NaNoWriMo

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Decisions, Decisions

I don’t think this could possibly be a secret, but I love to participate in NaNoWriMo. I just really like the challenge of setting myself a big, bold goal and seeing if I can achieve it.

There are three sessions each year (April, July, and November). Normally, I only do one, maybe two, as life allows. Back in January, however, I set a goal to participate in all three sessions and even developed a game plan for each.

April’s session was supposed to be devoted to finishing the first draft of Full Circle. July was supposed to be dedicated to finishing the first draft of the Terrible Romance Sequel. November was supposed to be an opportunity to experiment with a shiny new idea.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you may already know how April’s session turned out. I set my goal for 25,000 words because I thought that would be enough to get me to the end of Full Circle.

It was not.

In fact, I wrote 27,000 words, and it still wasn’t enough.

Which has thrown a wrench into my careful planning.

(Something for which I really should have planned, but whatever. It’s all good. I’m not irritated at all. Really. And if you believe that, I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you…)

Now the July session of NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I am trying to decide (see…the title did have a point!) what I should do. As I see it, I have three options:

  1. Make yet ANOTHER attempt to finish Full Circle

2. Stick to the original plan and attempt to finish Terrible Romance Sequel

3. Run away to join the circus

What’s a writer to do? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each, shall we?

—Make yet ANOTHER attempt to finish Full Circle

Again, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you may already know that I’ve been trying and failing to do this for…well, for a while now. At least a year. Probably more. I thought 2021 might be the year I break through because I thought I was tantalizingly close to reaching the end.

Which I may be. I don’t know. I could be sitting right on top of the damn ending and be just too obtuse or whatever to see it. I don’t know. I can’t stress enough how much I don’t know.

But I desperately want to finish this story. There are three people in my life who want to read this book, and I feel worse and worse every day I can’t make that happen. So, though normally, I would stick this WIP in a drawer and leave it there for a while to give my brain a break, I just can’t bring myself to do that this time.

I want to type THE END on that first draft, if for no other reason than when the manuscript ends up being ignored in a metaphorical drawer, there’s a reason for it besides my failure (If you didn’t know, I let manuscripts rest for at least a month in between drafts).

So once again making Full Circle my project of choice is tempting. It is an undeniable truth that my desire to win NaNoWriMo often helps me power through a story and reach that word count goal. Maybe this session will be the session that allows me to drag myself across the finish line.

But…it is also an undeniable truth that I still don’t seem to know how this damn book is supposed to end. Or how I get the characters from where they are now to whatever that ending ends up being. How would I even decide on my word count goal? This book could need 15,000 more words. or 25,000. Or 50,000. Or more. I don’t know. What if the book is, in fact, unfinishable? (At least in my hands…) What do I do then?

Bottom line: If I make Full Circle my project, am I dooming myself to spend 31 days just staring at a blinking cursor?

—Stick to the original plan and attempt to finish Terrible Romance Sequel

I started this story last November (during NaNoWriMo, of course) and finished with 51,309 words. It didn’t have a beginning or an ending and contained only the smallest amount of plot that could possibly be considered plot.

(You may now be asking yourself, “If there’s no beginning or ending or any real plot, how the hell did you end up with 51,309 words?” And I’ll tell you…I don’t know.)

It’s been sitting in a drawer ever since December 1st. I haven’t looked at it—mostly because of the aforementioned push to finish Full Circle—but also because it doesn’t have a beginning or an ending and only the smallest amount of plot that could possibly be considered plot.

But for all the things I don’t know about this book, the Terrible Romance Sequel does have one thing going for it: It’s not Full Circle. I haven’t been trying and failing to finish it for…well, for a long time now. Maybe a fresh(er) project will produce better results because it will seem far shinier and newer to my dumb brain than its ancient counterpart.

But…the truth remains that I don’t know how to finish this story, either. I honestly don’t know if I can. My dumb brain came up with this concept—which I really do like (or did like, when I looked at it last)—but I am quite fearful that it’s not only unfinishable but also unwritable. (At least in my hands…)

Bottom line: If I make Terrible Romance Sequel my project, am I dooming myself to spend 31 days just staring at a blinking cursor?

—Run away to join the circus

Pro: Doesn’t involve me coming up with endings for any story or possibly ever writing anything ever again.

Con: I don’t actually have any skills that might be useful in a circus setting. Also—and I can’t stress this enough—clowns are f&*k!ng terrifying.

