Defeat. Not failure.

Camp Nanowrimo is over for now, and once again I must admit defeat. I set a modest goal for 10,000 words, and I didn’t even make it to 5000. I was pretty damn close though, ending the month with around 4700 words written. Considering I didn’t make it, perhaps you may think that means I failed? I didn’t.

What went wrong?

It’s easy to find something to blame when you don’t succeed at something. I work too much. My family needed me. Kids got sick. Dog got sick. Friends felt overlooked. Found this new TV show on Netflix that I had to finish because everyone was talking about it and spoiling me. The internet was there. The computer broke down. The world ended. Those last two might be the same thing.  My point is, there are an infinite number of reasons why you didn’t make it. Personally, I have a lot of reasons why I didn’t make it.

Though, none of them deal with the apocolypse (though there’s always tomorrow). I did have a few weeks of pretty intense pain in my jaw and ear though. Turns out, I have a tooth that is dying and needs a root canal (yaaaay), and possibly some viral infection causing pressure in my ear as well. So as reasons go, that is a faily decent one for why I couldnt write much. Mostly cause anything not laying in a fetal position was out of the questions some days. Ok, slight exaggeration. But the pain was bad!

Personally, I have a lot of reasons why I didn’t make it.

I also started rewatching Stargate SG-1, though that only happened a week ago, and therefore cannot take all the blame. In the end, what happened is what always happenes when the month isn’t November; there wasn’t enough at stake. I haven’t lost Nanowrimo in November since before 2010, so each year when I start, the thought of not winning is unbearable. In fact, not winning isn’t an option. For Camp Nanowrimo, the stakes aren’t as high. I just do it to get stuff written, how much I write isn’t really the point.

And that’s the thing, isn’t it. Because I may not have made my goal word count, but I wrote something. And I’ll never consider writing 4700 words failure (unless it’s November, of course).

I didn’t fail

A bold statement perhaps, but I didn’t. I wrote words, and managed to finish a scene I’ve been working on for months. I may not be much closer to the end of the story, but I’ve gotten a bit further along the way. Next step is to figure out how I’m going to get where I need to be for the story to end that way it should. Which at this point is where it’ll set up a sequel, because I am apparantly incapable of writing just one standalone book.

I’d call it a curse, but I’m in love with these characters now, and I never want to leave them, so perhaps a sequel wasn’t to be completely unexpected. That of course can become somewhat of a problem. Getting too attached toyour characters. What if one of them has to die? Could I kill it? Normally the answer would be yes, I don’t mind killing off characters I love, if it’s what the story need. Of course, I’ve been working on TAO these past few years, where killing someone doesn’t mean they stay dead. So there’s that.

Take the win

Sometimes the hardest thing to rememer is to take the wins, and not let the losses get you down. Sure, I didn’t make my goal til April, but I got words written. I did something. It may not have been what I set out to do, but it still counts for something. The thing to remember is this:

If you’re feeling stuck, every word you write is a win. So take the win, and keep writing, even if it’s just one more word.

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Camp Update

I wish I could say I had conquered Camp, and could call myself a winner for probably the first time. But no, I cannot. Haven’t written for almost two weeks, which is not good. Still, I know it shouldn’t be a problem to make my goal, I just need to sit down and actually do some writing.

The problem right now has been to find the time. Not because I’m massively busy 24/7. It’s not about finding an actual time where I am not doing something else. It’s about finding a time when my brain is on the same page as me. When it wants to write as much as the rest of me.

I’m planning on sitting my ass down, opening Scrivener, and force out at least 500 words later today. I guess we’ll just have to see if that works, or if my brain will once again work against me, and refuse to let me write anything at all that can be considered usable for later. With so few words in my goal this month, I’m not about to write useless words. I need them all to count. Which is the challenge I suppose.

Guess I’ll just have to give it a go later and see what happens. Worst case, I get nothing written. Best case, I win Camp Nanowrimo. Realistic scenario, I get 500-1000 words, and call it a success.

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Time to challenge yourself

It’s what I’m gonna do in April. How about you?

