*prepare thy selves for a long post today yikes*
As many of you know, November is fast approaching and that means chaos season for writers. Close to two thousand words a day is harrowing, even for the most exceptional of authors. This is our task that we face.
It’s a little terrifying.
The funniest thing is that we actively choose to participate in this month of madness and often enjoy it. There’s your further proof that writers are literally insane.
you know it’s true
As we head towards the Month of All Months, I thought I’d write a little mishmash post with cobbled together ideas and notes about my last NaNo season, as well as things that may be nice before we all dive off into madness!
First off, my goal for NaNoWriMo 2019 is to finish the project I started last year, Mirage of Shards. I have a couple different posts written about this project already, which you can find links to down below…
Much in the style of the last blog post I referred to above, I will be talking a little about my plan for NaNo this year, what I learned from last year, and random mood boosters/nano fuel because why not? (we always need more positive happy things, yes?)
What happened last year?
On October 31st, 2018, a wary warrior sat in a Panera as she stared at the blank document on her computer, unsure if she would be able to do it all over again. The warrior had seen too much battle the year before, and it had scarred her and her family.
The family of this warrior was worried that she would throw away all knowledge of self-care and smart living (limited, but it was still existent) like she had last year. The warrior herself was worried (but slightly less so) about that, but she politely put that in the corner of her brain where she wouldn’t have to think about it.
She was going to be fine. She was going to get that 50k words. She was determined.
When the clock struck 12:00am that night (or rather morning), she was still awake. She decided to press into the challenge right then and there. Her next day was a free day anyway. No harm in getting ahead.
This happened many times in the course of the month. The only that had changed from the last year was that she now had to attend school and do homework on the off days. Unfortunately, that consumed most of the warrior’s time. This disappointed the warrior greatly. She resorted to nighttime writing. This worked… most days.
This concept of nighttime writing worked for a majority of the month. Near the end, however, the wary and now weary, warrior was reaching the end of her rope.
Most of the time, she was able to pull off doing school work all day and then writing for a couple hours once she had readied herself for the next day and prepared to go to sleep. However, a lot of the time, she worked all day and then pushed herself past limits that should’ve stayed where they were. She won National Novel Writing Month 2018, but at what cost?
“Was it worth it?” she asked herself after sleeping until 11:30 on December 1st. “Was it worth nearly physically hurting myself to reach 50k?”
So What’d I Learn?
The warrior had stayed up until 3am on the final night making sure she reached the fifty thousand words she needed to achieve. (she turned her computer time settings back to pacific time… shhhhh.) She had beat her goal of fifty thousand. She had done it! But had it been worth sacrificing her health and well-being?
The warrior has learned her lesson. She has learned to guard the edges of her November, making sure she gets adequate amounts of sleep and nutrition, both pre-NaNo and during it. If she doesn’t take care of her body as well as her creativity and emotions on the front end of the month, she knows that it will backfire on her as December approaches.
Writing a beautiful, award-winning (the warrior scoffs) novel, or more likely just 50k words, in just one month is very doable. That’s why so many writers worldwide push each other to do it! It’s great fun, and this warrior has had fun doing it every single time! However, she has learned that if at any point you feel worn out, it might be wise to slow down and take a nap. The goal is to have more writing done than you have now. If you have written anything during the month, count it as an achievement. In the end, if you finish with a sore throat and bags under your eyes, that’s not good.
Your writing should be fun, not something that you sacrifice sleep/healthy habits for.
This year, the warrior has formulated a plan that will keep her on track, whilst balancing her normal patterns of the day and things she knows are going to need to get done. There are major tests and projects due all within the first week, so if she works ahead, she’ll be able to have more time to write about her favorite characters.
She’ll be taking November off from blogging again, like last season, because it is unreasonable to be writing fifteen thousand more words than you normally would in one week. For the warrior’s own safety and sanity, she will not be blogging her journey. XD
Nevertheless, the warrior will persist. The next month will be successful, no matter the outcome.
What Are My Plans For This NaNo?
*fades back into normal life and not a narrator of a fantastical quest*
This year I will be finishing my first draft of Mirage of Shards, as I mentioned earlier. I actually haven’t ever finished a complete first draft of a full scale novel, so that should be really exciting. I am so excited to wrap up the first stage of this story that I keep falling in love with.
Obviously, like every good draft, it is going to need some major work. It is going to need a lot of editing (hoo boy) but honestly, I am a-okay with this. There is a quote that I love that I found recently and it’s changed my perspective on a lot of things.