So that’s where I am. I have a decision to make with a deadline of 11:59:59pm on June 30th. I really hope to have it made before then, but as a wise man once said, “What you plan and what takes place ain’t ever exactly been similar.”

We’ll see what happens this time around.

Which option do you think should I take? What do you do when you can’t decide? What do you do when you can’t seem to figure out a story’s ending? Or beginning. Or middle? And, most importantly, what do you think of clowns?

May The Goals Be Completed

Hello, all! It’s the day you have long waited for…Goal Post Day.

But before we get to the main event, we’re going to take a look back at April’s goals.

—Participate in and (if possible) win Camp NaNoWriMo

Well, I did this. I both participated in and won April’s Camp session. My goal was set at 25,000 words because I foolishly believed that might be enough words to get me to the end of my WIP, Full Circle (Book 3 of my fantasy series).

Yeah. It wasn’t.

So I’m not feeling particularly like I actually accomplished anything here, but I did technically complete the goal.

—Figure out April’s monthly marketing attempt and, you know, do it

I think I did this. I don’t know if it exactly counts as marketing, but I asked my social media followers to choose a number corresponding to pages in my current WIP (Full Circle), then shared snippets of the scenes on the chosen pages.

Thank you to everyone who helped me out with this experiment, by the way. It’s much appreciated.

—Read a book

I’m not sure, but I think I may have read two. Look at me go!

Walk at least three miles every day

I slacked off a couple of days, especially toward the end of the month, but my daily average is still decent. I logged nearly 122 miles in April, for an average of just over 4 miles per day.

Now for something completely different…May’s goals!

Sure, they may look pretty much identical to April’s goals, but that’s only because I am really not great at actually completing projects.

—Finish the first draft of Full Circle

Because it STILL isn’t done. And I’m super happy about that. (Narrator: She was, in fact, NOT happy about that.)

—Figure out May’s marketing attempt and, you know, do it

Anyone want to do this one for me? I’m just so tired. And also, I really hate marketing in any form.

—Walk at least three miles a day

Because everything else about my lifestyle is incredibly unhealthy.

How about you? Do you have any goals for the merry month of May?

Thanks for stopping by, all! Stay safe and well!

Headed Off to Camp (and Other Goals)

Hold on to your hats, cats and kittens. It’s goal post day on My Pet Blog.

First up, however, is a quick review of how I did with last month’s goals…

Add words to Part III of Full Circle

I did this, actually. I added 6,276 words to the manuscript. I’m not sure whether any of those words are the right ones for the story, but that’s the second draft’s problem.

Figure out March’s monthly marketing attempt and, you know, do it

I did this, too. I can’t remember what, exactly, I did, which means it was probably super successful, but I did do something because it’s crossed out in my book. Go me!

—Read a damn book

Hahaha! I read two books! I’m on a roll now!

Walk at least three miles a day

As of the writing of this post, I have walked an average of 3.3 miles each day.

Now for April’s goals…

Participate in and (if possible) win Camp NaNoWriMo

The first Camp NaNoWriMo session of the year starts on Thursday. After asking my social media buds for their opinion, I am announcing that my goal this month will be to finish the first draft of Full Circle. Somehow, that WIP received 3x the votes over other projects. I wasn’t expecting that, and now I’m feeling a lot of pressure to actually achieve this goal (seriously—people really want to read this book?), but we’ll see what happens.

Because I have no idea how to actually finish this book.

—Figure out April’s monthly marketing attempt and, you know, do it

I really need to try to plan these things out ahead of time. But even just typing that sentence made me want to crawl under my desk.

—Read a book

Let’s see if I can keep the streak alive!

—Walk at least three miles every day

I have nothing to add to this. It’s just a small attempt to inject a little healthiness in my otherwise completely unhealthy lifestyle.

On that note, I’m outta here.

What are your goals for April? Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? (my username is M.J. Fifield, if you’re looking for some buddies…)

Stay safe & well, all.

Here We Go Again

Hello, everyone! Welcome to 2021!

As is my tradition, today’s post will be all about my goals for the coming year. Keep in mind that these are big, year-long goals that will be (in theory, anyway) broken down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

The Writing Goals

  1. Finish the first draft of Full Circle

Full Circle is the third book in my fantasy series. This goal is a carryover from last year’s goals. I’d like to say that I came close to completing it, but I don’t think I really can. Too much time writing pointless conversations about goats and not enough time writing actual, useful plot that, you know, moves the story forward.

