, so to speak, it seems unlikely that I will get close to reaching my goal. We’ll see.

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.