Writing

I woke up early this morning and sat down to write. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time but never set aside the time or space to do it. Instead, my early mornings and late evenings have been dealing with tending farm, working on my frontier land and cabin, building new and updated buildings in my kingdom, and fighting dragons. Yesterday, I stopped and realized that what little free time I have when I am not at work or doing things¬†with my son were being eaten up by what I always called “Stupid Facebook Games.” So, I quit. Just like that. I removed all of the apps, their permissions, unsubscribed from their mailing lists, and blocked them from showing up on my wall. It was liberating.

So, I woke up early as I always do and sat down to write. Alas, I only wrote a single paragraph today and not a very good one, but it was a start and I’m glad I did it and look forward to continuing tomorrow. If you want to write, write every day, they say. And so I will. Before this, I only ever wrote daily during NaNoWriMo and the three years I have done that have always been wonderful. However, NaNoWriMo is a different sort of writing. There, you write with reckless abandon. You plough forward, never looking back, never editing, never questioning. Your goal is word count, not art. And it is liberating but it also has given me an incorrect view of what writing is. As I began working on this short story idea I have wanted to play with for some time, I realized that I can’t write like that anymore. I need to structure. I need to plan. I need to balance expository dialogue with action and description. I need to care whether my characters sound and feel real. I need the world I am crafting to be fully realized (at least enough for a short story). I could probably write the story in one marathon session and then go back and edit it but that somehow feels like the wrong approach. So, I am stepping back and working out the outline. I want to know where my story is going before I try to go too far into it.

I want to read more, especially paying attention to the craft as much as the story itself. I want to look for a writing class somewhere locally. I want to learn from other writers what works and doesn’t work for how they work and begin to find a process that works for me. So, that is the journey I am undertaking now. And it feels wonderful and exciting.

NaNoWriMo 2008

I went dark again this November doing the National Novel Writing Month. This is an annual competition to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. The idea is pure creativity. No editing, no thinking, just write and don’t stop. I just finished (hours earlier than I finished last year despite the fact that I got a late start this year). My story this year is a time travel story (which is a real challenge when you are trying to write straight through — time travel requires a lot of planning and watching for inconsistencies and the like) which is also a love story (I’m a sap, what can I say?) I’m actually very happy with it and, unlike last year’s novel, I plan on coming back to it and editing it and tightening it all up. But not today. Today, I just want to kick back and relax. I did it. I wrote my second novel and just want to bask in the glow of that achievement.