Friday Morning Rambling and NaNoWriMo

I don’t recall exactly what happened in my dream last night.

I wish I did because they left me feeling pretty cheerful when I woke up.

It’s been a pretty odd week. For one thing, early on, I stayed up for 30 consecutive hours, hoping I could focus to finish my current work in progress in one day and night. I got a lot of words, but the book is still in process. I should be able to finish the book sometime between now and next Tuesday.

And yes, it is NaNoWriMo this month. Many writers of all kinds and commitment levels go to the trenches to try to write 50,000 words in one month.

I have done word counts like this before, but I’m a bit out of practice at the moment. Last month I almost managed it. This year, I’m not signed up to participate, but make no mistake, my goal is to write as many words as I can this month. No staying up all night, though. I want to make this more sustainable than my past mentality of writing as a special occasion (Which is silly for a lot of reasons, not least because it’s over half my job right now).

So, as November begins, let me encourage those of you doing NaNo to keep in mind sustainability for the future. A burst of words is a good time, but words week in and week out is even better, in my opinion.

Good day and good luck.

Thanks for reading.



Today I am officially OUT of NaNoWriMo for the year. Last year I thought about this time I would never try this challenge again. I’ve succeeded at this task before. I’ve done the same word count goal multiple times outside of the month of November.

This year my book was a badly cooked egg. For writers who don’t count on production to make money, this would not be a big problem. I am happy with my progress, but I pushed forward in a project that isn’t going to be useful for years. I need to edit. I need to finish projects with better premises. This one is going on hold.

I understand that the month isn’t over yet. I am not quitting writing. Hell, I know I’ll use at least parts of this story somewhere else. But for now, it goes in the trunk.

Until another day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

All Ways

So I took yesterday off, as planned, but on Saturday I had a lot of difficulty writing. Guess I’m not quite perfect at this productivity thing. That goes double because my editing has been really slack lately, and I had fully intended to do a couple of chapters a day.

I’m not pressuring myself to produce at this exact moment, hence the blog post. The reason I decided it was okay to let up the pressure is my knowledge of what happens when I clamp down on myself to push forward. Notice how ‘clamp down’ and ‘push forward’ are opposite metaphors? I don’t make much headway when I overly pressure myself to write.


Work still needs to get done, but it will get done only if I can relax.

Perhaps this is just the second-week doldrums I suffered during the last book I wrote. That makes this my second chance to tackle the problem since I realized it existed as a pattern. I hope to beat the doldrums by brainstorming more and injecting the excitement I get from storming into the current story.

Last week, at the apex of my glorious charge through the first 20,000 words of the current work in progress, I had an appointment with a counselor. I’ve been talking to this counselor about my life (And my writing productivity) for over a year, but this time I really ran at the mouth with excitement about the current project. That excitement is still present, but it is beaten down at the moment.

Pause that thought. Insight just struck.

I think I need to refocus on the POV character in the scene I’m stuck on. I like this guy, a special agent with magical powers, raised since childhood for this role, along with the other members of his team. He has an addictive personality, which is something I need to bring out. This scene will be good for that.

Hmm… Anyway, back to counseling.

What I talked about with the counselor is the same sort of thing I just mentioned about adding more idea. This book is already packed with craziness, from giant human-controlled monsters to spirit possession to magical powers mixed with near-future technological advances. Even so, I think there is room for more ideas, if not ones that are so obvious in the story-world.

I think it’s time to give this another try.

Thanks for reading.


The Power of Reasons

The weekend saw me finish reading a pair of books. I’ve tweeted about these a bunch already, and they made me very happy. For the last time, Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace is amazing. Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole is pretty phenomenal as well, especially for someone who enjoys speculative fiction and wargames like me.

I also wrote over 3000 words this morning, for my NaNoWriMo novel. Pretty happy about that. Two chapters hammered out.

I guess this post is kind of about those words. I chose to write them even though I had difficulty answering the question as to why I wanted to do this story. It’s going to be a complicated book, multiple POVs, weird speculative fiction elements, the whole nine yards.

