WRITERLY WEDNESDAY: Guess I’m a Prepper Now

No. Not that kind.

We’re just a week away from 2021’s first Camp NaNoWriMo and there’s still plenty to prepare for–even for those who are more pantser than plotter.

Here’s quick reminder of the difference between Camps and the main NaNo in November. The original beast of a challenge involves writing 50,000 words in a writing project. The Camps are more flexible and allow you to do anything from prepping, drafting, editing, rewriting previous drafts to writing blog posts, tracking time or page counts versus words, or doing other writerly projects for the month. It’s a more forgiving endeavour and a great introduction for someone who’s been considering jumping in to a NaNo challenge. There are plenty of people who still follow the 50,000 word count goal, while others can increase or decrease the goal to suit their individual needs.

Join me, as I gather my provisions in order to successfully make it through April’s writerly challenge.

We begin with the hardware. My primary tool of choice is my trusty (read: please don’t die on me Early-2015 Macbook Air 11″) laptop. I also have my Freewrite Traveler, along with notebooks, and writing implements. On standby, I have sketchbooks, coloured pencils (regular and watercolor), as well as alcohol based markers. These will come in handy for mind mapping, actually map creation, as well as a creative outlet when I need to take a break from the work itself. I also have my dry erase markers and my mirrored closet doors on which to brainstorm extensively.

Now, let’s add the software. Apps of choice: I’m still progressing with Plottr. Once I have a handle on it, I’ll do a full review, as with the other apps I try out. I’ve also got Scrivener, my old pal Google (for, you know, research), and I’m strongly considering looking into ProWritingAid (they have a Camp NaNo Offer that seems to be the best deal available for a lifetime license). Although not on offer for this NaNo, World Anvil has also piqued my interest, but I’m also considering the pros and cons of other map making software, as discussed on the World Anvil blog.

Other tools that might help in the writing process include music. Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube (for both audio and visual enjoyment) are just a few options to keep the creative juices flowing.

How about some extras? Nice to have, not all are entirely necessary, yet fully appreciated as we enter the “writing bunker” for the next 30 days. First up, we need to have sustenance. If we’re in the middle of something and can’t be bothered to get up from our desk (or wherever you plan on writing) for fear of coming out of writing mode, we need rations to sustain ourselves. Water, of course, is paramount. Other bevvies are great, too. For snacks, I’ve got Doritos, (Nacho and Zesty Cheese varieties), dill pickle chips (can’t go wrong with Lays, but I’ve been enjoying the Compliments brand, as well, from Sobeys. More chips for cheap), Milk Duds, Nerds, Gobstoppers–yes, I still eat these, what of it?–and whatever else I can socially distantly acquire before April. Bonus: take a mini-break after Easter and buy up all the Easter candy that’s gone on sale.

Now, some options on what to work on. Since Camp NaNo is more relaxed versus its big sister in November, the flexibility is both freeing and suffocating. I’ve been pondering which of my WIPs I might want to work on and in doing so stumbled upon a couple new story ideas.

Another goal that could be a ‘two birds, one stone’ perk is that I’ve been overlooking so many submission call outs and contests that have themes or genres that interest me. I’ve spent the last week or so, combing through these announcements to see what stands out to me. Anything that has an immediate deadline, I can keep as a story prompt for future writing.

For the rest of the week, I’ll review the top WIPs I want to tackle first. After all, there’s still another Camp NaNo in July. Oh, and the couple months in between.

I’m hoping that 2021’s global writing challenges are productive. I’m still in the mid-range of plantsing (the flexible hybrid of plotting and pantsing) so I know that I’m in for an adventure, regardless of which path I take.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

FANGIRL FRIDAY: Planning by the Seat of Your Pants

With Camp NaNoWriMo coming up fast, I thought I’d try to go into the event with eyes a little more open than last time. If there’s anything I learned from this last week in writing, it’s that any and everything can and will happen to throw you off course. That’s life. It doesn’t mean you have to pack it up and call it a day.

Make the most of your off-road experience. After all, side quests are arguably more satisfying than the main storyline in games. Why shouldn’t it be the same in your writing journey?

It’s true. It’s about the journey, not the destination. What’s the point if we can’t enjoy the ride?

Take, for instance, a short story competition I learned about in the wake of my missed deadline faux pas. With the deadline being what would be 4pm my time today, it wasn’t feasible for me to rush a 1000 word short story with everything I had going on with my darling X-23, Izzybear.

Add to the fact that I had two ideas I wanted to run with and only one entry was allowed, I decided to flesh the story out further and give it the TLC it deserves and over the course of the week, I developed a plot more rich in texture. It goes to show that not all plans laid are best.

If I had stuck to the original plan, I would’ve had a piece that I wasn’t fully satisfied with and only submitted for the sake of meeting the deadline. However, isn’t it preferred to put your best foot forward the first time? It’s hard to get past a wrong first impression. The fact that I like the way the story is now versus what I had come up with on the fly a few days ago further supports the advice of taking a step back to really see what you’ve got. It doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring my main goals. It doesn’t mean that my detour is a distraction or is less important. It’s a matter of perspective and looking at the bigger picture.

