NaMoWriMo 2012: What I learned

Let’s keep this simple shall we? How about a list? In no particular order, what I learned from my first – successful – attempt at NaMoWriMo.

  1. When your background is research, theory, or policy papers in an academic setting, fiction is hard. Fiction means you use as many words as you want to. Describing is more nebulous than getting your point across in a clear fashion.
  2. I spend a lot of time watching tv shows or looking at random stuff on the Internet. I don’t have to do that.
  3. It is worthwhile to prioritize your free time.
  4. Somewhat self imposed deadlines are damned useful. Especially if you buy yourself a t-shirt when you meet the deadline! Or reward yourself with bright fuzzy yarn.
  5. Writing can be done, even when you’re exhausted and just want to go to bed.
  6. Writing can be done when you’re feeling like the world has been shitting on your head.
  7. Writing is fun. If you let it be fun.
  8. Just like everything else, you need to find the right tools for the job. (I <3 Scrivener.)
  9. I would like to write regularly. I don’t know if this should be blog posts, short stories, or another novel.
  10. 2000 words is a lot in one day when you have to go to the real job too.
  11. Just because you can use your own life, self, or close and personal friends for inspiration or basis for your story doesn’t mean you’ll like it when you’re done.
  12. My book didn’t turn out quite like I expected.
  13. I can write plot. (I didn’t say I could write plot well, I just didn’t think I could write plot before.)
  14. I don’t like writing chronologically or in any other kind of order. With the right tools I don’t have to.
  15. It’s really cool to say: “I finished writing a book today, what did you do?”
  16. Inspiration might come at interesting times. Other times inspiration might leave you crying in a corner, or wake you up at 7 am on a Saturday.
  17. I want to do this again.
  18. I can write while sick. It might not work well, but if words happen, does it really matter?
  19. The first draft is the first draft is the first draft, no matter what you’re writing about.
  20. I think if I wrote more regularly it would be easier to write more in a fixed period of time.
  21. When it’s fiction, do whatever the hell you want. Seriously. Make up shit! It’s ok!
  22. Editing has a time and place. When you’re trying to get the story out on paper? No editing. When you’re trying make it better? Editing is fabulous!
  23. If I spend a month doing a lot of writing, I will miss knitting.
  24. Some people will think writing for the sake if writing and not for the sake of sharing is crAzy.
  25. I should balance tv and reading out a little more. Sometimes my book felt like the plot to a tv show. Or maybe that’s just because it was a little cheesy and predictable and I should watch as much tv and read as much as I want?
  26. I couldn’t have completed NaMoWriMo 2012 without some support.
  27. Writing buddies are good when there’s a deadline.
  28. It’s ok to use random stuff or people in the Internet for inspiration.
  29. You do not need to name a character to continue writing about the character. You can name the character LATER.
  30. It’s a really cool feeling to be aware that hundreds and thousands more other people in the world are doing what you’re doing.
  31. The No excuses part was hard sometimes.
  32. It’s ok to add in silly stuff to pad your word count, or add one more to your list. After all, life has silly stuff too.

When revising IMO

This is the list of steps necessary to revise your paper that I built up when doing an independent study during my masters work.

So, when revising, read for:

1. Relevance and redundancy

2. Amount of quotes vs. use of your own words

3. Sentence structure and passive voice

4. Format, citations

The numbered steps mean I’m suggesting rereading four times. Yup. At least.

Insert spell/grammar check in whatever software you are using before these steps, maybe after, maybe both.

Now I’ll erase this list from the white board and clean up the white board!

Words that start with A

This randomly popped in my head. I’ll try to limit to just nouns too. I spell-checked too, and may have had some help with a few.

1. anger

2. animosity

3. angst

4. apple

5. anchovy

6. answer

7. antennae

8. antifreeze

9. actor

10. action

11. anonymity

12. allowance

13. addition

14. Andromeda (I said nouns so proper nouns count too!)

15. availability

16. accent

17. anaconda

18. anagram

19. albatross

20. anthem

21. anathema

22. alabaster

23. appearance

24. ass

25. asthma

26. allergy

27. agriculture

28. adjective/adverb

29. ark

30. arc

31. antimatter

32. avocado

33. artichoke

34. Anteres

35. atoll

36. anchor

37. American

38. Audi

Ok I’ll be done.

