Tag Archives: excuses

NaNoWriMo 2014 and Something, Something…Instagram!

Participant-2014-Twitter-ProfileI fizzled out on NaNoWriMo this year. I know, I know, I can hear you saying, “But it’s not over yet!” Okay, good point, but for me, it’s just not happening this year (despite how badly I want this “Slay 50K” T-Shirt!).

I have tons of excuses, all of which are just that, EXCUSES, and none the more probable truth that I just got lazy. But for laughs, let’s say we analyze a few of these excuses:

 

  • With my project this year to finish my Nano novel from last year, I quickly realized there wasn’t another 50k words left in it and feared that I was severely padding it. Participating in Nano last year was a great way to get started, but now I think what’s best for this novel is to do what I should have done in the first place, and that is slow down and finish the story at my natural writing pace, which is nowhere near 50k/month. (Make no mistake, I will finish this draft, but not before November 30th.)
  • After only one week, I felt like I was starting to burn out again, and didn’t want another eight months of barely writing such as what I experienced after Nano last year.
  • I’m stressed out over trying to find a new job. (I like this one, it feels very genuine!)
  • Perhaps it was just my way of distracting myself from the goal, but for some reason, my creativity was pulling me towards poetry. Being a true believer in following the muse and writing where the greatest energy is at the moment, I gave in and have let my recent focus drift into poetic verse. (Queue the opponents of  “hippie-dippie baloney.”)
  • I discovered Instagram, and have since found an uprising community of poets sharing their work to a receptive and welcoming audience. I have been enjoying the work of others and have also started to share some of my own. (Okay, not really an excuse, but makes for a nice segue into the rest of this post.)

Now for a word or two about Instagram:

Instagram

I still have no clue what I’m doing exactly, but have nonetheless been attempting this blending of media, writing and photography (even if it’s bad photography). I like that I can share my work in a more visual and striking manner, and it brings another element of creativity. Handwriting adds another personal touch (despite my atrocious handwriting). This has further kindled my desire to learn calligraphy, and eventually, with enough practice, I’d like to blend this art of beautiful handwriting with my words, perhaps even incorporate images to create something akin to the contemporary form of Japanese Haiga.

In just two short weeks on Instagram, I have been truly inspired by the work of some great writers, poets, artists, and photographers. Suddenly, my creative gears are spinning in exciting new directions and realizing a trove of possibilities. Honestly, I have no idea where this thing is going. For now I’m just learning, trying to post something every day, and happy to be part of this growing community of creative souls. So if you’d like, please join me and let’s take this journey together.

[P.S. Wasn’t this post supposed to be about NaNoWriMo?]

2014: The Year thus Far

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I’ve been away from the blog for a while, away from writing in general in fact. After “winning” NaNoWriMo last year, I decided to take a little break in December, which inadvertently turned into an extended hiatus from writing altogether. I had managed to hit the 50K word goal during the month while working full time, meeting various other obligations, and still spending time with my family, but by the end of it, I was tired, perhaps even burned out. So I decided to take a step back during the holidays, with a plan to return in January. My aim then was to finish the first draft of my Nano novel which, though it stood at 50,000 plus words on December 1, wasn’t (and still isn’t) even close to being a completed anything. I’d left the story dangling somewhere in the hazy middle, in the middle of a terrible and laborious storm if I recall correctly, and that is precisely where it stands today.

Now with the summer months nearly gone, I stand facing September as it screeches near, and I’m wondering where the hell the year went. I don’t want to make excuses for not writing and so I’m not going to dwell on the time lost. I just know this: it is time to get back to The Work. Okay, so not that work exactly. Not the half-completed nonsense novel thus far left by the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, I will finish that sloppy “zero” draft. I will eventually revise, rewrite, mold and sculpt it into something that hopefully won’t make your eyes bleed. But first I just need to get moving again, and I’ve got other projects that have been on the shelf which I feel I owe my obligations to at present.

Also, with another Nano approaching, I don’t think it’s too early to start planning the work to be done during this year’s madness. Yes, that’s right. I am crazy enough to do this thing again. This time however, I’d like to set a personal goal beyond the 50k word count. Hopefully, with a bit of planning and some time to conjure up a decent outline, I’d like to actually complete an entire draft during the month, so as to not end up with fifty thousand words of incoherent garbage that might one day resemble roughly half of a completed novel. My personal goal then will be to end up with fifty thousand words of incoherent garbage that might one day resemble an entire novel.

