Momentum Lost – Week 6

It has been three weeks since my last update. In three weeks, I have only gone from 20.000 words to…33.806. And I am disappointed, to be perfectly honest. I really wanted to keep the streak going, of doing at least 10.000 words a week but.. Life happened.

I got a terrible cold. I am usually not that sensitive when it comes to colds and I can usually do other stuff and continue to work when they are rearing their ugly head. This time, however, my bed was the only place I could stand to be, and screens hurt and reading hurt even more. It was one of those moments where it felt more like my head was full of snot than anything else, and no words could come out. 

It thankfully did not take me too long to recover. The next week, I was fine again. But I had lost my writing momentum and it became so…hard. It started to feel like trying to squeeze toothpaste out of an almost empty tube. So much effort for very little progress and it just annoyed me. 

Gosh darn it life. Why you gotta interfere with my writing. 
I am gonna keep trying though. My goal has not changed: to be done with this draft (the unedited version) by NaNoWriMo time (that IS a sentence, I think)

And hopefully by this upcoming Monday, I will have reached 40.000. Speaking of which, better get back to work. 

Updates are kinda dull. But hey, it is nice to keep track of progress or lack thereof. Future Maja will be happy with it. 

See ya void. 

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The Wall of 20.000 – Week 3

Hello again!

I am pleased to announce that I reached 20.000 words yesterday! Whoop whoop!

But with the sweets, comes the sour (I really need to watch Practical Magic again) – I seem to have hit a bit of a wall. Not word count wise – I managed to write another 1500 words today. BUT. I can feel the bile of criticism rising in my writing stomach. I am starting to dislike the words I use. I have become overly aware of things I repeat, like the word ‘still’. I bet you that I will have written that word at least 5000 times by the end of this draft.

STILL (eyooo), I am getting the writing done. And I do try to not think of the editing to come (“That’s future Maja’s problem!”) but it is still (see?)… Difficult. I love writing and I love telling this story that I have been working on for so long. But I want so badly to do it justice, and it can be really hard to focus on writing, when you can’t stop reading what you’re writing and dislike it immensely.

I just really hope that it will be decent in the end, this novel and the way it’s written. But for now, I guess I will just keep on writing. And possibly watch Practical Magic. 

How are you all out there in the void?

10.000! – Week 2

You know how last week (or well, 8 days ago) I was like : “omg lets hope i get to 10.000 words soon pls”? Well, yesterday… I got there.

I mean, it is probably not much of a surprise to you if you’ve read the title of this post. But it was a surprise to me. 10.000 words in a week (as I will hopefully be getting to 11.500 today) and to be honest… I am actually enjoying it. This is the most I have ever written within the span of a week (outside of NaNoWriMo). It is really pretty…Cool. I am kinda proud.

And what has really surprised me, is that the focus on reaching my wordcount, has in no way taken any joy away from writing itself. At all. I can’t actually remember the last time I enjoyed working on a piece of this size.

But it is not all rainbows and…other good things. It is hard. I want to write before I start work today, but i sat down and looked at the screen and then…. Nothing. No words. Nothing.

I am having a hard time showing and not telling sometimes as well. I am writing this novel in 3rd person and it has been a while since I did that for a longer amount of time (or words) so. It IS a challenge.

But I AM enjoying it. 

And I think that’s pretty cool.

Time to get back to looking at the screen in hopes of words. Woooords. Words pls. Come back :_:

 

Not Quite Stephen King – Week 1

This last week has been the first proper “let’s rewrite this son of a bitch shall we?” week. There was some stuff I needed to sort out before I could begin but it has begun! Yay!

And writing is hard. It is so freaking hard. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve sat down and properly written a novel (like a couple of years ago when i did NaNoWriMo – or tried to). I find it especially difficult to not criticise what I am writing, as I am writing it.

BUT.

This week I managed to write a total of 3613 words. Which is really freaking good, for my standards.

Of course, it is not Stephen Kings 2000 words a day. But I am only just getting started and hopefully, I’ll keep writing more and more each week as I get really into the novel.

It was quite nice today, as I was writing, two new characters popped out of nowhere and chatted with my main character. I think she quite enjoyed it. I know I did.

But that’s really all I’ve got to report for now. 3613 words down. A lot more to go.

20993014_10213744466544880_6207151048124947829_n
From today’s writing session

Hope you’re all doing well out there! Hopefully soon I’ll have an update that’s all like “yay 10.000 words!”.

Hopefully.

 

The Third Time’s the Charm…. Hopefully?

In 2011, I took part in NaNoWriMo for the first time ever, and I wrote a novel that felt like it would never end, because, I had never written a full novel before. But I did write a whole novel and…It was cool. It felt cool. I knew the writing itself wasn’t great but you know. It was cool. But there was so much work to be done on it.

So, it didn’t come as a surprise to me, or my characters, when I rewrote the novel during NaNoWrimo 2014. The characters grew and it was such an awesome feeling to get to know characters so well, that it hurt to do horrible things to them, even if it was necessary to the plot.

