My new approach towards NaNoWriMo

I participated in my first NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago. It was an attempt to get my first manuscript out. At that point I didn’t have much experience in writing, I had a topic in mind but no plot or idea where my manuscript was going. I remember being delighted with the idea of writing two thousand words per day. I would be together with a whole community of writers, in the same position as me. I wouldn’t feel alone in the process. However, as I look back, I think that I was so worried about the daily goal, that I was giving more importance to its achievement than to the development of my manuscript story. I won NaNoWriMo that time (winning means writing 2000 words per day in all the month – an equivalent of 50 000 words of manuscript).  But as I look back, I would have liked  more time to develop this story.  I sort of rushed the plot into a story that I found myself not liking very much later. Right now, this manuscript is in standby, it has room for improvement. Perhaps it would have been finished by now if I had given more thought to its plot at that time.

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I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo the next years. I don’t regret the first time either. It pushed me more into writing. I’ve passed from having the dream of one day wanting to write a novel to having a draft of a manuscript in a short time, something I thought it would never happened in my life.

However, this year I’m participating. I have a new story in mind. But my approach this year is different. In this month, I want to give as much thought and work as possible to my new story but without the daily goal of 2000 words per day. My objective is to make of this month a key month for my new manuscript, and I also want to feel that I’m participating in something bigger, with a whole community in the process.

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I’m focusing on writing with inspiration – I like this state of mind. The characters and story so far are nice and are exciting me. I’m no longer worried about having the story finished as soon as possible. I’m loving the process of discovering the story as I write. The process of discovering my own characters as the story continues. There is no goal per day. I write in the mornings before I start my job. I found out that this works for me. When I was doing the opposite, writing at the end of day, I was so tired and didn’t want to seat on the computer any longer in the evening. Now doing this in the early morning gives me a sense of replenishment and fullness that lets me start the day accomplishing one of my main goals in my life.

 

 

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Oh men! we´d better achieve our dreams or….

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Oh men, If I thought I would had a weekend like the previous one, years ago, I would have laughed really hard. I´ve always envisioned myself writing a novel in the late years of my life. I would say “SOMEDAY I will write a book, when I´m retired, and have time, and blah blah…”, but then one day I just decided to say that is BS!  I will accomplish this dream “RIGHT NOW RIGHT HERE”, not in the near future, or someday when I´m in a retirement house, but NOW, when I have a day job and almost no time. I made the right decision…

For the past months, I´ve been trying to write my first novel. I started writing short stories first but when I got what I thought an interesting idea for a novel, I decided to give it a go. I decided I was going to put ‘writing´ as number one in my priorities list. No more “extra activities” that would drive me away from it. I would write everyday, if possible, until I actually made a habit of it.

Then, to not bore you anymore with the process to achieve this goal, I started to research about the process of writing books, how to build up characters, plots, etc. So much material about it, you wouldn´t believe me.

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Finally, I decided to enroll myself in the Writer´s Digest bootcamp: Agent One-on-One: First ten pages, which basically focused in the first ten pages of a novel. We got a video tutorial from Ms. Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary Agency, who was brilliant, the cleverest person I´ve ever listened to. She gave excellent advice of what Agents were looking for and what she expected to find in the first pages of a novel. She also talked about all clichés, and all the times she got to reject queries from writers. I was “Oh my, I´ve never going to make it!” I did some research about her clients, looked in the web for their books, and believe me , those were quality material, beautiful books, written so amazingly that I was “I don’t stand a chance, English is not even my native language! I´ve never going to be at that level” But I was already registered in the course, with 200 $us invested, which here in my country is a LOT of money.

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So to shorten things, Paula Munier was assigned as the agent who would review my pages (out of five agents in the bootcamp). I was thrilled, maybe she was the toughest one, but the one I´ve imagined myself working with. I sent my pages, expecting to receive a critique that would say “this is not good, you really have to improve, you should consider changing careers, or are you sure you want to be a writer?” I was already mentally preparing myself for that, telling me that I would try not to take it so bad, that I would improve, that this was just a course, and that I was there to learn and to improve.

What I got was: “Nice work, Easy and Fun to read, Engaging premise, Likable hero, Colorful cast of characters, Unique great style” and I was … My god I was stunned.

Of course she also described the parts where I could improve, like improving the flow of the scenes, avoiding overwriting, American grammar and punctuation (the British influence of course), and some issues with my second scene.  But nonetheless, I was thrilled.

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And true, there is still a lot to improve, but it is all about the HARD WORK, and nothing else. If you want to write, you have to do it all the time. You have to read millions of books, if you want to improve your craft. It´s hard work and nothing else. Revision after revision and craziness along the way of course! I usually find myself about to go nuts when I get into one of those hard “revision” sessions, like I would dream with characters and get traumatized with grammar rules. But it is worth it.

In the end, we don´t get a second life, we only have this one, we´d better make the best of it. That means we only have NOW and THIS LIFE to make our dreams come true. We’d better devote ourselves and work our asses off to achieve our dreams, or else when are we going to do it? There is no other way around.

Believe in your dreams and just work the hell out of yourself to make them come true!

 

BUSY LIVES ARE THE BEST!!!

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So this last month has been chaotic for me… Yep, I know, I haven’t written anything here in this period of time… What was I doing? Well just creating an online virtual store, working full time as tech writer, preparing a bachelorette party, translating some documents and the list could go for ages…

But actually, this has been a very, VERY good month; it was all chaos but very fulfilling. I may not have achieved something big and I may be in diapers with the online virtual store, but still, things are getting accomplished little by little.

And I even found that I want to start other projects as well, I can´t help it, I´m a constant project machine… I never get bored; there is no easy weekend or peaceful resting time… Yesterday, for example, I decided to give me a break, I switched off the computer at around 7:00 pm and decided to turn on the TV to catch a movie and just do nothing. I caught a very nice one: “Valentine´s Day” (I´m not that romantic but anyway…), but whenever there were commercial breaks I would find myself without knowing what to do…. How funny is that?… I usually watch TV while the laptop is on, or I have my tablet or cell phone near me to check stuff at the same time… I felt like I was not being productive enough with my time…. Is that lame? I really don´t know, and it wasn´t like I was disconnecting myself from the electronic world, I was in front of a good piece of electronic device: the TV!!!

Anyway, I finally got it, I LOVE multi-tasking, I LOVE being busy; I feel that I have the chance to do so many things in one day. And this is not about dependence on technology, I really enjoy doing other physical activities such as sports, dance and shopping (come on I´m a girl, who cannot love shopping?). So I guess that just watching TV was too “easy and so simple” for me…

So get the chance to BUSY YOURSELF, enjoy every day at the very BEST, do as MANY THINGS as you can, go to bed feeling exhausted but feeling that you made THE MOST OF YOUR DAY… life is so short… do you want to let it go WITHOUT DOING MUCH? 

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