NaNoWriMo Fail, Plus a Blog Schedule ‘Cuz Kids Need Structure

I am not a NaNoWriMo champion.

The writers reading that statement are nodding with wry expressions; they’re sympathetic and wistful yet not all that surprised. NaNoWriMo failure happens more frequently than success.

Non-writers are either asking 1) What the F@^! is NaNoWriMo, or 2) Why not? Isn’t writing what you claim to do and love?

NaNoWriMo comes to a conclusion today, and while the atmosphere of the event motivates me to be productive even when I’d rather procrastinate some more, it’s also totally out of the range of my capabilities. There’s a breed of writers who shit quality at an astounding rate of productivity. There’s another breed who take a little more time developing their masterpiece, but might accomplish one or two manuscripts per year. Then there are writers like me who start projects with extra planning and frequent writer’s block, taking time to woo and caress their manuscript, and complete one novel over the course of anywhere from one to twenty years.

I don’t mean to make my particular writer’s breed sound more romanticized than the others with all that wooing and caressing. I only mean to say that some people (most people?) were not designed complete a novel in a month. I am one of them.

But just because I have not written 50,000 words in the past thirty days does not mean that I cannot commit to the art of fiction.

 

I should also fess up about my blogging schedule.

While last week I posted something every weekday, that pace is not sustainable. I did that to get the blog rolling. Now that we’re going strong, and I have you, Loyal Follower, I need to settle into a pattern that better fits with my varied obligations.

Don’t be upset that you won’t get to experience my genius on a daily basis. I’m doing this to keep my sanity and provide you with the highest quality of incredible, earth-moving, soul-searing prose (ha). I will try my very best to adhere to my commitment to you.

I will also agree to stop exaggerating my ability to create captivating fiction.

Though, my stuff is really freakin’ awesome.

(That was the last time, I swear.)

Anyway, here’s the deal:

Mondays are henceforth Mumbling Mondays. This is when I get to mumble and grumble about craft, industry and other writer’s life topics.

Wednesdays are WIP Wednesdays. I’ll let you know how I’m progressing and if you’re really extra lucky, I’ll post taglines, outlines, excerpts, etc. I’d like to use this day to get feedback from readers. Tell me what’s not quite doing it for you in my WIP (unless, of course, you hate paranormal romance, in which case what the hell are you doing here?). A writer friend of mine, Anita Clenney, reminded me recently that positive feedback is nice for the ego, but it won’t improve your writing. The goal is to get constructive criticism and use it to build a better book. That is stellar advice from a talented writer and all-around great woman, and I couldn’t agree with her more.

Fridays are… *drum roll for the obvious conclusion*  Flash Fiction Fridays! I’ll post my own FF pieces, along with open contests, referrals to more flash fiction, and whatever other relevant FF texts I come across/create.

I apologize for the cheap alliteration in the weekly schedule headings. It’s more for me than for you. I’m not very good at remembering what I’m supposed to be…

 

 

What was I saying?

Ah, yes. The blogging schedule.

That’s about it, really. I’m committing myself to three days a week, each of which has its own pun-tastic theme. I hope you’ll come back to visit on Friday when I’ll be talking about the online magazine that always makes me a bridesmaid but never a bride. One of these days I won’t settle for finalist- I’m shooting for a win!

DH

 

 

 

 

 

Mad Couscous Disease

The holidays are a big, gluttonous, steaming spoonful of welcome distraction.

I’ve been told I procrastinate because I’m a Sagittarius and all Sags do that. I’ve been told that I have a fear of failure/success/effort/ineptitude so I subconsciously put off doing what I know I need to do to reach my goals. I’ve been told my goals are too lofty and I’ll never succeed. That’s the one that hurts the most.

I sometimes agree and other times disagree with those assessments, depending on the day and how much the demon of self-doubt is scratching around the inside of my skull at the moment.

The truth is I piggyback onto procrastination because it’s the easiest excuse. I never want to admit that I have poor time-management or trouble prioritizing or that some days I just plain don’t feel like writing. So instead I allow myself to procrastinate; I know exactly what I’m doing and while I don’t approve of my behavior, I let myself get away with it. I’m a little tiny puppy who’s so excited to get outside I’m pulling on the leash and I’m far too cute to discipline, then one day I’m a 110 lb beast dragging my owner behind me down the sidewalk.

That’s exactly why I need to stop doing things like blaming procrastination or astrology or Freudian plagues of self-defeat for not finishing the current WIP. I don’t want to wake up one day to find that my manuscript is ripped and tattered, crusted with bird shit and grass stains from being neglectfully dragged through the years of my life.

I wipe the slate clean a lot, and I’m going to do it again now. You know how they say if you fall off the dieting bandwagon to just get back on the next day as if that entire pecan pie you ate by yourself didn’t happen? Well, once again (and not for the last time) I’m going to forget that on Saturday I did three loads of laundry instead of writing the next chapter for my book. And I’m going to forgive myself for running to the store on Sunday because I had to have couscous to serve with the fish. My goal isn’t to be one of those people who work 16-hours days; my goal is merely to become more efficient within the hours I have. I could have written a few pages in between folding clothes instead of watching a Julia Roberts movie marathon. I could have made the rice I already had instead of going out.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” ~van Gogh

While this post is mainly about procrastination, motivation is a frequent bedfellow. Fortunately, I don’t have to go into that today because Jo Eberhardt has written a brilliant guest post that could have been extracted from my own head. Thanks for doing the grunt work for me, Jo! (And laying it out better than I could have.)

I turn the issue of procrastination to you, readers- Do you find creative ways to procrastinate? What are your coping strategies?

DH