Sunday, November 29, 2015

I'm done


I completed the Nano challenge and I'm now the proud owner of 50,000 words that I wrote myself. Plus 2,500 words of out takes that I haven't counted in the final score.

This year crystallised for me how I need to work when I'm writing a longer story. I don't do well with tightly planning the whole story in advance, but I need an overall idea of what kind of story I'm writing, who it's about, and where it's going to end up. Then I think through the first section until I know what happens and write that down. At that point I have scenes in my mind's eye and I just need to get them down in words.

Whenever I complete that section, I need to stop the scene-writing and spend some time thinking and working out the next section. Some of my thinking I do when walking, cycling, or showering. Some of it I do by writing out the next part of the story in non-scene form. Planning, you might call it. I've never thought of myself as a planner but I think that's because I've assumed I knew what planning looked like and this wasn't it. Well, now I know.

Can I do it without the impetus of the Nano challenge? I really don't know but I'm going to have to find out. Because Nano is no longer what I need.

I didn't go to any meetups this year, the first year since 2006 when I haven't. I met up with some fantastic friends from past Nano years, but these weren't official meetups and most of the others have moved beyond Nano now. I don't get much use out of the Nano forums because they really aren't user-friendly; I use my own spreadsheet which keeps track of my words with better visuals than the Nano site; and Nano has changed almost beyond recognition since I first joined.

It used to be about the excitement of the challenge, now it's about being an educational charity that supports young people's writing. I don't think I got a single communication from Nano this year that didn't include begging for money. Even the winner's congratulation message includes a request to become a monthly donor.

So, Nano and I are done. It's been a great ten years. I've learned a lot and had lots of fun. Now it's time to step out on my own. I just don't know where the motivation is going to come from.

6 COMMENTS:

stacy said...

I've found that motivation is useless for me. I use self-reinforcement. Whenever I accomplish something, I either write it down (I do this for my recumbent bike cycling to track how many extra calories I burned in a year) or I log it in some way. Habitica has been a great little app to log my daily to-do list. I've found on days that I skip writing, I miss it. And I've found that's my motivation.

fairyhedgehog said...

I didn't know about Habitica and I've signed up now!

There used to be a vaguely similar idea that encourage the whole family to do the boring chores. I think I'm better off with something just for me!

I hope I can get back into writing again. I'm a bit burned out as at this exact moment, but at least I have a better idea of my process and the speed I work best at. Which is a bit slower than Nano speed!

Thanks for telling me about Habitica!

stacy said...

You're welcome, Fairy! I was a bit worried it wasn't available in the UK, but it looks like it is. Yay! It's been pretty effective for me.

fairyhedgehog said...

And I've just done one of today's dailies: took my bike out for a spin!

It's a cool website.

Sylvia said...

I'm sort of sorry about that, because in my head, Nano is a big community fun writerly thing.

My planning looks a lot like yours, I freewrite my thoughts on what I think is meant to happen and why that isn't right and just keep going until I unravel something and have a feeling for the next scene. I like to have something to aim for as a general thing but that isn't always enough.

Habitica is pretty neat. I used it for quite some time. My problem was mainly that a lot of the things I want to do 4 or 5 days a week, not every day (Friday, for example, is exclusively aviation and everything else drops off), and habitica is really binary in that sense, you've done it or you haven't but not "enough times this week" or any sort of averaging/getting ahead options.

But it was fun and I enjoyed collecting the pets!

fairyhedgehog said...

Nano used to be good but the forums have always been sub-par. I'm sure there are still people who find it wonderful. I found a whole group of friends there that I still see, so that gives me less incentive to throw myself into it.

It looks like in Habitica you can set daily tasks to only be certain days of the week. I'll have to see how it goes!

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