November 17, 2014

Lessons Learned from NaNoWriMo 2014

 1. I really, genuinely miss PvP.

I get up at 5:00 in the morning and hope to get 2,500 words down. I can normally muster 1,000 of that before actually starting my day sometime around 6:45. During every down moment, I'm writing, whether it's in the actual draft, my plot notes, or even just a random snippet about an unrelated character off to slay a dragon. As long as I'm writing, my brain remains in the necessary state to be creating. And trust me, it's been tough.
I'm sitting at one day behind (Nov. 4th), meaning that I'll finish my NaNoWriMo goal around the 11th of November. Since I'm going at triple-speed, I'm already feeling the mental aches and pains of the infamous Week Two Blues. My characters are dull streaks of coffee or tea on an un-sanded wooden table, mere blemishes on an unfinished surface. My thumbs ache, too.

On the first morning of NaNoWriMo, before the pain set in, I was spending the night with friends to lighten the tension. I woke up at about 2:00 AM and saw something flashing on my friend's screen. I recognized it immediately from my PAX adventures. "Fizzy," I grumbled, lifting my head from my TARDIS pillow, "It's two in the morning. I think you've played enough matches." Yes, there was my friend, the League of Legends player. And how I continue to commend her efforts, watching her play a champion with her tightly-knit team.

Yes, PvP...getting mauled by Musketeers, pommeled by Privateers, and gracefully losing to even fellow Swashbucklers. It's not necessarily my forte, but getting down and piratey is something I've taken for granted way too often before I restricted myself from doing so. When I hit the halfway point, I'll be checking in for some PvP, definitely!

2. Goals are for complaining about.

I'm not writing right now, and by the Frogfather, I should be. My loss. I've spent the entire evening watching TV, eating candy, and doing everything but write my own manuscript, including start a short story about (Yes, you guessed it) a random character off to slay a dragon. 5,000 sci-fi words a day have turned out to be much more of a pain than I had expected.

On the first day of a NaNoWriMo event, everything is fun and easy. Characters are finally being delved into, and settings are glowing at their brightest and best-described. Week two of the event is known as the 'Week Two Blues', and for a very good reason: After all the hype from the first week has died down, getting back into the motions for a whole 'nother week is a lot different. A lot harder. A lot more creative, if you succeed and power through it.

I guess it would be nice to make an analogy to my pets in Pirate101. I want to train one up, and I want to train a good one, at that. That's also difficult. Making sure to keep training, having a high stock of the correct pet snacks for feeding, and patience if a pet doesn't turn out are all very important considerations when it comes to pet training in particular. Since I fell out of the habit of training my clockwork owl, I have seen the goal of training my pets as a chore and something worthy of complaint. Get this - it's a good goal. Every year, I complain about NaNo to no end, and what do I come out with? Some great, wacky writing.

— Evan Silver (@EvanSilver_) November 15, 2014

@SheldonCentral @DSDevereaux stop favouriting and write!!!

— Bloody Sheldon (@SheldonCentral) November 13, 2014

@DSDevereaux Aren't you supposed to be writing a novel? :P

— Swordroll (@Swordroll) November 13, 2014 

3. I need my friends

(Cont'd on 11/16) "I'll be off of Twitter," I said, "I'll get more work done!" Well, that didn't last three days. I was already checking in constantly and trying not to Tweet, trying to write instead...but it was plain obvious that I missed all of you so much. Sitting here with less than 10,000 words to write, I cannot emphasize this point more. I miss every single #Twizard and blog reader.

And if it weren't for you guys, I probably wouldn't have made it as far as I have. From witty replies to words of wisdom and celebration for every little step taken, all of my friends in the community have propelled me forward to write more words, to squeeze in another 200-something before sleeping...or to take a break and watch a little TV.

4. It's not about the words at all.

At the beginning of the event, I was crunching numbers. This character would get 10,000 words of this, this character would get 5,000 words of that, everyone would be split up along the plot line in effective intervals. Much less than three days, that kind of plan didn't last for one scene. I created a character - Nic Danico - and he decided to take my main character under his wing for about 2,500 words and counting as I continue to write after my short break.

But there was something about Nic that I began to like. His dry humor, maybe? The way he walks after a rain, as if the sidewalk is his stage since everyone's staying inside? Maybe it's just the way he's still amused when hot breath makes puffs in cold air. Whatever it is, I've glommed onto his personality as he's glommed onto my manuscript, and the next arc of plot is now powered by my love for writing this character. It's all powered by love.

And while I count the words in this post I recount all my memories and all the fun things I've gone through during this mad-dash of a NaNo event. I'll be writing a lot into the coming months, maybe even still on this particular project when next NaNo comes around, but whatever happens, I'll still be learning. Learning from myself, my characters, and most importantly, from all of you.

It's been a wonderful event. I'll see you all in the Brawlin' Hall.


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