There are two days left and I’m still at 13k words. But you know what? It’s okay.
This is another long missive. Weighing in about around 1300 words. Feel free to skip if you like, but I think some will find it interesting and helpful maybe.
I knew going in I would never make 50k. I wanted to. I really did, and I had every intention of making it to that goal. However with everything going on in my life I knew it was going to be impossible.
I didn’t think I’d only end up with 13K however. I figured I’d hit 30 or so. 20 at the very least. But 13? Easy.
Not so much. And it was my fault. Yes, I was sick for the first 2 weeks and felt the after effects of that illness until… well, I still do. But I still could have written more.
What it boiled down to was a failure on the most basic levels:
Poor planning Poor execution Severe lack of discipline.
I thought I knew my story. After all, it’s been siting in my head and on various notes for almost 7 years. I had started writing parts of it out previously in an attempt to maybe film it and post the episodes online. However costs became prohibitive (as in I had no money for supplies or even a camera), I had mapped out 12 episodes, knew the characters, and had a plot worked out (actually, I have the ‘plot’ worked out for the first 5 seasons / books / story arcs). So I knew what was going on and how to proceed right? Wrong.
I used the original screen scripts as research since I knew I would have to alter and expand a good bit of it seeing as how all my visual gags and funnies now had to be handled differently. I figured no big deal, I’ll just put in more description and switch up the dialogue a bit.
I decided to write it and turn it into a weekly serial. So I broke each ‘episode’ into 4 ‘scenes’, and figured 1K words per scene. That had me at 48K without even trying. I figured I knew several of the scenes very well so I could write those first then focus on the ones that I didn’t know quite so well. This was going to be cake!
What an idiot.
I can see now where I failed. Where I assumed too much in some cases, and not enough in others. Places where I blindly blundered in thinking I knew the space so well the words would just flow.
Problem was, they didn’t flow. I didn’t know everything as well as I thought I did. On top of that I tried to be a real writer. By that I mean I tried to be serious. Tried to write like I though I was suppose to, not how I do naturally.
I play with words and phrases. I don’t put things in the proper gramatical place all the time (sometimes even by accident ;) I have fun. I wasn’t doing that here.
I’m not serious by nature. If you’re reading this you already know that (probably). You should already know about some of the images I post or the snippets I write. At the very least you will probably know about the I’m on a horse! line I post in response to just about anything :)
Of the stories about the cats taking over my mind / body and plotting to take over the world.
If you’ve read any of my writings, especially the Tribe Detective Agency or the previous postings about Skies Above you know that I’m not.
I can be. Other stories reflect that. And future stories will be more serious in nature. But for this story I didn’t want to be. For christs sake, on of the main characters is a talking dog that is the chief engineer for the ship and invents things in his spare time. It takes place on a planet created my powerful beings (called Exceptions) that get drunk on a regular basis and play with reality. It has a Magical Cr– (oh wait, you aren’t supposed to know about that yet). How the hell can I ever take a story like that seriously! I imagine you could write that without the gags and jokes and smart assery. But I also imagine it would suck. Which it did.
Okay, off the tangent. The point is, was, is… I basically set myself up for failure. And I let that get me down. Way down. Way, way down. To the point where when my wife made an innocent comment about ‘magic’ I took it to mean something it didn’t and got majorly depressed. I let that happen. Worst part is I could have stopped it, or better yet prevented it from happening in the first place.
So, to that end I have a new plan going forward. I have an ongoing challenge with +Katherine Dalton we dubbed the 4x4x4 in which I write 40K words a month for 4 months on 4 different stories. November was to be Skies Above (now called Skyline thanks to +Greg Christopher :), December was going to be God Shaper, January was 5th Source and February hadn’t been decided yet. Which in a way is good because I’m going to shift everything back a month.
Plus, I’ve come up with what I think is a good plan for me. 2000 words a day.
Now before you all freak out and tell me that if I can’t make the 1600 for NaNo I can’t make the 2000 for myself let me finish. When I’m free writing, just putting words down I average about 1600 words in 48 minutes.
When I’m not forcing it.
So, if I plan out when I’m writing better (map out in further detail) I think I can make it. I can always find an hour to write, especially if I stay up after the wife goes to bed. In a thirty day month that will give me 60K words.
Since I work better when things are fresh in my mind, so after I hit my goal each day, if I spend a few minutes mapping out the next couple scenes (each scene is about a thousand words remember) I should be able to just sit down the next day and write.
That covers the Planning and Execution issues.
I’ve learned that when I’m upset or not feeling good it’s near impossible for me to write. I’m hoping that having the next scenes mapped out will help with the ‘sit and stare’ problem. If not I plan to get up from my chair and go play Fruit Ninja Kinect or something like it. Or go for a walk. Or workout in some way. Get my head away from whatever I was thinking and get physical (I suspect Fruit Ninja will be a good distraction. Maybe too good… :) Then go back and try again.
The Discipline will be harder. Wanting it isn’t enough. I just have to work at it and do it every day. However, I have given myself permission that if it just isn’t happening or I just don’t have the time (doing other things) it’s okay. That should help with the I’m failing, I’m no good at this. I just suck feeling that tend to dominate me at times like that.
So losing NaNo this year might have been a good thing. It helped me see a few things that I hadn’t seen before.
All in all, it’s been a pretty good weekend :)
(I worked out some other things too, but you don’t need to hear about those :)