It’s now 2017. The fourth of August 2017 as I write this. For the past few months I’ve been considering it, and making notes for it, and now I am going to be doing it.

The final rewrite. The third and last one.

I’ve scrapped half of the original novel, as I realised the first half was irrelevant and only there for ‘shock effect’. And now… It’s become a much more serious novel. Or, rather… It will be. When I write it.

Hopefully, by the start of NaNoWriMo 2017, I will have finished rewriting this novel, for the final time.

I’ll document some of the process on here.

Wish me luck? I think I’ll probably need it..

I wrote this blogpost while listening to this

Useful Writing Habits – The Workbook

Back when I was at University, one thing my lecturers always talked about was the “Workbook”. It sounded daunting at first. Then again, things usually sound daunting when you don’t know what they entail.

The workbook is really the epitome of process. The workbook IS the process.

And it sounds way fancier than it really is.

So. Basically, the workbook can be a word document or a physical notebook. The most important thing about it is that you use it for the project you are currently working on. It can be for many different projects even. So if you’re brainstorming? Into the workbook. Working through titles? Workbook. Lists of films that might be relevant to what you’re working on? Workbook. Actual writing? Also workbook! It can be anything really that is relevant and helpful and that you need to remember or work on for your project(s).

It’s a notebook/document dedicated for you to use. It might seem weird and “why not just write in the other notebook I have with me right now?” Well – What I love about the notebook is that it lowers the risk of you losing important notes. If you always write on individual sheets of paper or in different notebooks constantly, there is a risk of you losing some of that paper somehow. I’m not saying that you’re messy, but rather, that paper is fickle and likes to hide.

So. Workbook. It makes it easier to see what you’re working on, all the different things included, to remember what to do where and see what you were thinking when you were planning that one thing that was really important to you.

Also.. It means only having to take ONE notebook. Instead of 3 different ones.

Workbooks saves backs people. Try it out.

(But then again. That’s just MY opinion.) 

Useful Writing Habits – The Idea Notebook

So, I have been thinking a lot about process. I find the creative process to be kind of… Fascinating in a way. I mean, you have millions of novels out there, but equally millions of different creative processes. Sure, they all have something in common: There is an idea and there is writing at some point (otherwise it would be kind of a weird novel!).  But anywho. I think it’s pretty cool to look into how different people work in different ways, and to both become inspired by them but also suddenly aware of what your process currently looks like. Here’s a little bit of mine.

One thing I’ve found immensely helpful as a writer, and an artist as well, is the concept of the idea notebook. 

I remember coming across it about five years ago (or more, the concept of time is starting to become very foreign to me), an evening in my room at my parents’ house where I was in bed and I couldn’t sleep, so I was watching this evening talk show thing with a Danish writer; and he talked about his hundreds of notebooks that were all just full of little bits and bobs that he found interesting, just in case he needed these bits and bobs for… Anything really.

I thought: “Huh.  Why have I not thought about this before. This seems like a pretty cool idea. I’m gonna try it.”

And to be honest? It was. I ALWAYS carry a small notebook with me since then (with some exceptions of course) but it’s so freaking useful. Need a character name? A scene inspiration? A random starting word or the name of some random place that you liked two years ago that could work? You’ve got it.

It really is a simple concept: Get a notebook, one that is small enough for you to keep in your coat pocket/bag/trouser pocket/whatever you’d use. Have that, and a pen, with you or near you, as often as possible. And anytime you see something, someone, or just..think of something: Write it down.  It can be stuff like “Man in his 60’s. Hunchback. He always wears the same trench coat and walks with a purpose but never goes into a shop.” Or just a random name you’ve heard in passing that you like. A word you had forgotten. Something some asshole says on the bus that could be a good line for a character in a novel. A doodle of a painting that you’d like to do when you get home, or when you have paint supplies again.

That’s the fun of it – it can be anything! I’ve noticed that when I started doing this notebook thing, I also became more aware of details around me that I hadn’t thought to notice before. Smells and sounds, and the way people talk, and how rooftops look against a dark sky.

And when you feel like you’re exhausted of ideas at some point, when you sit in front of your computer or notebook and you have no ideas, go to your notebook.

It’ll help you out.

NaNo-Prep! The Idea

It’s almost November Which means…..

NaNoWriMo! Heck to the yes!

Okay, so, last year it didn’t go so well for me. I was swamped with work for university and I just did not have enough mental ink to get those word blobs out. It happens.

But all you can do is try, and try again. So that’s what I’m going to do. Same novel. Same month. Different year. Fewer plays to write. You get the gist.

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s all about preparation – I work better when I’ve done some. I mean, don’t get me wrong, a clean slate can be incredibly nice when I’m writing something shorter, a poem, a haiku, a short story… But not when it’s 50.000 words. In 4 weeks. Nah mate, nah. I need to have some sort of preparation or at least think about it in advance..So..

THIS! Is step one (I imagined that in that really dramatic movie trailer voice… Did it work in text?? It didn’t did it… I should have known..)

Ahem. Step one. Getting started with it all.