I am of course talking about Camp Nanowrimo. Where I shall be participating this year, with a 10,000 word goal for the month of April.

I was going to post this yesterday, but I didn’t want anything thinking it was some april fool’s joke. Because if you’ve been following me for a while, you already know I have failed at Camp Nanowrimo time and time again. I may rule in November, but whenever I attempt Camp Nanowrimo, I fail. Doesn’t matter that my writing goal is usually one fifth of my November goal, I still can’t see to make it.

So why am I putting myself through this again?

Good question. Wish I had an answer. Really, I do. I just know I need to write, and deadlines usually do the trick (sort of). PLus, I really want to be able to say that I kicked Camp Nanowrimo’s ass. Just once!

I am going to 10,000 words written in April, all of which will be on Remnants. Was gonna plot a bit so I knew what was happening next, but stuff happened, and that didn’t. I did name some solar systems (including the one that isn’t there anymore, for reasons only the voices in my head knows) and work out some back story. I want to say it’ll be easy, and really, 10k is doable in a day really. Except it’s not November, and past experience tells me this will be a lot harder than 50k.

I’m not about to give up though. I’m gonna push through, write my ass off, and make this the month I finally finished a Camp Nano as well!

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Working out the kinks

With TAO handed over to Catrine, it was time for me to continue onwards with Remnants. Before I could get to writing though, I knew I had to read through what I had, and plot out the rest. Cause the plot itself has changed a little bit since I first wrote most of it in 2015. Luckily, what I want to do will work with what I already have, so no major rewriting needs to be done at this time (later, well, that is another story).

I starter by reading what I had, and taking detailed notes along the way. I needed to have all the information that might come in handy later on, as well as figure out where things didn’t make sense. Good to know where I need to keep a close eye once I start editing the whole thing later on. I also notes down things I needed to research, and just things I should remember for later plotting.

It took me a few days to get through it all, and a few times I had to stop myself from starting the editing job right there. I need to continue writing though, and I know if I start editing now, I won’t be able to stop until I’m done. Considering how long I usually take editing, that won’t be good if I want to finish this book this century. In the end, I ended up with a ton of post-its, thirteen pages of detailed plot notes, and a small stack of other random notes and things to remember or research.

Some of my unsorted notes. Blurred due to paranoia.

I also realised that I have a chapter that’s over 11,000 words long! It took everything I had not to start splitting it into smaller chapters on the stop. There was also a random paragraph where I basically repeated what I had written two paragraphs earlier, but slightly rewritten and littered with spelling errors. Ah, the joys of reading unedited things from a Nanowrimo word war.

Once I had all my notes, I found my cork board (yes, an actual one, not the Scrivener one), and got to work. I like visualising my stories, getting the plot up on the board. Makes it easier for me to see the whole picture. Also, I like to organise stuff, and the cork board can get pretty darn organised if I want it to be! Once I got the plot down on notecards, and pinned to the board, it became apparent that something had to be done about the chapter length on the last two chapters.

The cork board of awesomeness!

With everything I have so far neatly organised, I can see clearly I have my work cut out for me. There are a few things I ned to get done in terms of wordlbuilding, before I can finish plotting the story itself. I have a pretty good idea where I want to end up, but how I get there is still up in the air. So here are some of the things I need to focus on for the next weeks, before I continue writing this in April.

  1. Worldbuilding
    • Planets, systems, ships, drifts, people, tech etc.
    • History; what happened before, how, why.
  2. Outline and plot
    • Get a general outline of what is going to happen
    • Plot the story in details

Two steps. Sounds easy enough. Shouldn’t be a problem at all.

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“Needs working title” has a working title!

Less than a week after I posted my list of awesome 2017 goals, I’ve completed the first of them. Basically, I rule! OK, ok. So it was probably the easiest goal on the list, but that doesn’t mean it was easy.

The thing about the first book in the fantasy series is that for years that is what it’s been called in my head. Even when I decided on a title, I still kept calling it ‘First’ in my head. It’s special to me, the first book I actually really worked on. So it’s been a little hard to reset my brain and come up with a working title that isn’t, well, just the word first. Cause it’s weird, and though it could work, it might also become confusing.

