Resolutions

Let’s see, it’s resolutions, is it? Okay.

Ordinarily I would spell out a few things and then hastily proceed to ignore them throughout the year, burying my na├»vely optimistic list in shame. I looked at the journal I was writing in last year and found a curious gap between November 2012 and April 2013. Granted, this is a personal journal, but I would like there to be no such massive gap between entries in any of my journals. Therefore…

Resolution #1: Journal more.

Which is completely different and distinct from…

Resolution #2: Write more.

2013 was a good year for me for writing. In addition to getting some solid work done, I renewed my confidence as a writer, and that is invaluable. My love for National Novel Writing Month cannot be described. It turned me from a sorry slob of a man making excuses for not writing into someone who feels a duty to get those imagined worlds out of my head and onto paper.

Resolution #3: Finish what I started.

This one most specifically refers to seeing my NaNo project through to the end and hopefully discovering that I am better at editing than I think and that it isn’t so dauntless a task. Right now I feel like my finished manuscript is a beast sleeping in the corner, lurking and ready to pounce when I open its binder to start eyeing it critically. My hope is that I will find I have all the tools necessary to tame it.

I could go on and make resolutions about health and exercise and eating vegetables, but that’s all very dull and I’m only here to talk about writing. I also feel that these are the resolutions I am most likely to fail at. I will write them in pencil on a scrap of easily-lost paper somewhere and beam with pride if I manage to fulfill them for a short time. Now that I think on it, though, I do have a final book-related resolution…

Resolution #4: Read more.

2013 was a year of ruts for me. I ended up rereading a lot of favorites instead of going out and discovering new material. I barely stepped out of my genre as a reader, which I think is important to do from time to time. I also did not read much from other aspiring authors, though I have been turning this around recently; a friend is writing short stories for her thesis and I have been reading them and providing feedback. So reading more does not just mean published books, but stories and novels that would like to be published.

I believe I will write these resolutions out and stick them somewhere near my desk where they can mock me if ever I stray from my intended path.

December so far

obsidian word count december

It’s a little disheartening to see how long it’s taken me to write another 10,000 words since the end of NaNoWriMo, but I just have to remind myself that I’m still doing far better than I was before November.

Fears about projects

Almost everything I have written was intended to eventually become a book. Yet when I used to refer to my writing, I would always call it a story or a project because I didn’t think I was serious enough to say, “I’m writing a book.” As though somehow, my dream of being published prevented me from calling anything I was working on a book, because a book isn’t really a book if it’s unpublished, right?

Now I’ve come to understand how that’s crap, how belittling my own work can lead to me taking it less seriously. There’s plenty of people in the world who will want to knock me down, I shouldn’t give them a head start by doing some of it myself.

I am a writer, because I write. Yes, I am unpublished, but I’m working on changing that. I am literally a few chapters away from finishing my first ever rough draft of a book. A real book with something like 300 pages. Perhaps I’ll soon discover that 300 manuscript pages is really tiny for a book, but during the mad rush of NaNoWriMo I found myself not having time to put in some things I meant to, little things like descriptions here and there, glimpses into characters’ pasts, and so on. During revision, I’ll get to find where best to insert those lost words.

I’ve never done serious revision of a long work before, and I am equal parts excited and afraid. I also feel relief when I think about NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?” months starting in January. They were so instrumental in keeping me motivated during November, so I hope it will be more of the same starting in the New Year.

Either way, 2013 is going to be the year I finished my first book. Rough draft of a book. Bah, semantics.

Introductions

This is my Yet Another Writing Blog, only this time in earnest (I swear!). I really ought to have started it back before November, but hindsight etc.

This is the year I decided to finally participate in the National Novel Writing Month, after years of giving myself excuses and saying it wasn’t serious enough for me, that I didn’t have the time, yada yada yada. How wrong I was. I barely scratched the surface of what NaNoWriMo has to offer; I dipped a toe into the forums and not much else.

The pep talks they sent out regularly were wonderful and made me feel like a writer again. I used to be so excited to come home from school, run upstairs and write for hours. I always had any number of projects going at once and my head bursting with ideas for them. Then I graduated, went to university, took a couple creative writing courses, and life got in the way. I didn’t make time for writing and I spent way too much time waiting for inspiration.

NaNo’s pep talks quickly divested me of the notion that inspiration exists and will flutter down and magically move me to put down an entire novel in record time. They taught me that I have to slog through it, most often when I don’t want to, if I want to get anywhere. Writing remains enjoyable, but it isn’t always, and I have learned to overcome those moments when I don’t know what to write next.

Now it’s December and I’m still slogging on, working to get the novel finished. 50,000 words was not enough to tell all of this story. My biggest problem so far with December was getting over the feeling of shame at not writing quite so much as I did in November. I’m still keeping track of my work count as a motivational tool, but it became demotivating as my average dropped to below 1,000 words per day. I managed to get past it by congratulating myself for having come so far already, and telling myself that 1,000 words a day beats my average for the past few years.

Lately, I’ve been printing out my novel a few chapters at a time, hoping to finish the first draft soon and begin editing. I haven’t made a decision yet as to whether I’ll set the work aside for a while before tackling Draft #2. I’d rather wait to see how I feel to see the whole thing printed out. This is what I’ve got so far, and it’s really awesome to see all of those pages sitting there. It’s roughly half the book, so knowing I’ll double that stack before I’m done is exciting.Image