NaNoWriMo 2016: Why Your Word Count May Not Be as Bad as It Seems

I took a bit of a hiatus with this blog last month in order to fully focus on Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). This is my first year participating in Nanowrimo, now that I’m done with school and have more mental space to focus on such an undertaking.

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   I must first establish that I did not follow the traditional rules of Nanowrimo, but rather used it as a means to accelerate my own personal goals with what I have going on. I made my own rules. I’m not sure if this is frowned upon, or practiced by others, but nonetheless it is a time of dedication and perseverance for any writer. My goal for November 2016 was to finish the third part (out of nine parts) of my novel, from wherever I was able to get to in October. To some, this may not count as participation, but in my circumstance it does parallel the conventional rules. In my story, one part is an entire lifetime, an entire short story. So although the words are few, there is a lot that takes place, a lot that needs to be planned and outlined, and a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration to ensure that I convey the message and create something that flows with adjoining lifetimes.

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In addition to this, my novel is written in first person point of view. With first person point of view, there is an element of submersion that is often overlooked when calculating projected word counts that are appropriate given the amount of time put in. However, this is a discrepancy. Third person point of view is much easier to take on. The writer only has to tell the story from their God-like perspective, all high and mighty and full of confidence. But when writing first person narrative in fiction, there is a humbling amount of energy and mental resources that has to be put forth into experiencing first hand what it is that you’ve dreamt. It is the difference between getting into the water and swimming the laps, and watching someone from afar, describing the sore muscles and exhaustion. Another example is a commissioned painting. When you pay someone to paint something for you that requires design work, you are not just paying for the time it took for that person to sit down and physically complete the task. You’re paying for that three extra hours they took trying to determine what style, and additional elements they should add to it to make it whole.

This is something easily understood, and even perhaps well known, but I rarely see this come up on blogs or podcasts. Perhaps it is too obvious? Not worth going into detail? Either way, I find this very important to keep in mind so that I don’t inadvertently get bogged down with meeting low word count goals in comparison to others. As long as I spend a part of every single day advancing the story, that is an accomplishment to me. I am too busy making something real, so much so that I have no time to make something straightforward.

Let me just say that I am not saying anything negative towards third person narrative. If anything, I envy those who write in that framework and wish I was able to make life easier for myself in that way. However, if you are a fiction writer, especially of fantasy or scifi, who likes to write in first person, please take this message to heart. Do not ever feel badly about taking extra time to figure out the bigger picture, or minute details of what you’re writing. In the long run, it will only help the finished product, perhaps even pushing it past something that’s good to something that is extraordinary. You wont find out while trying to produce words for the mere sake of producing words.

If you participated in Nanowrimo this year or in past years, let me know what your experience was like.

Until next time…

Kerry Jane

If you like my work and would like to see my creative projects come to fruition, please support me on Patreon. Just $1 a month earns you mention on my blog posts with links to your website, if you have one. There are, however, a variety of rewards that I’m offering, so be sure to check them out.

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Conquering Writer’s Block Through the Use of Alternative Creative Outlets

   A lot of my followers are creative individuals. This has encouraged me to write a short piece on my own methods of maintaining an expressive lifestyle.

   I have found several pursuits that help me think when I’m in a rut, or experience an obstacle in my writing. For everyone, this distraction will be something different. I am only sharing what works for me, and perhaps it’s something strange that you haven’t considered or might like to try. I’ve incorporated these activities into my daily routine, and have found that I experience less blockages because of it. I’ve never considered myself an artist, but refocusing my attention on drawing, oracle cards, gardening or painting keeps me in a receptive state while also distracting myself from the problem at hand.

Its all about keeping the flow going while taking your mind off the problem. I don’t really care so much about what I’m creating as I am about making something, anything. I draw when I see something and want to learn the nuances of its definition. I paint when I want to feel and experiment with colors and textures. I pull a card from an oracle or tarot deck when I want to reach out to the universe or my subconscious.

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Oracle cards are a visual and tactile way to connect and to be receptive. Although they are a way to physically connect with something for those who are spiritually curious, oracle cards can also serve as an awesome writing prompt. Not just because of their thought-provoking images, but because of the insight of their messages. They might spark a realization that you couldn’t come to on your own. You may also find a consistency in the messages, and feel compelled to learn and share it. Thats how my recent post The Utility of Doubt, Lethargy, and Other Perceived Negatives came about.

Although I already have a story in progress and have not had the need to do this yet, here is an example of a Tarot writing prompt:

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1. Character; 2. Setting; 3.Underlying Motivation; 4. Conflict; 5. Pathway; 6. Outcome

In addition to forming outlines, this method can be used for character development and specific scenes.