So, the mindset to alter my own reality had to be in place. Once I got there though, it actually wasn’t so hard picking a working title for the book. It was actually easy. I just had to be ready for it.

Without further ado, I give you the working title for the first book in the fantasy series:

Echoes.

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The Awesome List of 2017 Goals

I said this was coming. I meant it. I give you, The Plan! We’re on v.3.0 right now if I’m not mistaken. Some things have changed, some remain the same, and some may not see the light of day in 2017. But somehow I feel more motivated than ever to make all of this happen.

These are my goals for 2017
  1. “Needs working title” : Get a working title for the first book in the fantasy series. Still not ready to share the actual title, but I gotta call it something other that ‘first-book-in-the-fantasy-series’.
  2. “Needs working title” : Get started on the second draft. Ideally I want to finish it, but if I can get at least 60k words done this year, I’ll count it as a win. Mostly due to the heavy amounts of worldbuilding that will need, on top of the editing-slash-rewriting.
  3. Worldbuilding : Get started. You’ll never finish, but get at least three points finished on that night list you made last year. In addition to whatever you need to finish the first draft of course. This is for the fantasy-series by the way. Five books, massive amounts of worldbuilding needed. Gotta start somewhere.
  4. Remnants : Finish the first draft. That includes plotting, worldbuilding, and actual writing.
  5. The Afterlife Occurrence : Fix according to feedback from Catrine, and consider giving it to at least two other test readers to see what else need fixing. Then fix that as well. Query it!
  6. The Legacy Collection : Add another short story to it.
  7. TAO: The Sequel : Plot it, then rewrite what I have so it works with the new story.
  8. Untitled Norwegian project : I want to try writing in Norwegian. I prefer writing in English, which sounds strange I know, but it’s true. So working on this I hope will help me be a better writer in both languages. What I hope to do it plot the story, do some worldbuilding (thinking alternate universe urban fantasy, set in my home town), and complete a complete outline. If I can get the first chapter written as well, I’ll call it a massive win!

As you can see, I’m being realistic, while also keeping in tune with my own long-term plan (which goes to 2020 right now). Not gonna share that though, you’ll just have to stick with me until then if you wanna find out what’s on it.

Only keeping writing goals this yea. I want to do some bookbinding, blog more and find a way to get the dog to stop barking at nothing at 2 am. But I’m not gonna make them goals. Instead, I’m just gonna do it No list, no promise, just action.

 

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The totally not late 2016 review

Let’s all pretend it’s January 1st for a moment, and I’m about to go over how the past year went. Though, I suppose, the fact that this post comes in mid-February might be a good indication.

Let’s just say things didn’t go according to plan. The v.2.0 plan that is. It was big, it was awesome, it was a hill I simply couldn’t climb. Not everything went horribly wrong though.

First off, let’s review those goals shall we:

  1. TAO: Finish that third draft. All of it!
  2. TAO: “The Sequel”: Plot this out, and finish the first draft. You’ve got a lot of fix, as it went off the deep end last time you Nano-ed it. That whole revolution thing needs to die. Also, decide on a new title, as the new plot ideas don’t work with the old one.
  3. Remnants: Finish the first draft. You’ve got a great start last year, now is the time finish it.
  4. Remnants: Share on Wattpad! Finish the second draft, third draft, and fourth, if that is what it takes to get it to a point where you want to share it with the world. Remember, this is still a writing and editing exercise, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Any feedback, good or bad, will help you become a better writer.
  5. Worldbuilding: Finish the worldbuilding for the fantasy-series, to the point where you have what you need for the first books. You’ll never be completely finished, but get through what you need for the first two books. That includes getting a good grip on geography, history, and the majic systems. And yes, that is how you spell magic in the book. Cause you’re cool!
  6. Second draft of “needs working title”: Get that second draft for the first fantasy book written. Also, get a working title for it. Seriously! Then get through it at least once, mostly for plot and continuity this time. Third draft will be language and even more plot, but the second is where you fix the stuff that’s broken, plot-wise. And remember, it was in the second book you forgot a character for half a Nano, not this one, but there might (definitely will) be inconsistencies hiding in the shrubbery.
  7. Win Nanowrimo: You’ll win Nano again this year. Shoot for 75k, but anything over 50k is acceptable. Consider using TAO: the second, if you can fix the plot issues before November. If you can’t, write something else. Maybe something completely new?
  8. Bookbinding: You love this, but haven’t had much time for it in 2015. So for 2016, get better at it! Make at least one book a month, at least 12 during the year.
  9. Blogging: Blog often, both here and on your book blog. In fact, aim for once a week. You may not manage it, but try. And remember what Yoda says; there is no try. Or spoon for that matter.
  10. Read Catrine’s manuscript: Because you made a deal, and it deserves to be a goal. Also, you like even numbers. You had a specific date set, but you can’t remember what it was, so lets pretend it was February 1st and stick with it. So, read her manuscript by the end of January.

