Today is June 6, 2012. It is day 6 of Camp NaNo and I am behind with 7,622 words. Of course, I could not update my word count for about two days simply because the site was being a butt. However, now that I know I can start updating my count again, I have begun writing again…well, I will begin writing again as soon as I finish this post. I also have to blame life and school because I was dumb and decided to take three courses this summer. In the long run it will be better because I’ll graduate a whole semester earlier, but right now I’m kind of regretting it because I would much rather focus on NaNo and only NaNo. August is a whole other story which we will get into when I start planning for that one.
I have until 1:30 this afternoon to write as much as I can. Tomorrow morning, my sister and I are going to go to Barnes and Noble to write for a good few hours. I plan on getting really ahead then. I will have a mocha frap in one hand and the keyboard in the other…not really, but the frap will be next to me with my mouth wrapped around the straw and my eyes on the screen while both my hands type. I’m just that good. Now tomorrow I’ll need 11,669 words. I have 7,622 now, so between today and tomorrow I have to write at least 4,047 words. I think that will be easy to do just as long as my A.D.D. doesn’t kick in and the caffeine doesn’t leave my system.
Speaking of caffeine, I was doing so well (for about a month) not having coffee. Well, (I think a week ago) I have fallen back off the wagon. On the wagon? I don’t really know.
Well, that last paragraph was irrelevant to…everything. This could possibly be because I may just slightly MAYBE be stalling from writing…does anyone remember that I was going to outline? I outlined the first chapter! That’s something. Of course, I want to continue writing, so that’s all I’ve gotten so far on the outlining and I’m already half way done with chapter two.
Usually when I write a story (especially NaNo) I tend to keep going and going until I hit the 50k mark or I finish the whole novel. My novels are usually 95% percent dialogue and while I can picture everything in my head, my readers mostly have no idea what anything looks like, where they are, or what they’re doing. I also repeat myself a lot just to boost the word count so I repeat things while wording it differently. Yet, I noticed that the majority of this novel is description and there’s not too much dialogue. I haven’t been repeating myself (yet) and I have been using much bigger words (thanks to an annoying character who is prim, proper, and mean, but unfortunately he is needed for the story). Bigger words are a big accomplishment of mine on account that my vocabulary is crap.
You know, I use the word crap a lot in my posts on here…I wonder how many times? I should tag it. <—Caffeine talking.
Anyway, good luck with the rest of Camp and I’ll check in later with you guys again!
So this is kind of like a follow-up on yesterday’s post…
I’m going to explain to you what I think I have. It definitely is not writer’s block, I can tell you that much. If I had writer’s block, I would not have a total of 120 story ideas. Now I have two scripts finished, two novels, and two children’s stories completed. Completed, as in written…not done-done. Anyway, I have ideas. What do I do with them? Clearly, I actually stuck with six of them, but what about the rest? This is where the A.D.D kicks in.
I have 12 ideas started. I may have written only one chapter, I may be half-way through the novel, or I may only have one or two chapters left to write; either way, I have not finished any of them. I have ideas for them. I know how they are going to play out. I’ve written the beginning, I have some middle to it, and I know how they are all going to end. Yet, I have not been able to sit myself down and actually write them. Why is this?
I can’t tell you the answer because I don’t know the answer. All I know is that when I get in the mood to write, I sit down and stare at the list of titles I have and what do I get done? Nothing. Why? Simply because I don’t know what to write. I think that is my problem: I have way too many ideas.
Now common sense would say to finish the 12 you have started before going onto anything else. How do you choose which one of those 12 that you want to complete first? Put all the titles in a hat and pick one from random? Sure, why not? Or maybe pick the one that is the closest to being finished or the one that is farthest from being finished. Okay, we can do that. But do we actually do any of that? No, of course not.
Ideas are all around us. Well, they’re all around me, anyway, I don’t know about you guys…but my point is that whenever I go out I see something or I hear something and I just have to write it down. No questions asked I just need to write it down so I have something to play with later on. Even though I should be playing with my already started story ideas. But take the other day for example:
My sister and I were getting dinner. I was sitting in the car while she ran into Subway. It’s around 6 PM, still light out, I’m sitting in the car alone, it’s quiet. So I talk to myself. I always do. But as I’m getting into a riveting conversation with myself, I notice a woman dashing through the parking lot with a two-year-old boy in her arms. Looking back at the stores, she could have either come out of Chuck E. Cheese, Subway, or Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m going to assume Chuck E. Cheese. She’s all dressed up as though she just got out of the office. She was wearing a white, shiny blouse which was tucked into her black pencil skirt…with sneakers. Awkward. She was walking so fast that she looked as though she was just going to tip right over. She kept looking at the baby and then glaring at the space in front of her, back to the baby, back to glaring. Judging by the look on her face, she was not a happy camper. That sucks. She gets to her silver car, which is parked almost in front of me, but about two spaces over to the left. She puts the baby down, puts her black purse down, and then stares at the baby. She looks up and puffs out her cheeks as though she was letting out an angry sigh. While she rummages through her purse and unlocks her car, I watch the baby. He just stands there in the next parking spot with a blank expression on his face. Clearly, he has no idea what is going on and why should he? He’s two (possibly). Then I take a closer look and what’s this? A sling on his right arm. Interesting. He gets scooped up by the woman and they both go into the back seat as she straps him into his car seat. Her purse still lays on the parking spot next to them. Huh. She gets out, turns around and looks at the back of her skirt. She rolls her eyes and throws her arms up in the air frustrated. Alright, then. She closes the door, tosses her purse in the front seat, closes that door, and walks over to the other side of the car. She lights a cigarette and makes a call on her cell phone. Her lips were moving quickly as she spoke and her facial expressions showed she was clearly angry at something. Someone?