“The first draft is just telling yourself the story.” – Terry Pratchett
Perfection, or so called “perfection,” is not created in one draft. Allow yourself to just get the words out. That is super important. K?
Basically, this is my plan. I am allowing my story to flow however the outline needs to go. I have an end goal in sight and as long as I get there by November 30th, everything is gonna be good.
Anywho, like I said a little bit ago, I am gonna be gone from the blogisphere for a little bit because my brain can’t handle that much writing at one time *pats brain* poor brain. XD I’ll be back in December, but here are some parting gifts!
1. a couple days ago, I went to a Rend Collective concert (which was amazing btw!) and the openers were Land of Color. They are so lovely and as a person who is part of a little band of two best friends, it was really cool to see people who got to do that for a living. Of course, not to mention that they tour with Rend Collective!! That’s a dream come true right there XD Anywho they did an amazingly witty song called “The Lion and The Fox”. 🙂
2. I posted a cover of Emotional Girls by Sawyer on my channel and I wanted to include it because it was fun to play!
3. I thought I’d share a (longish) snippet of Mirage of Shards because why not?
A whisper suddenly grew from the back of Jaxen’s mind.
Where are you, my son? Come back.
Jaxen started. Panting, he quickly scanned the edges of the room for figures he hadn’t seen before. When he finally understood he was in fact alone, he turned his face towards the window. He wasn’t quite sure of what he was doing, but he crawled over to the window to see if someone had called to him.
Looking out into the messy, untidy garden, Jaxen saw nothing that would cause a normal person alarm. He peered up at the sky, almost as if he had expected the moon to be talking to him. Of course, it wasn’t the moon. But the voice had been so odd and unexpected that it very well could have been the moon.
My son, the voice called again, come home.
It was a strange thing for Jaxen, for while he didn’t necessarily recognize the voice, there was a desire that woke within him that screamed out that he wanted to. A deep ache became apparent to him all at once as though someone had turned on a light and exposed everything. An ache for home. An ache for family. An ache for belonging.
I offer all of them, child.
A creak from the floorboards outside the attic door brought the boy back from his mystified wonderings. Someone was coming.
In a moment, Jaxen had already launched a silent debate with himself. Should he stay? Should he wait until the door opened? Should he then beg for refuge? Should he just sit still and see what happens?
Jaxen decided on the last option. After all, he didn’t even know if it was the veteran, or if it was just a random person. Crawling back to the middle of the room once more, he sat on the ground, waiting in the deathly silence that had settled over the top floor of the house. The footsteps had ceased. The subtle noise was gone. Now the person by the door waited.
Then a hand was placed to the knob.
Slowly, slowly, slowly, the door was pushed open.
Jaxen’s breath caught in his chest. Panic started rising.
Instantly, the door opened and deep brown eyes met dim blue ones. It was the veteran.
“Good evening, sir,” began the flabbergasted youth near fainting on the floor. “Listen, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to cause trouble-”
The man held up his hand.
“And what gives you the right to apologize?”
Jaxen was confused. He was just trying to be civil. Why would he ask him that? What was the answer?
The man raised a scraggly eyebrow in surprise. “You’ve been up here a long time, haven’t you…”
Jaxen felt his heart begin to throb louder in his chest. So the man had known all along? The man snorted an old-man-esque laugh. It made Jaxen wonder about the life that the man had lived.
“Yes, that’s right. I know,” he whispered. The whisper was filled with a knowing sense of mystery and joy. It made Jaxen feel his breath catch in his throat.
“Why haven’t you kicked me out yet?”
“Who said I would do that?”
“Excuse me, sir,” he faltered, “but it’s normal for someone to kick people who are living in their houses out. Not that I’m complaining,” Jaxen added hastily looking at the man.
“I’ll admit that it is unusual. Even for me. I’m a war-driven man, boy. I’ve thrown out many a vagabond caught in the act of trespassing.” At this, he eyed the boy harshly. The cruel scrutiny of this man made Jaxen feel his stomach drop.
“And yet,” the man continued on, “I haven’t done that with you.”
Jaxen shifted uncomfortably. “I’m afraid to ask why… but I’m more afraid not to ask.”
The man chuckled.
“Maybe the reason I haven’t turned you in yet is that I see something in you that is very different than people around him.”
Jaxen’s heart stopped. “Is that a good thing, sir?”