At first glance, 2016 wasn’t a good year for me. I’ve had some health issues (mostly resolved, in the I-got-better way. The what-the-hell-happened is still very much unresolved), during which I couldn’t focus om much of anything. Which sucked, but nothing to be done about that now. With that in mind, and looking at the things I did do, 2016 wasn’t all that bad after all.

First off, I finished the third draft of TAO! One big massive goal right there, smashed to bits. It’s off with Catrine right now, and hopefully once she get’s around to reading it, it will make a lot more sense than it did the first time around.

For TAO: The Sequel, I didn’t get much done. With the exception of picking a title! I don’t wanna share it just yet, in fear it might actually be spoilery. So I’ll need some second opinions on that before I reveal it. It’s a bit of a mouthful though, I can tell you that.

Remnants is still only about halfway done (I think). I ran out of time during Nano, and it’s been a struggle to get started on since then. I’m back into it now, plotting out that world, trying not to let my brain come up with even more stories to tell from that universe, and failing miserably. I have decided I may not want to go the Wattpad route with it after all, and instead focus on traditional publishing. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how I feel about it once it’s finished.

Worldbuilding (what worldbuilding?). Yeah, I suck. I know. I’ll get there though, I promise.

The second draft of Need-Working-Title has not been started. My brain wants more worldbuilding finished, except when I worldbuild my brain remembers there might be good stuff in the first draft that I’ve forgotten, so I need to find that before I can worldbuild. Yeah, it’s a fun little dance I do with my brain. It keeps jumping on my toes. In heels.

As for Nanowrimo last year. I nailed it! Oh yeah! Go me!

I didn’t get any bookbinding done, which is sad. I moved to my new apartment in March last year, and it’s taken me a while to get fully organised. Still not completely where I want to be, but for that to happen I need like four more rooms. I have too much stuff.

You all know I didn’t blog very often. I’ll do better this year, I promise? I’ll at the very least try my best!

Last item on the list was also the one I finished first. Reading Catrine’s first draft of RS. I read it, gave feedback, and am eagerly awaiting the complete next draft!

So, there you have it. 2016 in review. Well, at least the 2016 goals in review. It may not have been my best year, but I did hit some pretty big milestones. I moved into the first apartment that I own, which is awesome. I got my first dog, Moya, whom I love. I finished a second draft of a novel for the very first time, and realised just how badly I want to do this writing thing for a living.

I guess I’ll just have to start working twice as hard to make that happen!

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The light at the end of the tunnel

It’s been forever. Or months anyway. My last post was right as Nanowrimo was about to begin. I had big plans. Finish editing TAO, then write on Remnants. Thing didn’t go completely according to plan. But that’s ok.

Because I finished my third draft of TAO!

It just took a lot more words that I had anticipated, so there wasn’t any time to get started on Remnants. There are a few more things I want to do to the draft before I hand it over to Catrine again in a week. Hopefully at last some of them will get done.