Look at that last paragraph. Just by observing one little scene in real life, you can come up with a whole lot. What store was she coming out of? What was she doing there? Was there someone else there with her? Why was she wearing sneakers with a dressy outfit? Why was she angry? Who was she angry with? What happened to the boy’s arm? What relation did she have to this baby? Why was she in such a rush? What did she sit in? Or did her skirt just get a hole in it? Who did she call? What if someone ran right up and grabbed the purse as she was busy with the baby? Or worse, what if someone ran right up and grabbed the baby as she was fighting with the car keys?
Only one thing caused all that to happen. However, there are so many possibilities you could come up with before learning the truth. As a writer, you can come up with so many different ideas for something like that. You can make your own twists and turns and you can write and rewrite one certain thing because there is so much you can do with just that one scene!
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, that’s because I’m not quite sure writer’s block even exists. It may be all in our heads. I mean, that’s okay. We’re all writer’s, we’re all insane. But all you need is an idea to get rid of writer’s block and all ideas come from something, someone, or somewhere. You just need to keep your eyes wide and ears open.
So, with something like that, you could easily write a short story or make a whole plot out of it for a novel. Use it as a prompt, even. Either way, it will get those rusty gears in your mind turning once again and your fingers will take it from there. Once you get into the swing of things again, you can get back to work on those unfinished novels.
Wait, we couldn’t decide which ones to work on first, right? Well…that’s another story for another day.
All These Characters in My Head Won’t Sit Down and Shut Up….
What is writer’s block? Basically, it means that a writer has run out of new ideas. They cease to write for a little while due to lack of idea, inspiration, whatever you want to call it. This could happen in between writing books or it could happen while you’re in the middle of writing a book. It can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone. To put it simply: it sucks.
What is A.D.D? Attention Deficit Disorder. You may have impulsive actions; you may have a high hyperactivity level, or lack a high attention span.
The difference between writer’s block and A.D.D is that you can be diagnosed with A.D.D and…Let’s face it; writer’s block is all in your head. My point is if you’re a writer, how can you tell what you have? Regardless of being diagnosed with A.D.D or not, we can pretend to diagnose ourselves (if we assume that we have it).
Anyway, writer’s block means that you’re fresh out of ideas, correct? Well, I don’t have that problem. If you read the Writing tab at the top, you would know that I write young adult novels, middle grade novels, children’s books, and I have a few ideas for scripts. Now…if I had writer’s block, would one think that I would have ideas for 7 scripts (5 being movies and 2 being TV shows), 5 children’s books, 10 middle grade novel (but it’s a series, so there will be more planned), and 98 young adult novels? No, I don’t think so.
Now, I self-diagnosed myself with A.D.D a long time ago, but I was never tested for it. I don’t know for certain if I really have it. So, let’s assume that I don’t have it since I was never tested for it…18 out of 120 ideas I listed above have been started. Only 6 of those 18 ideas have actually been completed…two of them are children’s books, two of them are young adult novels, and two of them are movie scripts. The sad part is that one of those children’s books would have never even been thought of if I didn’t have to write a children’s story for my Child Development class in high school.
Now finally on to my point…how do you know if you really have writer’s block or A.D.D when it comes to writing? The answer? You don’t. In one case, you could be in the middle of writing one story, but stop and move onto the next because you may have ran out of ideas on what to do next. Then you would have writer’s block. In the other case, you could be in the middle of writing one story, but stop and move onto the next because you lost interest in the story. The plot is moving too slowly, you hate your characters, or you simply have an idea on what to do next, but you don’t like it. Or you could be writing a scene and from that scene a whole new plot unfolds in your head for a completely different novel. That happens to me a lot and I cannot stress enough when I say a lot. That would probably be A.D.D. Either way, that novel is not getting done.
So, what is it exactly that I’m trying to say? Whether you have writer’s block, A.D.D, or your pen just ran out of ink…that novel is not going to write itself. Ideas or no ideas, new ideas or old ideas, keep that pen flowing or those fingers typing because believe me; once that first draft is done, a huge relief of accomplishment will surge through the veins in your body.
It took me nine months and seven days to complete the first draft of my young adult novel. It was the very first novel I had ever finished (aside from the two children’s books). I felt so relieved that I had actually finished something. Sure, it was just the first draft and it was crap, but now I get to look forward to editing it and then finally kicking it out the door to get published. I have edited it a couple of times and believe me, it still needs a lot of work. The other young adult novel I completed took me two months and three days. That one turned out even worse than the first novel I finished. However, I got it done regardless of if I had ideas or not. My main goal was just getting it done…which is why the first draft is so crappy. Now when I edit it, I will catch errors, plot holes, and come up with new and better ideas for the story. Believe me, it’s a lot easier working with something crappy than it is working with nothing at all.
Now, most people say that some novels can take up to a couple of years to write. I believe that, but even though my first novel didn’t take me a year to write, I found that I felt much more accomplished with the novel I wrote in two months than I did with the novel I wrote in nine months. So, it may be better for some people to write their novel slowly and carefully. But, if you stay in character, keep the plot moving at an okay pace and actually have a beginning, middle, and an end; I think writing a novel as quickly as possible is the best bet. Sure, editing will be harder than actually writing the story, but that’s how it should be. When you write, have fun. Say what’s on your mind and write whatever ideas pop into your head. Then when you edit, you can curse all you want…what better way to take out your frustrations on a novel than to scribble all over it with red ink?
Don’t get frustrated because the novel isn’t finished; get frustrated because the finished novel isn’t polished to a sparkling shine.