Writing Prompt

Using this (bits in parentheses not specific to prompt, how I thought of the word)

Dogs (lived with them)

daffodils (up after the crocuses)

dandelions (blowing seeds)

danger (ER visit)

dragged (kids get dragged places)

deer (seeing in the field)

day (at the library)

dots (glasses in junior high)

dreams (wanted to be a veterinarian, then a scientist, then a writer)

dads

dear (cause it seems to fit when thinking of childhood)

don’t (do that!!)

distractions

dead/death

dreary (rainy days)

done (with a book, with school, with chores)

drift (watching clouds)

deed (doesn’t apply but it’s a d word!)

drowned (bugs, frogs in the pool)

dandy (cause I wanted a word that starts with d that is a candy but thought it up instead)

dessert! (Christmas cookies every year, baked by mom)

desiccated (hard shell crab dinner at home on the patio)

dragons! (I had the infamous loved dragons and unicorns stage)

digging (in the dirt, under rocks, I had the less infamous liked to play in dirt stage)

different (me)

Writing writing writing

I signed up on nanowrimo so I can follow stuff on their site in preparation of maybe being part of nanowrimo this November. Is it too early to start preparing now? I don’t think so. I’ve know about nanowrimo for at least… 2 Novembers… but never took part because I did remember soon enough in the year and didn’t want it to distract me from my classes. Well school is over, I’ve got both degrees now. So, there’s nothing standing in my way, especially since I’m still unemployed/job searching.

I’m thinking the logical next step is to start writing every day, so I can get in practice again. Well, outside of being forced to write every day for class. I did blog more, once. I could use the blog to write every day or I could use prompts to write freehand/fiction. Or I could do stream of consciousness sit down with a timer and write for some specific exact period of time. I did subscribe to a blog that offers writing prompts but I’d really rather use one that I’ve got recommendations for.

I know if I do start actually writing a book I’ll use scrivener. (I’ve used it for writing in school and it’s awesome… a research paper and an independent study paper/project.)

I have also remembered that it would be fun to write a scifi(fantasy)/future/alternate history sort of story by paying special attention to the society/sociology. I’ve just figured out the future/alternate history possibilities as well as wondering if I should read more “alternate world” scifi(fantasy) books.

And then there’s the part where all of this is technically just procrastinating starting writing. So, really, I could procrastinate starting for at least another few weeks… and then if I have a job by then use the job to procrastinate more! Obviously I need to not procrastinate if I’m serious! Am I serious?

I know I like to write, I know I can research – even if I’ve really only researched for school, that doesn’t matter, because I can research. I know I like to be doing something that is creative – whether that be blogging, writing, or knitting. I also know there is some (small?) part of me that would like to publish a book – see my name on a book sitting in the store. (But isn’t everyone that way?) I also know a little about the best ways for me to work thanks to school – like changing things up every now and again. Going to $tarbucks with a laptop is almost clique now but it can really help get work done. Ok I’m not ending a blog post by talking about taking a laptop to $tarbucks.

So, I have learned. I do have a vague general idea for how to write a novel. I have no idea if it’s a good idea, I have no idea how to go about it and I have no idea if I should research by reading similar books. Perhaps if I think I should then it’s a good idea? I’d also have to figure out if I want any kind of post-apocalyptic action. I’d lean towards no because I think that kind of storyline is a bit like vampires – easy to overdo. Warping some type of current society could be interesting – but would I also need to do some political research? (not tea party vs. everyone else, but at the country level). Anyways. This is enough for now. I’ve got this here so I can refer back to it if necessary.

Writing

So if I were to start writing now that I’m done with school and not having my creativity sapped and while I’m still unemployed/looking for a job and cursing my student loans… would blogging every day be a good start?

What in the world am I going to blog every day about?

Anyways.

Words here.

Writing is revising again, and again, and again

I finished a paper in an independent study over last semester. The professor congratulated me on a job well done. It was hard to do. It seemed near impossible sometimes. Especially since I picked a topic with little completed research. The point of the independent study was also so I could work on my writing.

So, I came up with a list of things to read for when revising a paper…

First read through:

relevance and redundancy

Second read through:

quoted material vs. “original” material – this is to help make sure things aren’t being missed

Third read through:

Sentence structure, passive voice, adverbs

Fourth read through:

organization, format, cites, spell check

Fifth read through:

still need to continue rereading if any large changes have been made.

*I came up with this when I was nearing the end of my editing/revising/rewriting