Last week I hesitated to make headway into this book but now I know why. I did not trust my own enthusiasm for the initialization of the project. Even though I liked the design of my characters and the various weird complexes that stem from each of their pasts, I didn’t trust myself to take them seriously. The story is one of the most bizarre genre mash-ups I’ve ever actually worked on.

And the truth is, I don’t care that it might be too out there. I like the idea. I like the movement the story has going so far. This book is going to be pretty fast-paced, and I hope to race through it as fast as I’ve been going today.

In addition, there is still editing to be done on three of my past novels, including the one I just finished rough drafting this month. I want to be productive and prolific. Heaven help me, I may be on my way in that direction.

This post could be called the power or readiness. Recently I’ve been cutting down on my news-watching. I stopped watching The Young Turks, especially, because their negativity is just suffocating to my creativity. I don’t want to live a life that feels pointless, so that kind of thing has to go. Instead, I hope to read more books and watch more good TV shows. These are the sorts of fuel I need right now. And I need fuel.

The world should not get to seem as dark as it does on the news at my expense. So I choose not to watch any news. I want to be informed, and I hope to keep up. I don’t want to be naive. But I have reasons to move forward and my own path to cleave through this jungle, just as everyone does. No time to wallow in the sludgy mires of depression and doom.

The reason to write was always because I loved it. That strikes me as the best reason to do anything. I won’t go so far as to say its the only way to go. I don’t have that kind of certainty. I only know, I want to live this way.

Thanks for reading, and have a good day.


An End is a Beginning

I just completed another rough draft for a novel. It’s a short novel, but it will serve.

This is the first novel I have written to a finish for the year. By this time last year, I had done two. I got paid for one of those. It’s rough, but I think I’m getting stronger at this process.

I meet with my doctor today. It should be interesting to talk to her about my recent stoppage of taking my antidepressants. The truth is that I don’t think I could have completed this draft as quickly as I did without going off of them. My days became very flat and monotonous on them. Today, after a few weeks without those pills I feel like there are more possibilities.

And I just wrapped another story for the moment.

I am ready to start my character sketches for my NaNoWriMo project this year. Yep, I don’t have a lot of planning done. Tomorrow the writing will begin officially. Should be exciting. If I succeed at my goal of getting 70,000 in this book by the thirtieth, I will have actually accomplished the book-in-a-month goal even more fully than most writers who use this month. I’m still not sure I can do it, but I’ll be happy with what I get regardless.

At the moment, I’m psyched. I’m happy. I can’t exactly stay this way, but I can work on finding my way back to this point again and again.

Thanks for reading.


The Days Ahead

Like I frequently say I on this blog, I still have lots to learn. Lucky for me I have time to do it. For the first time in a few years I feel capable of doing what needs to be done.

What needs to be done?

Editing. Writing. Reading. Publishing.

I am enjoying the (lengthy) climactic sequence of this current book I have in progress. I will be starting National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a day or three into the month because of my slacking earlier this month. I have to finish the current book first.

That said, its becoming fairly easy for me to do 2000 to 3000 words a day, so I’ll catch up.

Three thousand words a day will be my work goal each day, but I have lots of rough drafts lying around in various states of completion, so I’m going to spend some time editing each day as well.

I’m going to leave reading as a lower priority for November, but plan to up my consumption of stories as I adjust to living out this new plan. I have a lot of books in mind. If anything I build far too many ideas.

Last of all is publishing. I will keep you all updated as I work toward that with the first few full novels.

Happy Halloween everyone! Thanks for reading.



I’m writing this as an introduction to my writing for today.

So far, getting up early has left me a bit of a slacker today. For some perspective, the sky is just starting to brighten as I write this. But I’m worried I may not be able to move forward from slackerdom to productivity land.

You see, I’ve been distracted by a different set of ideas from the story I have been writing. The current book is over 2/3 done, and I’m turning up the pressure a little. NaNoWriMo approaches, and I want to be done with this rough draft before November starts.

During a chat with one of my brothers yesterday, the issue of not finishing the editing of different works came up. Its true, I’m terribly inconsistent as an editor. Perhaps I would be better served this November by editing instead of writing a new book. Yet, I like the community feel of engaging in NaNoWriMo, and I am loathe to abandon it this year.