“For the most part. I see many things both for good-” he paused to look Jaxen directly in the eyes- “and for worse. You have spirit. I can see the fire of the Old Republic in your eyes. A fierce warrior.”
Jaxen felt a small smile grow on his lips. The man saw a warrior in him. The man saw him. Was it too good to be true?
“But,” the man continued but then stopped.
Jaxen’s smile left him. What was wrong? Had he seen too deep? Cursing himself, he beat himself back into the corners of his mind for letting him think that the man had actually been seeing courage and spirit.
“But,” he repeated, “I see something else.”
The veteran walked nearer to Jaxen and took a knee. Jaxen was now staring the man at eye level. The pale blue eyes pierced his own. Quickly, it occurred to Jaxen that this wasn’t what he wanted. The man couldn’t see him. He wouldn’t let himself hope anymore. He turned his eyes to the floorboards in front of him.
“I see a boy who is afraid of his God.”
The knot that had been forming throughout the conversation now took a sudden twist and seemed to plunge to his feet. He didn’t want to talk about this. Cursing himself for the second time that evening, he felt his blood pumping in his ears. He needed to leave tomorrow and never come back to this man’s house. He saw too much.
“I can see you are fighting with yourself.”
“What do you know?” The remark came out a bit snappy, but it was true that Jaxen was feeling that way. He was actually a little more than snappy, but honestly, at that point, it was better just snappy.
“I think,” the man spoke grimly, “that I know a fair bit more than you do.”
The man sat down in front of Jaxen. With the moonlight shining in from the window, it rested on the two men sitting there. The moonlight seemed to sense a tension and a darkness, so it grew brighter.
Jaxen could now see the man’s face more clearly. Wrinkles graced the face, as well as several interestingly shaped scars. There were stories tucked neatly into every wrinkle, and messages in every scar. Despite himself, Jaxen wanted to hear everything this man had to offer. He pushed that thought away very quickly.
“Do you know how a commander leads his men through battle?”
“Haven’t been to War yet, eh?”
“I intend not to go.”
An eerie silence fell over the two.
“You may have misunderstood my question. Are you in the war?”
“You must have misunderstood my answer. No, I haven’t.”
“I have good reasons.”
“I don’t need to share. I have reasons. You were talking about commanders?”
The veteran smiled at this, knowing Jaxen was changing the topic but agreeing to play his game. “Commanders,” the man began, “are tough men, both physically and mentally. They are the ones making decisions for the ones under them. If they make a mistake, it’s highly probable that at least one of his men will die.”
“I’m working up to that,” he snapped, in a way many would find repeated in elderly folks everywhere. “Commanders are notorious for making harsh decisions. Many people don’t like them a lot of the time, but they go with it, because the commander knows better, and they trust the commander.”
Jaxen stared blankly at the man, hoping to conceal the mixed feelings of fear, knowing, and resentment. Funny enough, the man seemed to catch the look. The man continued.
“I feel that you are running from your Commander. I don’t know why, but you are running.”
“You don’t know me,” Jaxen restated hastily. Maybe it was hasty but it definitely wasn’t hasty enough to cover up the shaking of his voice. The man nodded.
“I don’t. You’re right. But I can see people’s eyes. Every once and awhile, I hit the mark.”
The veteran started to get up. He walked over to the open window, shut it, then walked across the creaky attic floor to head to the door. As he reached for the handle, he stopped.
Turning back to Jaxen, the man watched him for a second.
“Just because you haven’t been to the war front yet doesn’t mean you’re not in one. There are many things you and I can’t see. You’d best make peace with your Commander before the Battle.”
The man turned on his heel, walked out the door, shut it, and walked down the stairs.
Jaxen leaned back against the wall. His heart was racing again. How had the man seen so far into him?
The unknown whisper came again.
I offer all you need, my child. Come.
He shut his eyes and shook his head.
“I can’t get close,” he whispered back to the voice. “Please understand me.”
“Leave me alone.”
I freely give all you ever needed. I am all you ever needed.Excerpt from Chapter 2: Monachopsis, Mirage of Shards
Yikes, that was long…
Alrighty kiddos, this is goodbye for now! I hope all of you have spectacular Novembers and I will see you on the flip side!!
Now go forth, mis amigos and amigas, and smile. Your day is just beginning. Make the best of it. Don’t procrastinate. Work hard. Make me proud. 🙂
Love you all,
Madeleine ❤ ❤ ❤