Thursday, November 20, 2014

And So It Goes

Well, that certainly didn't last long. And by "that", I mean NaNoWriMo, of course. I suppose I need to finally admit that I just don't have enough free time or excess creative energy on my hands to participate in that sort of thing anymore. I'm just way, way, way too busy with professional commitments these days. Even with having been able to raise prices and reduce my work hours, I've still apparently got a full-time, full-commitment business on my hands.

Things went really well for about the first week or so. Then the typical avalanche of over-sized orders and last-minute requests from clients reestablished itself. Before I knew it, I'd limped my way through several weekdays that were so busy and stressful, I had zero time to work on my book. And as anyone who's done NaNoWriMo before already knows, you can't skip your writing for the better part of a week and expect to catch up without killing yourself in the process. As much as I wanted to do this, it's not important enough to me to make myself sick over it, so I officially decided to throw in the towel last weekend and learn from the experience.

That said, do I have some free time that I can devote to creativity these days? Yes. Is that better than having no free time for such things? Absolutely. But do I have enough free time and energy to write 50,000 words' worth of fiction in a month for shits and giggles? Not even close. I keep forgetting that back when I used to knock NaNoWriMo out of the park every year, I was basically a homemaker with no outside responsibilities to speak of. Realistically speaking, I'd probably have to be in a position to quit copywriting altogether before I can pour that kind of energy into personal projects again. As much as I'd love not to have to be a copywriter anymore, I also realize that's something that won't happen for a while unless some magic publishing contract or winning lottery ticket unexpectedly falls into my lap sometime soon.

On the bright side though, I did come out of NaNoWriMo with at least a little bit to show for it. Since I elected to work on a collection instead of an actual novel, I actually finished an entire short story and wrote my way through the better part of another one before I threw in the towel and quit. I also wrote a couple of original poems as well. I'm still not sure about the potential value of the story I haven't finished yet, but the completed story and the poems are actually pretty decent. With some polishing and rewriting, I'd actually feel comfortable submitting any or all of them somewhere for consideration.

So I guess that's the way I'm choosing to see things. I'm not going to lie. I'm disappointed in myself for not being able to stick with things even though my reasons for not being able to do so were legitimate. I'm also a little resentful over the fact that I once again had to set aside writing I really wanted to do in favor of writing other people needed me to do for them. However, I still came out of even the attempt with some decent material I'll be able to do something with. No, I still don't have the ability to write a novel with my life the way it currently is... but I apparently do have the ability to write the occasional short story or poem. I can live with that for now.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Opening the Lid of the Jar of Lies

I actually made good on my promises to actually sign up for NaNoWriMo and follow through with starting this weekend, so that happened. I have to admit that so far I'm having a real blast as well. I've stayed away from it the past couple of years because I really couldn't picture myself handling all of my commitments to my clients and keeping up with a brand new novel at the same time. However, I really have enjoyed spending some time this weekend actually being creative for a change... and creative on my own terms, no less.

I'm really super excited about my project as well. As I hinted in earlier posts on the topics, my book isn't a full-fledged novel. It's officially more of a collection of horror stories. For some reason, the great majority of my best, most coherent ideas seem to have to do with cannibalism of one kind or another. I'm really not sure why, because I didn't plan it that way at all. That's just what happened when some of these interesting imaginary folks I dreamed up were let loose to wreak havoc on their respective worlds.

I've always heard about characters really developing minds of their own when the circumstances are just right, but I can't say it's ever actually happened to me before. Either way, I'm off to a great start and I'm excited to see where it goes. Yes, it's only two days into the event, but I've made my word count both days without a problem and I really like what I'm writing so far. Plus, I have this super awesome cover you see here that was designed for my by Seth. It makes my book feel much more "real" than it otherwise would. I'm involved in some neat discussions via the NaNoWriMo forums as well.

I'm not exactly sure what I plan to do with this book or its individual parts once I'm finished with it. Part of me still really likes the idea of self-publishing something just for fun and to take some of the pressure off of myself. There seem to be some interesting avenues for doing that that have popped up in recent years. However, I also find that I'm taking myself a lot more seriously as a writer these days and really don't want to miss out on traditional publishing for that reason. I suppose I should probably just focus on getting the damned thing written before I worry about publishing options though. Wish me luck and pray that my workload doesn't make me hate the very idea of NaNoWriMo eventually!