About My Writing, My Writing Journey, Personal Life Tidbits

What Some Writers Do When They Should be NaNoing

I convinced myself over the last couple months to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but I didn’t have time to plan and prep like I would have liked. This, for someone who thought they were mostly a panster only to realize they are NOT, was a huge mistake.

I struggled for the first two weeks of the month to stay on track and fell way behind. I did a little catch up work in the third week, but as of Thursday last week I have not written anything for my work in progress (WIP). I know. LAME.

My numbers look horrid, and I doubt I can write the last 28,000 words in five days, although that would be pretty cool if I did! I’d have to write 9,333 words a day to accomplish that.

Still, even without winning, I am glad I signed up this year. Next year I’ll be better prepared, because I have learned a valuable lesson: Pantsing is its own special artform that not all of us are talented in. I am one of those lacking that creative flair on such a grand scale. Kudos to you writers who can pants with style!

For the rest of us planners, I also applaud you who’ve taken November to write out those well-planned, detailed, and long-simmered story ideas that couldn’t wait to fly across that screen!

And if you happen to win, no matter what style of writer you are, CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so proud of you.

What has Rachael been doing since Thursday?

Well, I’m glad you asked, because that means I can share a little challenge I had an opportunity to work on that really helped me learn more techniques for graphic illustration!

Paintable.cc is a website that offers master classes on digital art, and they are pretty awesome. They have now hosted five different five day digital portrait challenges where they teach you day by day, step by step, how to design and build (basically) a digital portrait. They focus on the details that give the image a realistic design, and the challenge was great for newbie artists to seasoned professionals, of which I fall somewhere in between.

I was dumb, though, and didn’t think to save images at the different stages to show you the progression, but you’ll see what I designed. I chose an image from Paintable.cc’s Pinterest page w/portraits good for practicing, and after four days of working on it, this is what I came up with:

So, no, I haven’t written anything for NaNo in several days, but I have used that creative spark which has been enjoyable too.

Now, instead of worrying about winning NaNoWriMo, I’ll do some better planning of my current WIP so that the story will have better cohesion and flow w/o the hiccups and frustrations of not having a clear end goal in mind.

Congrats my NaNoWriMo friends! Good work!

20 thoughts on “What Some Writers Do When They Should be NaNoing”

    1. Thanks, E. I’m really happy you like it. I need to watch the videos again, but they’re not available anymore. *cries* The people at paintable have put together a really great art lesson product. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Simon. I think I didn’t hold out much hope of finishing NaNo from the beginning, but I’m glad I at least started in on it. 🙂 I really enjoyed making this picture! It was not easy for me by any stretch of the imagination. A lot of the artists who participated that had very realistic and beautiful portraits said it took about four hours…mine took four times that amount, at least! haha Imagine all the words I could have written in that time. 😛

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      1. Well yes all those words would have been great. I think you’ve added some fuzziness to the hair, I can see what you’ve done and why but do you think it might look more striking without that?

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  1. Nano is hard, but can be very rewarding if you start with at least an outline of what you want to write. I became a writer the first time I used it, and although I haven’t felt the need to do it again, I’m really grateful for that…

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  2. A pantser here. I did NaNo for the first time last year with just an idea for a plot. The first week went great. The second was tougher. Somewhere near the middle, I realized that I cannot pants anymore, and so I took a day off to plan. That helped me finish 50k on time (actually a day or two earlier). I came to the same conclusion as you – next time, I will do at least SOME plotting.

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    1. This is only the second time in the last five years I’ve done NaNoWriMo, but last time I planned out my plot ahead of time and finished with plenty of words to spare. 🙂 You still see yourself as a pantser, though? A little planning is better than none, I think, for me anyway. The worst part is that I thought I knew where this next book was headed until I reread the other books in the series and realized my plotting was all off and I’d need to slow the momentum down in order to make the plot feel more full, so I basically need to write an entirely different book than the one I’d planned to keep the flow consistent and tie up loose ends that really shouldn’t be dangling. haha Oh well, ya win some and sometimes you learn something new and win in a different way. 🙂 Are you doing NaNo this year?

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      1. No, not doing it this year. Too busy, plus I never finished the previous one (hello, edits). Yes, I still consider myself a pantser, because my planning would be very minimal. Just a skeleton. Wheras other people write binders upon binders of character stories, traits, they make mood boards, etc. That’s way too much unnecessary work for me. I don’t want to line up all the toys, I want to play with them already.

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        1. LOL I totally get what you’re saying. I don’t usually go that far, but I do like all the big stuff outlined so that I can just enjoy writing all the stuff in between as it comes into play. It helps minimize rabbit trails for me, of which I am quite proficient. haha Gary Jefferies and I are talking about putting together a Blog Battle ‘cabin’ for Camp NaNoWriMo in next year’s season some time. Would you want to be a part of that?

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          1. Which month would that be? April? I think that’s a great idea. I’m not sure if I will be in the right headspace, though. I forsee a lot of changes around of that time of year next year. But never say never!

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