I read about an author sharing something she called an editorial calendar. The premise is simple and straightforward but you then realize how the simple things are so profoundly helpful in organizing your writing life. Take a calendar and map out all deadlines and writing tasks. Simple, right? The fact that you can then strategize your day around everything else you need to get done, you facepalm at how the methodology makes perfect sense.

As you might have gathered by now, I’m not saying to stick to plans hardcore. In my life, it’s been virtually impossible. Heck, I’m perfectly content doing a crossword puzzle in pencil. Nobody can be that certain of everything all the time. Also, if you tell me not to do something, the six year-old me perks up and says, in the words of Barney Stinson, “Challenge accepted.” The result? Such wonderful and potentially life-altering changes. And this can happen when plotting a story differently from your original idea. Or, you can decide to write poetry instead of prose. Maybe, you make the choice to scrap the idea and go in a completely different direction. Graphic novel? Limerick? Screenplay? There are no wrong answers here. Who wants a boring journey, anyway?

I guess what I’m saying is make a plan. Sure. But as I’ve said before, nothing needs to be set in stone because the universe will just laugh at you while tossing the odd molotov cocktail in your general direction. So, while I’m still a work in progress, I’ve transformed myself into FlexiGal, a person of ordinary means with an extraordinary passion to do some good in the world. I roll with the punches–and dodge the ones I know will land hard.

Easy peasy.

How do I know? As I write this, I’ve had to step away from the laptop at least a dozen or so times. I’m currently typing with a stuffed toy–a golden retriever pup, for those curious–sitting atop my noggin like a fascinator at a pet-themed Royal Ascot. X-23 has me chasing her again while intermittently sneaking in some cheese and crackers. The cheese to cracker ratio is obscene. I have only myself to blame. My favorite cheese is the Kerrygold Dubliner. I had her try some one day and I’ve never quite had any cheesy snacks to myself since. Anyway, I think she might be attempting a reenactment of a Doc McStuffins version of the Wolverine v. Sabertooth battle scene from X-Men and these were all we had to work with. Given the theme of today’s post, I fully appreciate her effort and 100% approve.

So, make a plan. Or not. Stick to it. Or don’t. Either way, take those twists and turns, but keep going. Every moment you experience becomes a part of you and when you reach your destination, you’re so much better for it. A better person, a better writer. And that’s a huge LEVEL UP, in my book.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

WRITERLY WEDNESDAY: It Is Wednesday, Right?

a.k.a. When the Days Blur Together

I can’t believe we’re already almost halfway through the month. As mentioned previously, I didn’t have strict expectations on myself for deadlines if something took priority. A little bummed at what ended up happening, but I know I made the right call when it came to family.

Izzybear was having a tough time these past several days. Her sleep schedule, or lack thereof, is almost as erratic as mine. Therefore, I thought it was a good thing to work with her through what could’ve ended up being a tough meltdown, and instead eventually got her back to laughing and running about–at 2am. She was happy and we were trying to find different ways to communicate with each other. Despite the late hour, I call that a win.

As the weekend drew to a close, I knew I had to dig deep to get the submissions in for impact x SKYDANCE. It was Sunday night and I even remember thinking I still had another day to go. I’d work through the night and hopefully would be finished by the following afternoon. That’s when I happened to look at the date on my laptop. Because of the late night/early mornings, I’d gotten my days mixed up. I knew the deadline the entire time, but it was around 10pm on Sunday that I realized that March 7 WAS Sunday and not Monday as I somehow thought.

The disappointment soon faded because somebody wanted me to chase her and I had to demonstrate the need for soft steps at that late hour. She humored me for about a minute, then chuckled before flailing off into the living room.

My main takeaway from the experience is that I need to learn how to stop feeling guilty for choosing one or the other… or neither, for that matter. If I want to spend time helping the kids, I should. If I need to lock myself away to write undisturbed–though I hear her lil’ stompy feet as she runs a floor above me with or without noise-cancelling headphones–I can do that, too.

Camp NaNoWriMo is just a couple weeks away. They have a prep guide that I always manage to forget to do in a timely manner. I always seem to remember it much closer to the start date. At least, this time, I was busy working on a project already. Since I’m currently revved up about the missed story prompt and my mirrored closet doors are still filled with brainstorming material, I’m going to do some research on serial storytelling and might work on that in April. After I get my bearings, I’ll go more in depth about Camp NaNo next week.

I’m definitely going to finish what I started for the prompts so that when the next submission call-out is posted, I’ll have something ready, especially the screenplay that serves as the writing sample. I really got into the story ideas I developed and whether or not they make it to the next round, I intend to play around with them either in stand alone novel form or serial story structure, similar to what was originally intended for the TV series submission.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday…

This is a Goals Post

I repeat, this is a goals post.

photos.demandstudios.com-getty-article-117-203-78457028_XS

Erm, not quite the same thing, but I digress.

New month. Goals not quite met? Shake it off and keep going. Goals accomplished? Huzzah! Let’s have a lookiloo at what’s happened and what’s yet to be done, shall we?

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The End is the Beginning is the End

Or ‘An Open Letter to Myself’

team mazama final

 

To You, As it May Concern:

We’re wrapping up Act Two of the Bootcamp and nearing the curtain call for Camp NaNo.

While I did not leap tall buildings in a single or even a dozen bounds, there was progress to be made and made it I did.

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