That said, I’ve only achieved the NaNo goal once during November. Its usually a positive experience, but last year I got hung up on the story in the middle. Things just aren’t going to get better until I fix my editing process.

As of now, I think I can do both. I think I can edit some during NaNo and write to the 50,000 word monthly goal.

But will those 50k matter if I can’t edit any books to completion? I suppose not. Just like the 43,000 words I have for the current book don’t matter if I don’t finish the story and then fix the issues that will inevitably creep in.

I’ve got things to consider for November. Who knows. Maybe I’ll be better off focusing on the edits for a sustained amount of time. If I can’t meet basic quality standards I can’t sell work. And that’s important to me. Like I mentioned in the last post, I care.

I care intensely about getting work out there. The sooner I can be ready to do that, the better.

There is a lot to do, but I have learned a bunch this year. Life isn’t getting any easier, but things won’t get better by cutting corners. I won’t get better by cutting corners. It’s the morning. I’m positive now. I have no doubt that by nightfall much of my positivity will be gone. Apparently thats just how I am.

Time to strike while I have the focus and drive. But where do I put this energy? Current rough draft is a good place to start. I have more than one mission objective. Writing new words is important, but its no longer the most vital part of the world.

Every time I write this blog I feel like I vacillate between chaos and control. Part of me thinks I can’t tell the rest of you what’s on my mind. Another part thinks explaining myself is the only way to feel better.

If the answer is just to get to work and stop hammering on this post I think I’d be alright going back to the book.

But first I’m going to try editing a little bit. Editing is not an intuitive process for me. I never know if I made the work better. It’s like when I mix tuna fish and mayonnaise. Its as though I forget what its supposed to look like when I’m done. I know what I like to eat, but I don’t understand how to get to that point.

I know what I like to read. But I don’t know how to make my books read that way.

Inevitably I dig deeper than I need to go. There are Balrogs down there, in the idea hollows of the earth. I want to make a difference with my work (Doesn’t everyone), but I also want to write things I enjoy. I want people to love my characters, but what little enthusiasm I can muster is usually for weirdness in settings and ideas these days.

I think I’ve always been this way. I guess people don’t interest me as much as they probably should. I like people. I like characters. I like the idea of them anyway. In experience I just don’t understand how they work.

Apparently I’ve gotten crazy. Chaos has taken hold in my life, even though things never seem to change.

What is the point of this rambling?

An exorcism of sorts.

I want to remove the junk thoughts from my brain so I can replace them with useful productive ones.

Maybe this post is like Julia Cameron’s morning pages in The Artist’s Way. I want to empty myself out. And then I’ll find myself filled up with joy once again.

I’ve been trying for a few years to discover what I had as a teenager when I started this writing that I now lack. I think I hit on a few possibilities. Novelty. Enthusiasm. Desperation.

From my college graduation up until this year I think I lacked the desperation. Now, I think I can say I’m getting desperate. So far, that hasn’t made me want to write more fiction.

Cross that one off the list.

Novelty is something I’ll doubt I’ll ever be able to retrieve for writing as a skill, and I think my enthusiasm really came from that. So what else is there? There is one thing. Interest.

Once upon a time I was interested in writing, in a way that I only wanted to TRY THINGS OUT. Techniques and story ideas seemed to vary so much I could keep practicing forever. At some point I stopped being in such awe of things.

The sky is brightening here in southern Minnesota. There are still clouds.

Isn’t that a perfect analogy? I started out writing in the dark. Now that I have illuminated the skill before me, I have run into additional challenges that darken my view.

Maybe not a perfect analogy. I’m not the sun, and I’m not the clouds. Every problem I encounter in writing these days is my own damn fault.

When I step back I see an issue I really want to tackle. That is issue is that I no longer see the challenges of learning as interesting. I’ve lost my sense of progress to a degree. Learning did not seem so impossible in the past. Maybe I’ve gotten too focused on product. I think that’s true.

The journey is where I spend all my time, but I’m only focused on the stops on my way.

This post has rambled back and forth. I hope some of you are still with me, but I don’t blame you if you didn’t follow me this far. I want to focus on process, not progress. How’s that for a new goal?

Thanks for reading.

I’m off to the page, either to write or to edit. Have a good day.