30 Days of NaNoWriMo 2 – Day 30: Reflection

Well… I made it. Day 30.

Somehow, even though I didn’t struggle to write posts this time–even though I didn’t spend hours finding writing spots, getting pictures, working on the MS, and posting afterward–I’m way more relieved now than I was at the end of 30 Days 1.

I’m not sure why. The obvious answer would be, “Well, because you can spend more of your writing time actually working on the novel.” And, sure, maybe that’s it.

But maybe I also just need a break. Especially after today. A brief summary:

  • After feeling my throat getting sore yesterday, I woke up in the middle of the night and vommed.
  • Woke up hours later, determined to go to work and write, although, for the first time ever, I really, really wanted to call out.
  • Got to work, told a manager I might need to leave early, and they told me it was alright if I just left immediately instead. Which was awesome.
  • Basically stumbled home, thinking both, A) “Man, I’m so glad I didn’t get sick earlier in the month,” and B) “But WHY TODAY?”
  • Got progressively dizzier and grosser as I stumbled home. Does this happen to anyone else? It was 60 degrees or so outside, but it felt like summer. Like hot, deathy summer.
  • I went to the supermarket to get soup, tea, and honey. I then struggled those things home, which should’ve been easy, only I was multi-tasking–struggling soup, tea, and honey home while also dying.
  • Realized that the weird, unwieldy set up I had going to carry all of my junk (coat slung over umbrella, held in one hand, sick person goods in the other hand) was a terrible idea, because everything that was in my inner coat pocket had fallen out. Everything in this case meant money. I don’t even know how much. And I don’t wanna think about it.

So, this is the part where I make an excuse, right? This is when I’m like, “So, with all of that bullshit, I just refused to write.”

Words for the Day: 1,326

NaNoWriMo Total: 14,366

Against all odds, I wrote over a thousand words and finished up chapter 2, as planned, leaving me with the rest of the book–the adventure–to work on in the next few months.

And… to me, saying all of that was the best possible way to send off 30 Days 2. Not by just talking about what I learned from it, but illustrating it.

With 30 Days 1, I learned what I consider the basics of my writing approach. My personal How-To write a novel. I do it quickly, writing every day, editing important things as I go, focusing on completing something clean that I like, without stopping.

But what I learned from 30 Days 2 is that I don’t ever have to stop. If NaNoWriMo 2014 taught me that I could write a novel when I had a free a month, NaNoWriMo 2016 taught me that, no, fuck that “free month” bullshit. If you’ve got it, great, but if you don’t, there’s a way to do it write a novel while you’re incredibly busy.

And that way is simply… finding your schedule.

As stupid and easy as that sounds, all it takes is sitting down and thinking, “Well… when do I like to write? In what condition do I do my best writing? And how can I make sure I’m in that position every day, regardless of what the world throws at me?”

For me, it’s early in the morning, before work. Or, well, early in the “whatever qualifies as morning” (today, it was early in the 1 PM when I woke up from my gross, sick-person coma). I learned to respect those times–those hours of my day–as writing time.

But I also learned to respect everything-else time. I learned that you can’t just shove away recreation–that there’s no quitting it cold turkey; I need to unwind after being productive. I need to play video games, watch a movie, hang out with a friend, watch YouTube, look up pictures of shaved animals, which I did yesterday (hairless chimpanzees are about 1,000,000% more intimidating than they are with fur, btw). And I learned that doing those things isn’t something to be ashamed of. Because feeling bad about doing any of those things isn’t fair to me.

And because it’s the start of the procrastination cycle: “Well, I didn’t write last night, so I feel like shit today and want a distraction even more, so fuck it–I’m going to write later tonight. And now I am writing, but it’s hard again, because it’s late, I’m tired, and fuck this shit–I’ll do it tomorrow!”

I guess the best way to put it then is… I learned how to write and be happy… at the same time.

Which means I’ve learned to write consistently. Tomorrow, I don’t stop; I wake up, shower, write, then deal with whatever the rest of the day throws at me.

And having that–learning how to do that–is something I’m incredibly grateful for. If I could tell any writer to do anything, it’s this: learn how to write on a schedule that makes you happy. Because that’s a schedule you can keep forever.


Well, that’s it. 30 Days of NaNoWriMo 2 is officially over. I’d like to thank everyone who read, liked, followed, and commented. I genuinely wouldn’t have made it without your support. Even if I somehow slogged through the last 30 days without backup, these posts would’ve gotten so much less happy, so much more frustrated. So, really, thank you.

