Category : Writing

4 posts

I felt it slowly happening over time…I used to write about all of my thoughts and feelings; it was a therapeutic process for me. I didn’t write for the entertainment of others; I did it either for my own enjoyment or my own therapy. As time went by, I no longer felt like documenting these thoughts any longer. I would mainly use conversation or messages to others as an outlet, but I would stop blogging.

For me, the main benefit of writing is that it forces you to re-evaluate everything and dig deeper into the matter. Somehow over time I just didn’t feel like doing that any longer. It felt easier to just either ignore it or express my feelings in real time to other people (good and bad thoughts alike!).

Sometimes I think, Hmm…it would be great if I can sit down later tonight and just write out all of the thoughts that I’m currently musing about…things that make me happy, things that make me sad. Things that are likely too personal or mundane that I would not like to bother other people in my life with. Or maybe things that I would like to look back on someday and read again. But…when nighttime arrives, I will have done something else (whether it’s spending time with my boyfriend or watching a show or doing something mindless) and the idea of getting back into writing becomes just a passing thought.

I’m not sure if I want to get back into writing, but the fact that I’m doing this now makes me think perhaps I do. I wonder if I “force” myself to do a little bit at a time, it will come back to me and become natural again. I wonder if written thoughts and feelings will still be as beneficial and therapeutic for me as they used to be. It doesn’t hurt to try…so we shall see. I think I’m at a place in my life right now where I’m happy in having achieved so many things but I’m at a standstill where I’m not actively working to challenge myself or go back to doing things I loved but never had time for. Writing again is an easy first step, I think.

These are the ten things NaNoWriMo has taught me, and hopefully they can serve as helpful tips for future NaNoWriMo participants. I didn’t think I’d actually get the chance to write this list because it seemed like I was going to abandon NaNoWriMo halfway through the month, but here I am! ^_^ (NaNoWriMo, if you are unaware, is National Novel Writing Month and takes place in November, where the goal is to write at least 50,000 words for a story. All participants are encouraged to have fun, keep writing, and get support from other fellow writers in the community.)

  1. Do edit or don’t edit as you go along – it’s up to you. But never lose sight of your goal – which is simply put: WRITE 50,000 WORDS! If you start getting so caught up in planning and editing and revising that you’re starting to wonder if you’ll be able to reach the 50k goal, STOP IT and just write.
  2. Skimping out on just one day doesn’t seem so bad – until the following days when you realize it’s already a struggle to meet the bare minimum of each day…PLUS the extra words you have to write in order to catch up! So, beware!
  3. On the other hand, for some people, skipping days, a week, or even weeks is something that really works for them. For some of us, that feeling of intense pressure to meet a deadline is exactly what we need to pull out the creativity or just pump out those words fast.
  4. If writer’s block hits you, or you spend more time just sitting there thinking than you do writing, it’s time to write up an outline of your entire story. Work on it until you have enough to get you through a lot of writing without having to stop and think hard about where you’re going next. Once you’re ahead, keep adding to the outline everyday.
  5. DAYDREAM as much as you can when you’re not writing! NaNo got me thinking…why don’t I daydream like I used to when I was a kid? I used to daydream all the time when I was bored, or doing chores. Now I find myself with an empty mind while I do mundane tasks, or I am worrying about other things. Instead, daydream! It really helps when you finally sit down to write and all these ideas have already been playing out in your mind.
  6. See your work in progress as a FRAMEWORK, not a masterpiece. You are building up the skeleton, so you can flesh it out later. You’re building the framework of your house first, so that later you can add walls, and eventually, add all the furniture & decorations in the exact places you want them to be! Writing a novel is really complex. You want it to be believable, relatable, meaningful, and compelling. Sometimes thinking too hard about what you want your story to be kills your creativity before you can even get started. That’s where I think NaNoWriMo really comes in handy! It’s reminding you that the first step, which is full of flaws, is crucial!
  7. You might need a buffer zone! November is a great month to write a novel…but then there’s Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, and other things that will happen (like exams or just plain life happening!). So although 1700 words a day is ideal, it’s necessary to really take it beyond that if you want to make your goal, or be prepared to write thousands of words at a time to catch up. NaNoWriMo is theoretically 30 days – but with real life, it is totally NOT. Every day that you shave off gives you even less time to write.