THE IDEA! THE BRAINSTORMING! THE RANDOM THOUGHTS! WORDS IN ALL CAPS

This year, the idea bit is quite easy for me. I have an idea, I’ve had this idea for three years and now I “just” need to complete it 100%- The first finished draft of it anyway.  But there have been other years (2012 you little shit) where I had no idea at all at the point when I decided I would do  NaNoWriMo… And it was a tad terrifying. But I somehow managed. And this is what I did: I began wondering….” What kind of story do i even want to write?”I thought about characters that could be cool to write and stuff I had written before, but that I never finished. Somehow my train of thought led me to “This thing should be set in a convent!”… I let that simmer for a few days. It sounded completely boring, until my subconscious went “lol remember that stupid vampire story you wrote when you were like 11? You could write something else about vampires” (Note: My subconscious is a kind of an asshole cause I’m still really proud of that story.)

And then, the last piece…How are these two things even related? Would a vampire be inside or outside the convent? Inside seemed like the stranger way to go, so I chose that, which led to more questions, like: Why would this vampire be in a convent? Is she trapped? Is she happy? What is she doing there?? What??

Somehow, when I began to think of the motivation for this weird unknown vampire character being in a convent, it all fell into place. Somehow I knew how to start and what was going to drive the story – It would be why she was there and how she felt about it. I knew that the feeling would determine everything after the initial premise:

With some anger, it could be a bloodbath or a careful killing of everyone else in the convent – a strange murder mystery of why a random nun would kill her sisters. With paranoia it would be long hallways, long nights, whispers around the corner, an endless stream of “whats gonna happen? will they find out” or “whats gonna happen if they find me here??” I just had to choose one out of the endless possibilities, to start.

And so the initial Idea was there.

I wish I could say it was more planned than that. That it was a case of “This is how you do it, first do this, and then this, and then you have a story.” But it wasn’t. It was just more of a brainstorm, letting my brain just do it’s thing and come up with weird scenarios. I don’t know if the vampire in the convent idea was a particularly good idea, but it intrigued me and got me writing: That’s the thing about NaNoWrimo – It’s not so much about quality, as it is quantity. It’s there to get you to write. So… I somehow got started, when I found something that intrigued me, that I had to figure out. Otherwise that vampire character would just be stuck in a convent in my head for no reason and that would just be rude… Right?

TL;DR – Make sure your idea/plot/character/theme/conflict intrigues you or inspires you in some way to start writing. That’s the most important thing to get you going. 

Was this post a mess? Hell yes it was. Will I make more NaNoWriMo themed posts? Yeah! Will they be better than this one? I sure hope so.

Until next time.

PS. For better articles/blog posts on how to get an idea for a novel, I’ve found some links for you.

Here’s one.

And another one.

And juuuuust one more. 

Ok now I’m done.

Wait, that was a link too! Gosh darn it.

 

The September Experiment – Update

So….

In regards to the experiment I mentioned in my previous post? I…I failed. Pretty hard.

I think, all in all, the experiment was a good enough idea.And I will continue to try to write on a daily basis. Perhaps set word-count goals for each week.

But the September Experiment was not…entirely thought through. Somehow I thought I could do it even though I was going away for 2 weeks during it, to see my boyfriend and my friends in the UK , and… Surprise, surprise – that didn’t work. I got caught up in hanging out with awesome people and just enjoying a break from it all. I still wrote things – Just not as much as I had wanted.

Ah well. Yes, the experiment did not work. But, I had planned it badly so, not the experiment’s fault after all!

Anyway. Enough about this! Any of you out there doing NaNoWriMo this year? I will be attempting to do so, once again. Also, I’m planning a few blog posts to go up on this blog beforehand with a few tips for those of you who are trying NaNoWriMo out for the first time (or just need a reminder of possibly helpful things – I know  I could do with one!)

Failure happens. We just have to keep on trying. Indeed indeed indeed.

Until next time dear void.

The September Experiment

I’ve been writing for years and years, but I still don’t have a regular writing schedule which pisses me off. I should be writing every day at this point and even though I write often and when I do, it’s usually a lot, it’s not regularly.

The thing is – Sure, I could live with the “often” instead of “regular” if I had no specific goals. If I was writing just to get some writing done.

And though I am writing to write, it’s not just for that. I have a story I want to tell, ideas to share, and I really really want to finally finish something for once. SO.

My goal is, for September, to write the equivalent of an average 500 words a day on the novel I am currently working on. That is 10500 words for the September (because I didn’t start this on the 1st – if I had, the goal would have been 15000 words). Why do I say “equivalent”? Because I know there will be days where I just can’t write. There will be other things going on, life getting in the way in all its many ways.

So. When I am done with September, I should hopefully be 10500 words into my script. And if this works, I might do the same for October (perhaps with a larger word count and from the 1st).

I really want to get this novel done and I need to get it done. It’s been in my head for far too long and I need to get it out there and prove to myself that I can finish it completely (that includes editing! Maybe I’ll do a “I’ll edit this many pages a day” month once I’m done with the draft. We’ll see.)

Anyway. That’s the plan, the September experiment.  Let’s see how I do.

I’ll try to keep you updated dear void.

Take care.