Since Nanowrimo ended I’ve been taking some positive steps in my writing. Now for those of you who don’t know what Nanowrimo is; it’s a writing competition where you challenge yourself to write 50,000 words over a period of four weeks. Not that huge of a deal right? Wrong.
I had signed up for this year hoping to win, reaping the awards and bragging rights that come along with it. After I reformatted my laptop, I lost everything; Including my motivation and creativity. I was reduced to staring at my flashing cursor that seemed only to be mocking me while I stared at a blank page for what seemed like hours on end. At the time I was disappointed in myself, and I’m not going to lie, I felt completely disheartened by the flop.
Every year, I fly by the seat of my pants. Writing improvised stories, with no real structure, depth or even a hint at plot. This year, instead of attempting to continue this trend, I took it upon myself to change up my pattern, so that in future Nano’s. I have a concrete idea.
I have been writing since I was young. Yes. I started writing fan fiction. I never showed anybody, until my older brother’s friend asked to borrow my computer one day. He read them, and boy oh boy was I embarrassed; but the feedback I got encouraged me to continue writing; He said it was good. Now as a 12 year old, I was beside myself, giddy with delight. Someone much older than me liked what I wrote. I honestly couldn’t believe it, even now years later. Thinking back to that first compliment of my writing, makes my heart flutter slightly.
This grew to me writing short stories on a weekly basis, which in turn gained positive and negative criticism. I posted these on several sites, none of which I can recall now. Fan fiction for me, was a way to stretch my writing muscles without having to commit to creating my own characters. While it does receive a wrath online, it’s a great tool for those who are just starting to discover the power of words on a page. It’s also a great way to network with other writers, you become a part of a growing community of fans who adore the same characters you do.
Now I’m not going to sugar coat the world of fan fiction. I’ve read some that were absolutely horrible, though I’m going to remind myself, and everyone else. No matter how horrible, only offer constructive advice. (Even if it seems to be insincere)
After high school I stopped sharing my stories. I found that in those tender years, I lacked the confidence and the creativity to continuously churn out the stories like I did before. Perhaps it was becoming older, slightly more cynical that threw a spanner in the works.
It wasn’t until last year when I started up Yahpeep.com that I started to get my creative mojo back. In the writing sense; So this year when I failed, I was slightly disheartened.
Instead of wallowing in my negative critic, I indulged myself in the thought of writing a series. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Since my forte’ is predominantly chick lit, romance and tragedy, I can imagine that at the very least five people would read my work. (That’s how many friends I feel I can convince to read it at this stage.) I took it upon myself, to grab a pen and paper. Sit down. Think.
Yes I know it sounds a bit obvious, but I honestly haven’t plotted anything since I was a teenager. I have to say, that I’ve really grown from failing this year. Not only have I been able to see where I was going wrong, but I’ve also recognised, that by not planning, I’ve essentially failed myself.
So while I may have failed this year, I will most definitely look forward to next year’s challenge; I will be prepared, with my novel bible; that’s really just a spiral bound notebook I’ve had since 2010; More details on that later!
Huge congratulations to all the writers who hit the 50k, and those who didn’t but gave it a shot anyway!