Hello, crafty and sundry!
I’m sure it comes to no surprise to anyone here, but one of my myriad hobbies is writing. I know, shock, le gasp, a blogger engaging in writing as a hobby! But really, there are different sort of writing — blogging is just one of them. Article writing is another, and one that I don’t really get stuck into. I do, however, get stuck in to writing stories.
I didn’t use to be much for writing stories, mind. While I used to actively roleplay on a Wheel of Time fansite, it was something about the world itself that compelled me. I’d often write the shortest posts that I could get away with, and while I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it grudgingly. Having to write posts with a minimum of 200-400 words was super-daunting for some reason.
Enter The Chrysalis Experiment.
This was set up by a friend and a few of her friends in 2011, right around the time my head started thinking that maybe, just maybe, I wanted to write a few stories. I was really stressed by the guidelines of 1,000-10,000 words, but I thought I’d give it half a go. I managed to write a couple of stories whole, and a double handful of false starts, but it did something for me that I hadn’t done before — it got me attempting to write original fiction. I stashed those efforts over on Figment, as well as doing a few small bits for some of the contests that they run. Really, I like the idea, but as Figment is oriented more at younger writers, I didn’t quite feel like it was mete for me to try and compete with them. If I ever see an adult version of the site, I will be ecstatic.
Anyways, having acquired so many friends who liked to write over the years, I could not but help to be aware of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo breaks out to ‘National Novel Writing Month’, and happens every November across the world (it started national and grew to be international with the quickness). The idea is to write a 50,000 word or more novel over the course of November. You are not allowed to write word one before November, though you can develop outlines and the like.
Considering how intimidated I was by 400 words, and then 1,000 words, the thought of 50,000 words was ridiculously scary. But in 2012, I actually had an idea in advance, and one of my best friends had often mentioned using The Snowflake Method to flesh out ideas. So I figured I would give it a go, because for once, I felt that maybe I could pull it off. It was nominally fan-fiction and an homage to the aforementioned best friend, but I did it and was way proud of myself (and if you want it for free, I’ve got it available as a pdf right here). It burnt me out fairly spectacularly on fiction writing, but that was okay. I had written a novel. I’d won a big scary thing and crossed it off of my Bucket List.
Now, I did think about it last year, but shrugged it off because I didn’t have enough of an idea to develop, and was still burnt out on the thought. But in April of last year I started on 750words.com, just because it seemed like a good site to lock in free account on. I picked up a set of Story Cubes and wrote more short fiction, but it quickly morphed into some self-therapizin’ brain dumping. Which is good — I actually really needed that. But between that and my daily on a more private journal, I was easily doing 1,000 words a day (not including other blogs like this one).
So when this year rolled around, I expected to shrug it off as well. I had even less of an idea, so what chance did I have getting off the ground. But somehow one popped into my head in the first couple sentences of scribbling, and I seem to be doing a surprisingly competent job. I don’t know if I’m going to make it the full run this time though; I sort of made myself go public with it so I might fail publicly and therefore deal another blow to my crippling perfectionism. But maybe I’ll end up with a novel instead. Either way, I can be pleased that I’ve managed to grow my writing chops to the point where I can choose to give it a go on a whim and keep above water.
I don’t know if I’ll write any more about NaNo here… we’ll see. You’re welcome to friend me on the site though if you are also giving it a go this time around. Or not if you see fit. But to everyone who is giving it a go — good luck, and good writing.