Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Days 283 and 284 - Stealing from myself

I really liked this post I put up on the 50K in 30 Days blog, so I thought I'd share it here as well: 

Be not afraid of going slowly, be only afraid of standing still. 
- Chinese Proverb

It's so easy to look at the past and say "I could have done better. I SHOULD have done better. I should have written more, or made more time for editing." After all, it's going to take forever to get where we want to go if we don't make optimal use of our time, right? 

Regret and perfectionism can be a bigger drain on our productivity than pretty much anything else. Personally, I struggle to retain a sense of proportion - I've written x many words, which is x more words than I would have written otherwise. Still, it's not what I expected from myself. 

Writing is like life. It's messy, imperfect, full of unfulfilled potential (everyone has that one scene that was just so perfect in their head) and layered with excitement, regret, drudgery and bursts of inspiration. It may not go the way we want all the time, but if you do the best you can during the good times, the bad times can only ever drag you down so far. 

Word count - 2,972

Monday, June 13, 2011

Days 280 to 282 - Thank Goodness for Long Weekends

I've been so absolutely exhausted this weekend, I did pretty much nothing right up until Sunday afternoon. Once I buckled down and actually got going, I managed to pull out a decent word count, but I still feel bad for sleeping away most of my free time. It was necessary - I think I'm getting the bug Marcus had last week. My throat was caning earlier today.

While I was lying in bed, I managed to read my first ever full Neil Gaiman book. I once started American Gods, but just couldn't get into it. So I started with Stardust and absolutely loved it. Scarily, I just kept marvelling at his technique - he has such a beautiful way with words. I had to keep reminding myself I was reading for fun and stop examining sentence structure! ^_^

Word count - 7,083

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Days 278 & 279 - Only a word count update

Just popping in here quickly for a word count update! For the month of June, I'm blogging daily at Write in June, the blog for the RWA 50K in 30 Days challenge.

That and work and writing and sometimes seeing my family is taking all my energy at present!

But at least today I got something done - especially good seeing as I was tempted to go to bed at 8pm :-)

Word count - 1,715

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Days 276 and 277 - I am an Oubliette

Yes, I am a place you put things when you want to forget about them.

I just remembered I was supposed to take a book back to one of my mum's friends last week. And looking through my cupboard, I can't help but notice at least three t-shirts that used to belong to my ex-boyfriends. Oh, and two other people have also loaned me books I haven't finished reading yet.

It could be worse, I suppose. At least I'm not the Bog of Eternal Stench.

Word count - 2,687

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 275 - Some facts

For a day where I spent all my time in front of the computer, I don't seem to have done much writing.

It's 12.40am. I have to be up at 6am.

I've decided that I'm going to stop reading troll articles. Every time I turn around, some "columnist" is suggesting that NaNo is evil, that YA is dark and depressing and ruining our kids (Won't SOMEBODY think of the children!) or that women don't read hard epic fantasy. I'm with Janet Reid on this - Stuff it.

Minecraft is fun and a little bit addictive.

On a related note, I spent 20 minutes earlier trying to find a floor plan for the castle at Versailles.

It's 12.50am. I have to be up at 6am.

Word count - 1,336

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 274 - US-centric Internet

I'm not going to downplay how influential American culture is on Australia. We watch a lot of the same TV, we eat a lot of the same foods. We have some similar problems.

But I don't understand why so many places on the Internets, especially those places with Amazon affiliations, seem to have such a strong and unbreakable US-centric focus. The US dollar isn't what it used to be. Internet access and usage is strong in many other parts of the world. And people who don't live in the United States of America are getting increasingly annoyed at sites acting like the rest of the world is just "those people over there".

Yet places like Kickstarter still won't catch up with the times. Three years ago I discovered Kickstarter, a site where people post art projects in need of funding and people online donate to make it happen. Eager to share it with my friends, I looked up whether Australians were able to use it.  Three years now, and they have had the same question and response up on their FAQ. Are you going to be going international? Yes, any day now. Thank you for your patience.

I'm glad I wasn't holding my breath.

And there's no reason for it. It's a donation site which allows random people to share money with aspiring artists to help them achieve their dreams. It's a beautiful idea, and one which in the beginning I was happy to contribute to. After all, people are people anywhere and I loved the idea of helping people with their dreams.

Recently I started to ask myself - why, when I am able to sponsor US artists, can't my friends put up projects? Why is Australian money okay, but not Australian art? Or Scandinavian art? Or Peruvian art?

This isn't about America, or Americans, at all really. It's about businesses and other groups who don't realise that the Internet is a global phenomenon - and that they're losing out all round by excluding approximately 95.5% of the world population.

Word count - 3,547

(Oh hey! And I broke 200,000 words today! Go me!)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 272 - Discomfort and Growth

Everything I write always ends up being adventure romance. I try and write a hardcore science fiction novel? It turns out to be an adventure romance. I try and write a literary novel set in WWII Australia? It becomes an adventure romance.

There's nothing wrong per se with writing what you're comfortable with. After all, it is most likely you are drawn to a genre because you love it, and that passion will come through in your writing. But at the same time, I can't help but feel it's important to cross-train, like a swimmer doing weights to increase muscle mass, or a footballer doing dancing to improve their footwork.

So in the spirit of becoming the strongest writer I can be, I have been trying to write more outside the adventure romance field - specifically, I have been trying to write horror short stories.

There's only one problem. I get scared thinking of plots.

Seriously, I chose a magazine that has a monthly theme and started to work up ideas for an entry that would work in well with the theme. I came up with something that is perfect, but it makes me feel icky even thinking about it. A fellow Twitter devotee suggested that good horror came from a place you were scared of, but that doesn't help when the block you put up to stop yourself feeling bad gets in the way of the actual writing.

I'm going to steam ahead with it and see how it turns out. I'd be interested to know - do you have troubles with some genres? Or are you obsessed with the one genre and never want to leave?

Word count - 1,675

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Days 264 to 271 - Why Write 50K in 30 Days

NaNoWriMo has really brought writing challenges to the forefront. There's just something about setting yourself a huge word count goal and just going for it, quality be damned. This year I'm helping out with the Romance Writers of Australia 50K in 30 Days June Challenge - over 100 people have signed up!

Every year, I read a lot of trash talk suggesting that NaNo is the cause of multiple publishing woes, mainly high submission rates of low quality manuscripts. Personally, I think the home PC and a lack of recognised apprenticeship structures goes a long way towards that, and don't get me started on editing, but whatever.

What these people don't realise is that there is a certain freedom that comes from locking your inner editor in a box (side note - my inner editor sounds like my ex-boyfriend, an awesome writer who still proof reads for me on occasion - does anyone else get that? I mean, not get my ex-boyfriend, but get a recognisable voice?) for a month and just focussing on finishing the story. You don't have time to think about how crap it is, you just have to keep pushing ahead.

It's not for everyone, sure. But it's done wonders for me. I've written almost 200,000 words since last September when before that writing was something I was gonna do one day when I got good. A lot of that was through challenges like Nano and the RWA one.

I've set myself a goal of 100,000 for June. I'm already behind (as expected!) but there's a public holiday coming up and my husband has promised me a good chunk of uninterrupted time. Here's to writing a whole bunch in June!

Word Count - 698