    What if you’re sick for one day, have a big exam one day, celebrate Thanksgiving one day, go to Black Friday the next, and go on a well-anticipated mini-trip with your friends on one special day. That’s FIVE days you’d end up taking off completely or skimping on words big time. Holy mackerel, that leaves you with a NaNoWriMo that is actually 25 days! If you want that much of a safety buffer, you’re going to need at least 2000 words a day instead of 1700! (Note: For Nov. 2012, I technically wrote for only 22 days because I ended up skipping on writing for 8 whole days!)

  8. Make use of the forums and community at the NaNoWriMo website. There is so much help and encouragement offered there; you’ll be amazed at what you were missing out on once you decide to join in. Need help with a plot hole? Need to know how guns work? Need to find someone else with your word count? Need someone to stay up with late at night while writing? Need someone to listen to your complaints? Need some encouragement? It’s all there! Doing it alone can be a little discouraging and lonely…but it doesn’t have to be done alone! I almost gave up halfway through the month, but the positive energy kept me going.
  9. If you need to keep a flow of constant words going, then it’s time to skip around in your novel. A LOT. Especially if you are in the last stretch and need to hit those 50,000 words, this is going to be crucial for you. Thanks to the NaNoWriMo community, I discovered Write Or Die, which will help you stay focused and write non-stop for your chosen amount of time. Once your words start slowing down and you are thinking, “Hmm, what should happen next?” Just STOP THERE completely and move on to a different scene. If you keep doing this, you will keep a constant flow of words and the fresh ideas will keep you writing at a good speed. This was the only way I could get my last five thousand words in (my own personal) record time because I would have taken FIVE hours for five thousand words if I had continued writing at my normal pace.
  10. 50,000 is just a number that was chosen to help us push through and write a lot of words in a short period of time. Some stories will be much shorter, and some will take much longer. The point of NaNoWriMo is to let out the creativity and writer inside of you, especially if you’ve lost it or never tried bringing it out in the first place.

I DID IT! I participated in NaNoWriMo 2012 and successfully completed it! National Novel Writing Month took place from Nov. 1st until Nov. 30th, and the one and only goal was to write a 50,000 word story (completed or not). This was something I had dreamed of participating in ever since high school, but the month of November always seemed like such a busy month for academia. When I was younger, I used to roleplay stories and ideas in my head all the time. The material for fictional stories was endless, but when I started getting caught up in school and getting older, it dwindled until there wasn’t much left. Even when the creativity was flowing freely, I never could sit down and finish writing a completed story. I always ending up writing snippets of scenes, but I could never write one full piece.

Victory badge

NaNoWriMo is looked down upon by a lot of people, believe it or not, but I find it a really inspiring event. It’s an event to abandon your fears and inhibitions, to find camaraderie among other aspiring writers, to practice writing under pressure, to get into the habit of writing daily, to give yourself a tangible deadline, and to push yourself to do something difficult.

A fifty thousand word draft is forty thousand words more than I have ever written for a story before, so to finish 50k in less than a month’s time feels like such a great achievement. Although I hit the 50k mark, I did not complete my story. If I were to estimate the word count of the final, completed story…it’s hard to say, but I would guess after revision, adding things, and deleting things, it will be somewhere between 60k and 90k. That’s still a lot left to write and a ton to edit…so this is a work in progress that will take a long time if I ever want to see it completed. Here’s the thing, though. Without NaNoWriMo, I wouldn’t even have gotten to this spot! I would have been 50,000 words less with no story at all. My story, by the way, was conjured up on November 1st, so I really started thinking about it on the spot. @_@


I really love looking at the progression of my writing in the graph. The straight gray line is the target amount of words you should be reaching every day if you want to write the same amount of words every day until you finish at day 30. Up until day 25, it really looks like I was a slacker who didn’t have a chance in finishing. Then at day 25 I started busting my butt to get a LOT of writing done. A surprise victory! In a nutshell: I basically started off NaNo being pretty good at staying close to the target amount. Then I started slowing down and falling more behind. Next, I went into a period of over a week where I just wasn’t feeling it anymore, went into denial, and eventually I was ready to give up. Finally, I pulled it together and made a surprising comeback.

After getting more involved in the forums at the NaNo site, I was inspired by all of the people still staying in the game and trying their best, despite there being some people who were in even worse shape than I was! So everyday I worked harder at raising my word count. The last few days were truly hardcore as I went from writing 3k a day, to 5k a day, and finally 10k in the final day!