I hope to correct that this year.

For anyone keeping score at home, this WIP is currently sitting at 232,924 words.

2. Finish the first draft of the Terrible Romance Sequel

This is, of course, the sequel to the Terrible Romance Novel (aka Love & Other Lies) that I started during NaNoWriMo last November. I haven’t looked at it since November 30th, and it’s not my top priority this year, but I hope that I’ll get a chance to finish it at some point.

Its word count is currently sitting at 51,309. There’s even a chance that some of it may be useable. Fingers crossed!

3. Participate in all three NaNoWriMo sessions this year (April, July, and November)

This goal makes the list because I am the ML (municipal liaison) for my region. Participating in events comes with the territory. At this point, I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be working on those three months, and I won’t know until I see where the aforementioned WIPs are when the events get closer. The Camp sessions in April and July offer participants more goal flexibility, so it won’t necessarily be a 50k word goal each time out.

4. Attempt to make some attempt at marketing once a month

This goal is deliberately vague to give me as much wiggle room on this as freaking possible because I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS GOAL. Like, at all. You should have seen how long it took me to add the damn goal to the list. I can’t stress enough how stressed out I am even thinking about this stupid goal.

The Other Goals

  1. Read 52 books

Haven’t managed this one the last few years, but maybe 2021 will be different?

2. Improve fitness

In theory, this will be a multi-step kind of thing. I’ll be keeping my three-miles-a-day goal but attempting to add in yoga and strength training and some aerobics and things of that nature.

I actually did some yoga, strength training, and aerobics yesterday. And today, I feel great. Really.

3. Drink more water/Reduce caffeine intake

I was doing a terrible job of hydrating toward the end of the year and was drinking entirely too much soda, so here’s when I attempt to, you know, stop doing that. Please note the part where it says “REDUCE caffeine intake.” Not eliminate entirely. Gotta keep these things realistic.

4. De-clutter

It just really needs to be done. I am such a scary pack rat. It’s sad, really. And yeah, I know this was also on the 2020 goal list and I got as far as looking at the closet in my office and saying, “Ugh, I can’t even” but maybe it’ll be different this year.

And on that note, I’m outta here.

Hope you have a very happy and healthy 2021.

Stay safe and well!

The One With The Goals

I know it’s technically still November, but it’s close enough to December that today is goal post day on My Pet Blog, y’all!

First up, a look back at November’s goals…

NOVEMBER GOALS

Win NaNoWriMo 2020

I did this. I actually won on November 23rd, which is, to date, my quickest win yet.

Sure, the Terrible Romance Sequel isn’t finished yet, and I still have no idea how I’m supposed to make it work (or even if I CAN make it work) but I think I’m intrigued enough by these two characters that I will be putting in the effort to make it work.

And also, the way this story (or, you know, what exists of it thus far) did play out led me to a possible third and fourth installment of the Terrible Romance Series.

Which is totally what I was hoping would happen.

Walk at least three miles a day

Though I did not walk three miles a day, my daily average (as of the writing of this post) is around 3.6 miles per day. Which means I could totally take the rest of the month off from walking and still make my goal.

I won’t do that, though. But I could.

DECEMBER GOALS

December is typically the month where I scramble to meet the goals I set for myself back in January. This month is no different. But it is a little bit. Like, I’m still getting goals to try to cross off as many 2020 goals as possible, but I don’t have very high hopes for my ability to do it and I’m okay with that. I’m just going to do what I can and go from there.

Complete first draft of Full Circle

This is the third book in my fantasy series. I was hoping to finish the first draft in October. That didn’t work out. I pretty much spent all of October spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere. So this month is my last-ditch effort to figure it out.

Read seven books

I am seven books away from meeting my Goodreads challenge. Time to break out the graphic novels, kids!

Walk at least three miles every day

It is always good to avoid becoming part of one’s couch whenever one can. Or so I’m told. Besides, the dogs like to walk.

Organize family photos & comic book collection

This is the last-ditch effort to meet that ‘declutter and downsize’ goal I set back in January. That’s definitely NOT happening this year, so this month I’m going to set two smaller goals that will be small steps toward working on this project next year. Or ignoring it completely, as the case may be.

And on that note, I’m outta here.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I’ll try to do better the next time!