Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Third Winning of Nanowrimo!

Since 2005, I have won Nanowrimo three times. What makes this one really special is that I won a day early in a month where I had less time to write than the other two years that I won.

I think I can definitely say that doing Write 1 Sub 1 has helped me in this endeavor.

And so, as is the right of an official winner of Nanowrimo, I will now display my winning swag here on my blog. I may even get myself a winner t-shirt this year, too!

Congratulations to all the Nanowrimo winners, and to all the people who had the guts to give it a try. I wish you many more happy years spent lost in writing madness. One of my favorite places in the world. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Am a Writer!

I know a lot of people who do this whole crazy writing thing often think of themselves in terms of their day job when describing themselves. Myself, for example: I am a fitness instructor. That's my day job, the job that brings in the regular money.

"Writer" was always kind of secondary to my day job. Something I dabbled in on occasion, discussed with other writerly friends, and so on. I enjoyed it, but it was something just for fun.

Write 1 Sub 1 changed that. And subsequently, it has changed how I approached Nanowrimo this year.

I've been doing Nanowrimo since 2005. Each time (well, most times) I had a great story idea that I was excited to write, with every intention of finishing the story at some point in time, regardless of whether I won Nanowrimo or not.

Each one of those is sitting on a file on my computer, still unfinished.

With my participation in Write 1 Sub 1, I tackled a form that I'd never done beyond school assignments: the short story. And in following the format of the program, I've submitted most of my stories and had a total of twelve acceptances this year. (One story has been released back to me as the anthology was canceled, but it still was an acceptance.) So far, five of my stories are out in print form, one is an ebook, and the other five are part of a monthly online magazine. One of those will be in print form soon as well.

I received one of my contributor copies of an anthology in the mail last week. It was my second sold story of the year, with no payment other than the print copy. The biggest payment I received for a story of mine was $50. (But really, who's keeping track, right?)

But it wasn't until today that I suddenly realized how writing is taking precedence in my life.

I got a great idea for a story just before November. Didn't get much of a chance to work it out beforehand like I do with each of my short stories. I like to have a general guide for my story as I write, so I avoid rambling. So I started out with just a vague outline of the story from beginning to end.

My writing seems even more horrible than usual this Nano. I'm so intent on just filling the page with words, and this no longer seems functional to me. My characters seem flat, and most of the deliciously horrific elements I planned are simply not coming out as I pile on the words. I'm pretty sure that if I do decide to go on with this story after Nano, I will be chucking this one and starting all over again anyway.

But here's where the big realization hit me today: I've had a serious migraine developing since last night. I get those awful ones with huge pain, light sensitivity, and motion sickness. I can't move, I can't read, I can't watch TV, nothing. It all hurts too much. Luckily I don't get these any more than once every couple of months or so. Today I was trying everything to get rid of it, my headache balm, tea, aspirin, sleep, turning all the lights off and closing the curtains. Nothing touched it. (Usually sleep works, but not this time.)

I'm still catching up in Nanowrimo's daily word count. Supposed to be at 46,666 words today and I'm not there yet. I didn't want to lose another day and have even more to make up the last two days.

So I turned on my computer and started writing. I turned the brightness of my computer screen all the way down (to the last level before it turns the screen off), and then I plunged right in.

Last year I would not have done this. Last year, I probably would have just slept all day, hoping it would go away, and possibly not finish the Nanowrimo goal of 50k by the end of the month.

I actually had no intention of actually finishing this year. I figured there were too many days I wasn't going to be able to write to finish in time.

And yet I'm right on target now to finish in time. I think I'll be finishing a day early even, since we have a meeting tomorrow.

I credit my experience with Write 1 Sub 1 with this ability to finish in less available time than I've had in previous years. I think it's because I've made the habit of sitting down most days and writing whole stories in one or two sittings. Then polishing them up and sending them out has gotten me over stressing over every single word, and rewriting a hundred times.

Though many would say publication is the line between being a writer and just writing for fun, I think the fact that I was willing and wanting to write despite one of my nasty migraines says it even more.

I am a writer!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 11-11-11!

As I write this, I'm sitting at the Mat Su College with a bunch of other crazies doing 11 k on 11-11-11! They're meeting for twelve hours, from 11 am to 11 pm. Wow. I hope someone is able to cross the 11 k line today. I already know I won't be able to, but at the very least I want to catch up to the daily word count today. I've got another thousand to go. So far I've written 2,418.

As I go through Nanowrimo this month, I've noticed that I'm looking at it very differently after almost a year of doing Write 1 Sub 1. I now see the benefits and downfalls of doing Nanowrimo when it comes to my own personal writing. I get into a habit of writing a lot as often as I can. I have things like Nanowrimo Word Sprints on Twitter, and writing meetings that actually have writing happening at them. (The meetings have a tendency to be more social rather than writing, heeheehee.)

But I will say the quality of my writing drops quite a bit. Since it's more about quantity instead of quality, I write things that I normally wouldn't write. I push things along so fast to keep up with the word count, I have a tendency to lose control of where things are going, and that's not necessarily a good thing. Sure, I might stumble upon something good, but I don't really write well that way.

I think I've grown quite a bit while doing short stories for Write 1 Sub 1, and working under deadlines that are a lot shorter than a month. My style has changed. I no longer have the issue of actually sitting down and writing. Nanowrimo served it's purpose for me by getting me to actually write. I don't really have that problem anymore, so now I do it to explore ideas, to hang with my friends, and eat lots of candy. :)

Honestly, I don't see myself using anything I'm writing in this Nanowrimo novel. It needs such a complete overhaul. But I love what I'm learning as I go.

Happy Veterans Day. I appreciate our service men and women and the sacrifices they make in the name of our freedom. Blessings to you all.