It took me long time to get to this point, a lot longer than I had planned. I’ve come to realise, things seldom go according to plan when it comes to writing. Editing even more so. I still need to plan though. Figure out what I want to do this coming year, and then do my best to get as much of it done as possible.

I’m still working on the plan, version 3.0 at this point I suppose. I’m trying to decide if I want to be realistic, or go all in. Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

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Aaaand it’s November again!

It’s October 31st, less than three hours until midnight, when once again thousands of people – myself included – all over the world will start writing like mad to get to 50,000 words by December 1st.

I had intended to finish editing TAO by now, so I could focus on Remnants for Nanowrimo. That didn’t happen. I’ve been dealing with some health issues for the past six weeks, resulting in – among other things – exhaustion. Lots of blood tests and a stomach CT later, and we still don’t know why exactly. Not gonna go into boring details, but it has caused me to spend an entire month editing one chapter.

So for Nanowrimo this year I’m doing something different. I’m starting off editing the rest of TAO. At this point I’m rewriting everything anyway, so it’ll work out perfectly. Once I’m done with that, I’ll continue with Remnants.

Now, at some point I’ll have to sit down and plot out the rest of Remnants in detail, but I’m gonna wait with that until I’m done with TAO, as I don’t want to switch my focus right now.

I have to admit this is the first year I’m seriously worried about not being able to finish. But hey, I did it in 2011 when I handed in my masters thesis on November 21st and had 9 days to write 40k. So I can do it now.

I’ll probably have to plan on writing a lot during the weekends, as I may not have much energy lest over during the week after work and such. Moya will also be requiring attention, but that will be fine as well. If it comes down to it, I’ll do what I’m doing right now. Type in between throwing her toys for her to fetch.

I have a month of hard work ahead of me. And I know it’ll be awesome!

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Deadlines, and why changing them isn’t all bad

I write a lot about deadlines on this blog. Even more about sticking to them no matter what. And then about how I can’t stick to them. I guess sometimes you might think I would get more done if I stopped giving myself deadlines and just wrote at my own pace. There’s a good reason why I’m not doing that though. A really good reason.

If doesn’t work for me.

I did that, for years. And the only times I got anything done was then I met up with my friends to write, or the month happened to be November. Even with write-inns, I usually got less than ten thousand words written in total throughout the year. I’ve managed more than that in a day during November!

So, I give myself deadlines. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Or, they work, just not in time.

What I mean by that is that I work towards the deadlines, more than I would without them, but I don’t always finish by the set date. Through the past year you’ve seen that happened a lot on this blog. I set deadlines, and as they approach, I extend them. But that doesn’t mean I’m not trying. It’s just that a lot of the time, I’m so tired after work that I barely have the energy to walk the dog, let alone walk her, then make myself a nice healthy dinner and then sit down to edit for a few hours.

I’m taking steps to improve my time management, which in turn will hopefully help me get some writing and editing done during the week. I need to figure out a schedule that works for me in the long run. November is the exception, where I drop everything else to write. That won’t work for the rest of the year, not as long as I need to work full-time as well in order to pay the bills.

I’m trying out using a Bullet Journal, and I’ve come to the realisation I need a more realistic goal for my editing. Once that doesn’t require me to do at least two chapters a day on top of working and everything else. I’ve found I need to do a lot of rewriting for TAO (not a big surprise, this was a Nanowrimo novel after all), which takes longer than I’d like. But I’d rather extend my own deadlines and get a third draft that’s starting to look like something, instead of one that still needs massive work cause I wanted to finish faster.

Having talked it over with Catrine, we’ve got two new dates to work towards.

October 2nd : We’re gonna try to finish by the end of September. It gives us more time to plan the Nanowrimo novel and get ready for the November Madness.

October 16th : What we’re calling the absolute deadline. We’ll hand it over no matter what. This will give us 2 weeks to read the other’s book and give feedback, as well as plan for November. This will be like the December deadline last year. We’ll hand it over no matter what. Because at some point we really need to just do it, instead of extending it any more.

This gives me four to six weeks to finish. Now all I need is a plan that incorporates reading, relaxing, editing, and working. And then I need to stick to it!

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