The last two days of November were really draining on me. On Thursday night, I made it my goal to hit 45k before I went to bed – which was 4:30am. Then, on Friday I woke up at 8am to go sample sale shopping with a friend and my boyfriend (will post about this later!). We spent the whole day and I didn’t get home to start writing until past 8pm so by then I was exhausted AND terrified of not being able to finish in four hours! I made a few changes in how I approached my writing speed and made words fly everywhere…and somehow I reached the finish line. I celebrated by opening the box of foldable shoes (will also post more about later!) I had gotten in the mail and tried on all of the cute clothes I got for dirt cheap at the sample sale.

It was pretty amazing. NaNoWriMo is over, but I don’t want to abandon my story just because NaNoWriMo is over. Here’s hoping I can see the completed ending and revision of the story someday!

Stay tuned for my list of 10 things NaNoWriMo has taught me! And just a lot of blog posts from me in general.

Hello everyone! Honestly, I wasn’t sure when my next blog update would be! I’m so glad that it’s…well, right now. I told myself I wouldn’t update until after I caught up with my word count for NaNoWriMo. Almost a week passed by and I still had not caught up yet!But here I am, finally, phew!

Candy Corn Nails

Well first of all, happy belated Halloween! I’ve been trying to keep up with my jogging a few times a week, and every time I make rounds throughout the neighborhoods, I just love looking at the houses. Decorated houses are so much fun to look at. We saw some awesome looking ones that went all out with mazes (complete with walls that indicated entrances and exits) that they set up! On Halloween night, my boyfriend drove us past the house on our way home just to see if anyone was there. It was a big hit. A lot of kids and older teens were seen congregating in front of the house. It was complete with screams and another house next door playing loud dance music and flashing lights. Now that is what I call a fun night. :p

I’m “too old” to celebrate Halloween in the form of trick-or-treating anymore – which I totally get because if I were the one giving out candy, I’m expecting to see cute little munchkins in costumes, not pimple-ridden older kids/adults begging for free candy. :D So now I’m at that age where celebrating Halloween means wearing lingerie and calling that a costume, and drinking alcohol at a party. For the record, I’ve never done either of the above…yet?

Anyway, I digress. For Halloween I attempted to continue on my quest to study for my entrance exams. To make it more fun (or as close to fun as you can get when you’re studying for stuff you don’t want to study for), I study a lot with the boyfriend. We’re never studying for the same thing (we’re on different ends of the spectrum in terms of career goals), but having the support & company there is all that you really need sometimes. Well, anyway, I say “attempt” because it’s Halloween. Ended up giving out candy instead, despite the fact that not that many kids came around to his area.

When we went back to my house, we kept the lights off and played Slender Man the game. (Which basically consisted of me watching the boyfriend play :p ) Have you ever heard of Slender Man? He’s basically a creepy, very tall (obviously slender) guy(?) in a dark suit with no face. If you look at him, you start to lose your sanity and in the game your video camera goes all wonky. Afterwards, if you can’t escape, who knows what he does to you. The game had a spooky atmosphere – everything was a little too quiet for comfort – but it wasn’t too bad at first. Your goal is to go around and find eight pages. It started picking up when Slender Man kept making his appearance more and more often! Me: “Wait, go back in the building, I think you might have missed something since you didn’t look left and right…” Him: *serious tone* “No, I can’t go back in there.” Hahaha. I think after finding like 2 pages, we took too long so our flashlight battery died. It was only time before Slender Man got us. We knew he was coming – our light source had died! And yet…still…we both screamed like little girls when he teleported in front of us & hijacked the screen, scaring the bejeebus out of us. We had a good long laugh after that. My mom asked me the next day if I was watching a scary movie because she heard us screaming downstairs. :p

And now, NaNoWriMo business! National Novel Writing Month! The goal is 50k words in 30 days. Oh Boy. Like I said, today was the first day I finally CAUGHT UP on my word count. I’m finally at 10k words and today is the end of Day 6!

I’m struggling. It takes me WAY too long to meet my daily word count because I can’t shake the habit of spending too long planning and not actually writing. Nitpicking and editing! You’re encouraged to just keep writing with complete “literary abandon” but I am struggling hard with this idea! *sweatdrop* But boy do I wanna reach the end!

This might be a really bad idea when I’m trying to study for my OAT exam but NaNoWriMo has been one of my dreams since high school (now a college graduate). And I’ve always wanted to write a completed novel ever since I was a child (published or not). So I’m gonna tackle this dream, finally! I don’t know how the consequences will be on my OAT studying, and I don’t know if I’ll even be able to finish NaNoWriMo. But I’m gonna try. Are you in? Either way, I’m gonna need the encouragement. :p