Even coloring can be a simple distraction. If you are a writer, reading helps collect tools for your creative toolbox whilst remaining in the realm of words.

When all else fails, take a walk at an inspiring location and listen to some music.

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Creating for the sake of creating is one of the most empowering activities we can do. As any creative will tell you, the mere act of manifestation is the most fulfilling aspect of the process. It brings you back to yourself, your center. You learn how to draw from an internal pool of infinite creation and possibilities. It can be a visceral experience at times. I often imagine having to pull what I want to make from my own heart or mind, and channeling it based on intention. It brings you back into your power in a world where we normally just let things happen to us, rather than taking control of what we want to make happen. You go back to a place where you feel confident enough to create whatever is meant to be created despite what the ego is trying to manifest, or the direction it wants to steer you in.

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Photo Credited to DELA

New Pages – Playlist for Writers!

For this week’s post, I would like to introduce two new pages that I added to my site. I have a variety of followers that come from several different backgrounds, but many tend to be fellow writers. For this reason, I wish to share something that is an indispensable part of my creative process. I have made a ‘Playlists for Writers’ page with songs that have been particularly helpful for me, and might be beneficial to you, whether it’s for writing or any other kind of creative work. Here is an example of a playlist that you can find on my page:

I’ve also added a page for anyone who would like to support me and my writing. There you can find a banner to sign up for Inboxdollars, an easy way to make some cash online. There is also a link to Thrive Market, an online store for those who want organic food at a price that falls within their budget. Signing up through either of these links will help to feed me, and to raise money for the illustrations that I need professionally done for my novel.

This might be the last post for a while, as I have a wedding and road trip planned for next week. I hope everyone has a lovely week and fulfilling weekend!

 

 

 

Tools For Writers

For the past year, I have been searching endlessly for ways to enhance my writing, and most of all stay motivated.

Tirelessly looking for ways to expand my outlets and reach out to as many as possible took a toll on my outlook of the internet and how helpful it could actually be, especially when I was very eager and could not find one effective resource to satisfy my need for progress.

However, my efforts have not been futile, and I’ve put together some useful findings that I’ve discovered through my search.

1. 20lines.com

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This is my personal favorite. Its as if WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter had a baby, and then made it completely devoted to people who enjoy writing – in nearly all its forms *heavens open up and music is heard*.

Relatively new to the US, it originated in Italy and has gained popularity in other parts of the world. When you sign up, you have a profile that you publish stories to, essentially building your own portfolio and allowing fellow 20liners to like, comment, repost or follow your work. If you’re wondering where Twitter comes in, its because you assign hashtags to the stories that you publish, making your work easy to find by the material. Also, the content published by 20liners is broad. Ive seen everything from poetry, to journal entries, and fictional series that are published one short entry at a time.

The great thing about this website is that if you’re like me and thinking about publishing one day, you have an entire community that has a love of words, ultimately relieving the need of having to pin down a target audience (unlike WordPress where it often takes a while to find your own niche within the mass cacophony of motives and genres). When I publish my story 4 years from now, it is likely that I will have over 200 people following my profile. This is 200 people who love words and had an interest in my story. I’ve already had 4 people contact me and tell me they are looking forward to the end product and are ready to buy a book that has not been written yet.

Here is my 20lines Portfolio

2. HelpMeWrite.co

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HelpMeWrite is a web app that allows you to post writing ideas to an audience who tells you that they would like to read it by casting a vote (simply clicking “I would like to read this”). When you finish the idea, you can publish it to an audience who casted this vote:

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This app is very new to me. I’m not sure it will be the most helpful outlet personally, since it uses Twitter and I am not a frequent user  (and actually had to make an account for the app). However, I do believe it could prove to be worthy for those who are already well established on Twitter. This app is best for gaining the motivation you need to pursue an idea that you have.

Follow me on HelpMeWrite

3. Scrivener

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This is more well known than the previous two, so I won’t go into too much detail.

Scrivener has become very popular for writers, and for valid reasons. It is software made for authors, a tool to organize their thoughts, ideas, research, and documents. The first thing I did before entering a single word of my story onto my computer was buy scrivener ($45) and it is one of the most beneficial decisions I’ve made. Im so organized that it is actually difficult to get lost or distracted with what I’m working on. Time isn’t wasted on trying to collect thoughts and synthesize what you want to convey. Its all right there, saved and ready to be built and refined.

I hope some of you have found this useful. Other than this blog, I post and share content like this on Pinterest, and now Twitter. If you have either of these accounts and are interested, follow me!

Happy Writing ❤

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