So I’ve had a wee little break but now I’ve got work to do. In the coming weeks I’ll be plotting and outlining the new novel as well as working to finish up another novel and a chapbook which have both been in the works for far too long. I’ll be making an effort to post more regularly to the blog, if for nothing else than to pop in and say “hi” and tell you what I had for dinner. No. I won’t really do that. No one really cares about that. But I do have a few ideas to expand upon the current content and make it reflect additional topics outside of writing. Perhaps that will liven the place up, make it more fun, like some sort of futuristic cyborg monkey disco. Wouldn’t that be cool? Anyway, I believe I also promised some posts on the NaNoWriMo experience, so as we draw closer to this year’s event in November, I’ll try to post a summary on my thoughts from the chaos of 2013. So until next time, be cool, be safe, and just write!


I’m Not Dead: Balancing the Equation in My Writing Life

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I’m not dead. Not yet anyway.

That’s pretty much all I wanted to say, but if this is going to become a real post, I’d better make up a few more words. I could always explain things, tell you loyal readers why it’s been so quiet on the writing front these days, but I’m sure no one is really that interested.

Oh what the heck, I’ll just do it anyway. Besides, I need to find more ways to stretch this thing out, haven’t I? So then, what I’d like to do is elaborate on the things in my life which have caused my writing to slow down, and then explain my strategies on how I plan to overcome them. If you are bored with all the personal details, just hang in there and keep reading…I promise there’s a nugget or two in here somewhere.

So here it is, the reasons why productivity has slowed down so drastically in my writing world. It can easily be summed up with this simple mathematical formula: Writing productivity is inversely proportional to the intensity of real life. That is, as one speeds up, the other inherently slows down. So what has been causing the intensity of my life to increase so much? Work of course is the big obvious and boring reason, so we’ll just get that one out of the way. There! That feels much better. Now on to the more important issues.

Buying our first home has been one of the biggest challenges my wife and I have ever faced, from the initial and grueling home search, to obtaining the financing and gathering all the countless documents that go along with it, to a myriad of other hiccups, bumps, and catastrophes along the way which I don’t have the space nor the patience to get into here. We finally closed on our first home just four days before Christmas and orchestrated a complete DIY move over the course of the next week between Christmas and New Years (with a bit of help from our friend, Lisa…thanks Lisa!). Oh, and did I mention that our second child was born just three days after Christmas? So that means I practically moved an entire household by my lonesome while my wife was recovering from childbirth all while helping to care for our newborn baby boy and very active two year old daughter. Whew! Makes me exhausted again just typing it all.

So now what? Well there are still countless things occurring on a daily basis such as work, getting settled into our home, and taking care of the family which can all decrease writing productivity, and I know that this trend will never change. After all, such is life. So how will I manage all this and still remain productive in my writing? How will I bring balance to the equation? Not-so-simply this, I must carry on and try to become more creative when it comes to finding ways to squeeze in the time to write. (A bit like trying to squeeze lemon juice out of the peel, but nonetheless, it CAN be done!) That means analyzing how my time is spent overall and looking for ways to skim a little time off the top of other activities (i.e. sleep, surfing the internet, World of Warcraft), then arranging and compiling that time into blocks, chunks, and snippets which can be reallocated for writing.

I will use this time to update the blog as I can, and conceive of ideas to help generate content and traffic flow in ways that will require less of my time, hence using more of my endless creativity. I will also be behind the scenes organizing and editing two nearly completed chapbooks, slugging away at final edits on my novella, shopping around a few completed short stories and poems to various markets, and starting up another large scale writing project as well.

To summarize all this gibberish, all I can do to rise above the delima of not having the time to write–and bring balance to the equation–is to get extremely creative in my time management. With that, I must make the absolute most of the precious time I do manage to set aside for writing. I heard it said recently that not having enough time is one of the biggest falacies we give ourselves to use as an excuse. And in a way this is true. Everybody, no matter who you are, has exactly the same amount of time each and every day. It is what we choose to do with our time and how we use it that makes the difference in our success. While I agree with this for the most part, I will say that whoever first came up with this idea, certainly did not have children.

What about you? What creative ways have you come up with to find more time to devote to your writing or other projects?


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