NaNo Day 20 – Give Me A Badge!!!

I joined Wattpad last night and started browsing around. They are a NaNoWriMo sponsor and so I figured it can’t hurt to check them out. I have to admit, I’m not sure how much I’ll use it. The site seems littered with teenage angst and emo fanfic. Which, okay, have fun kids. That is a lot healthier way to express yourself than I had as a teenager. We had LiveJournal. And we wrote nasty things about each other and read nasty things other people wrote about us and then deleted it on second thought but too late damage done. At least creative writing is good practice for school and life. So go ahead kiddies, write your fanfic. I may spend some time trying to seek out adult groups and writers and just focus on them. I already added a few NaNo peeps I found from forums on that site. I decided if I do use Wattpad it’ll be for practicing flash fiction. I started reading more and more of this thanks to various sites that use this technique (hello Chuck!) and am really excited about adding this to my writing arsenal. Practicing writing a long book takes a lot of time. But if you want to practice a bunch of the key writing skills in say, a day or so, flash fiction seems to be where it is at. You can just jump into story meat, create tension, and then end with a bang, all in less than 1,000 words. Learning to draw that out will help for novel writing, but having the skills developed of how to create tension quickly or evoke emotions quickly or whatever goal your flash fiction has is an awesome exercise. Plus, I don’t want to post longer pieces that I might want to craft into something marketable someday. Some practice work and getting feedback on it seems safe to post on the interwebz though.

As far as NaNo progress goals I’m pretty stalled. I loaded my word count into the NaNo site last night and it told me I’d get to my 50,000 words on December 28th. Disappointing. I keep telling myself I need to use all my downtime, even ten minutes here and there, to write. But it just keeps not happening. I’ll wind up reading blogs about writing or searching NaNo forums or various other electronic distractions. I’m also now hitting this wall where I think my story is good but I don’t know how to keep developing it. So I keep brainstorming and coming up with ideas that I don’t think work for my NaNo novel. But man, they’d make super cool other novels. So then I start thinking I should write that instead. I then ask myself, can I just add the word count of a different story into my NaNo novel and say “Hey! It’s writing right! Maybe I’ll decide to switch the story to story #2 anyway!” But I kind of personally feel like that would be cheating. I didn’t set out to write short stories for NaNo. I also haven’t even gotten to the real action of the story I started writing for NaNo. So it’s not like I finished it, it’s too short, and now I’m going to write a whole other story to get my 50,000 words. So. No cheating for me.

For the measly time that is left in NaNo I may try to get my writing juices flowing by using this journaling time to do a flash fiction piece instead of expounding about my personal issues. Then try my hardest to use the best of my other free time to write my NaNo story. And I may have to let go of the idea of “winning” NaNo. Sure, I really wanted that winner badge and the pride of having finally completed a NaNo after years of trying. But I’ve made it farther this year than any other year, and sticking it out until month’s end would be an achievement in itself for me. And I feel at this point that I will definitely keep writing. I’ll write into December and January until my story is done. And then I will edit. And then maybe I can switch to a new story for a while. If anything, NaNo has really jump started me into doing something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – write creatively. If only you got a winner’s badge on NaNo for achieving that!

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