I’m probably going to take a month off from posting, in part because I need a break and December is the perfect month for that, but I’ll be back next year, bright and early, to update and talk about the different facets of writing fantasy.

Until then, thank you again for reading! And, as always, write well.

30 Days of NaNoWriMo 2 – Day 1: I Don’t Know

Hi there, and welcome to the first post of 30 Days of NaNoWriMo 2. It’s been two years since I participated in NaNoWriMo, and . . . a lot has changed. Two years ago, I had a work-from-home job that allowed me to make my own schedule. To go out for all of November, writing in public and then blogging about my experiences. Two years ago, I was excited to use 30 Days to find interesting places to write all over New York City.

Now, it’s 2016 and I have a job that is very demanding of my time. And I’m also . . . not . . . too in love with the idea of writing about writing-friendly places.

What I’d much rather do . . . is write about writing.

I did love the first 30 Days and, if I ever have the freedom again, I’d love to return to hunting for writing spots all over the city, but this year, I’m going to take you on a different journey–an incredibly in-depth look at my process. This year, 30 Days will be a way-too-honest journal. One that I hope other writers can relate to, laugh at/with, and hopefully be inspired by.

And, goddammit, since there’s no bad time to be inspired, let’s jump right in!


I don’t know what to write.

Two years ago, with zero preparation, I decided on my first NaNo project instantly; the moment that I learned about NaNoWriMo, two days before it started that year, I immediately knew what novel I was going to write–Memory: Shadow of the Lord Sun. At that point, it Memory of the Black Sun, a handful of scene ideas, hastily duct-taped to an incredibly rickety framework of plot. Powering through it was an exciting exercise in improv, resulting in a fun novel . . . that needed a lot of maintenance.

I wound up skipping NaNoWriMo last year, intent on editing and writing shorts; a risky, lethargy-inviting move . . . that actually paid off recently when one of those stories got published. Now. . . I have a follow-up for that published story. And I also have lots of ideas for other short stories. I have a bunch of novel ideas too. And a table top game idea. A graphic novel concept.

I have all of these ideas with the knowledge that I can get them done, and–finally–that I can get them published . . .

. . . And somehow, I still have no idea what to write.

Is it personal? I don’t know. Is it writer’s block? I don’t know.

All I know is, on this first night of NaNoWriMo 2016, I’m torn.

My options:

  1. A fun, suspenseful, fantasy, crime drama (-ish?) ensemble piece. I’ve done a good bit of the plot for it, but not enough worldbuilding. Well, not enough to feel like I’m done worldbuilding; I’m still in that phase where I see something mundane (i.e. a bushy plant with colorful flowers) and lose five minutes thinking, “What color flowers are on the plains outside of Errsai?” These questions assault me daily, along with the nagging sensation that this project won’t be authentic if I don’t worldbuild enough for it.
  2. A fun YA fantasy novel. This one also has enough plot work done, but it also feels like it has enough worldbuilding as well–the point of Option 1 is to create a super immersive, believable world, but this YA novel isn’t the same beast. It’s a standalone adventure with strong emotions and strange magic. It’s also a genre I haven’t written in yet, which means that completing it would widen the field I can pitch to. So, basically, it has all of the things going for it. Only . . . its major themes include friendship and family, two things that don’t exactly fill me with inspiration at the moment. I’m not sure I can sell the emotion or muster up the right feels for this one. Not this month.
  3. An emotionally intense adult fantasy. It feels right and absolutely all of the worldbuilding is done, but the plot has never come to me. Or, rather, the root of it–the important, beautiful truth of this story–just isn’t there yet.

I look at these three options and, somehow, I draw a blank. Most of last month, I was excited about Option 1. But then, last week, when I realized that I wanted to keep worldbuilding for 1, I got excited for Option 2. But now, after a long week, I find myself not in the right state of mind for Option 2, realizing that I am absolutely in the right state of mind for Option 3, but I don’t feel like I’d do it justice–not without more writing experience under my belt.

So, that’s where I am right now. Confused.

But I am not . . . giving up.

I’m taking night one as a test. Tonight, I try out a throwaway scene from each story. Whatever works–whichever feels comfortable–is the one I’m going to work on for the month. If I at least start off by going with my gut, I can figure out the rest as I go along.

I can do this. I can write something awesome this month.

I just need to figure out how.