83 words. That’s how close I was to winning this year’s NaNoWriMo. 83 words.

This year, I took a break from what I’ve been writing all year to put something down on paper that Koala and I have been tossing around for a few weeks. I decided to write a fan fiction story about a couple of fake pundits and a European rock star, though in this story they were none of these things. They were three kids in high school caught in a love triangle, and I only got about halfway through the story so I don’t know how it ends up.

If it’s anything like real life, I don’t think anyone will end up happy, truth be told. But that’s a different story for a different day, and a different blog.

I was told a few times that I didn’t care about winning, but I guess deep down I kind of did. Everyone I’ve spoken to has told me that this constitutes a win. That I was so close that it actually kind of hurts that I couldn’t get those last few words. But it was 11:58 PM on November 30th, and my brain and fingers both just… gave up.

But, like one of the tags in this entry say, fan fiction is totally 100% a real thing. I mean, I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like it’s cheating, like you’re stealing someone else’s characters in order to make your own work, but at the same time it’s kind of fun to pretend. Especially when there is no real canon for the characters that you’re using. For example, right now my muse (aka my girlfriend) has been whispering to me about this college-type story that takes place at Berkeley, and involves the hosts of Pod Save America, and The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. Now, I know for a fact that at least one of those hosts has met the Klep in real life, but I don’t know the circumstances of that at all. I can just make assumptions.

And that’s where the fan fiction comes in. It’s going to be the assumptions that I make.

Now, is it advisable to be creating something brand new when I’ve had three or four projects started up this year that may never get finished? Probably not. But that’s certainly not going to stop me from starting this. And of course I’m going to have a little help from my muse; she and I love writing together. 98% of my best stuff has come as a result of writing with her.


The Unplanned NaNoWriMo

I told myself last year that I wasn’t going to actually participate in NaNoWriMo. Of course I did, but I didn’t do it officially. I attended write-ins and hung out with my friends and it was a good time all around. Of course it was a good time; I find the whole event to certainly be worth something. But I was also told that setting such a goal for my kind of writing, for the story that I had been working on, was unrealistic. That I should just sit down and write, and if I only write a paragraph instead of several pages, that was fine. It’s not fine in the NaNoWrimo scheme of things, but in terms of actual writing it’s perfect.

Fast forward to a year later. I’m no longer in Dearborn, Michigan but rather in Buffalo, New York.

And until this very moment, I had no intention of doing NaNoWriMo. I honestly didn’t. I was just going to ignore it this year; after all, it’s a different group of people whom I heard were not nearly as into it as my Detroit Wrimos, so what’s the point?

The point? The point is to write. And, of course, when you’re living with your muse, coming up with new story ideas is something that happens, well, on a daily basis. Like, what happened tonight. I got a new story idea planted in my brain, and now? Now I’m doing my damnedest NOT to try and write it before the first of November.

The Writing Year: Day 61

Urban Dictionary defines writer’s block as “a usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing“. When I saw this I thought it was… entirely too grown up to be from Urban Dictionary, but accepted it because, well, I’m knee-deep in a pretty severe block right now myself. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been making valiant attempts at writing something, yet it seems like everything I write is genuinely terrible.

I don’t scrap what I think is terrible. Well, okay no. No that’s not accurate. I wish that was accurate, I wish that I didn’t have a pile of papers sitting on my desk right now that was nothing more than pages ripped out of a notebook, with the frayed edges of the college ruled pages falling off and becoming all but impossible to clean up.

This is the problem with my writing most of the time. I have amazing ideas, ideas which I love and love executing if only for my own benefit. But when the idea doesn’t come to fruition the way I hoped, I rip it out of the notebook and debate using the pages as kindling in the fire pit in the backyard.

Yet here it is. September 30th, one day before the first of October, the month of preparation before NaNoWriMo. And this one is weird for me because, well, I don’t really need any preparation. I’ve been preparing for this for several months already. I’ve been putting notes into the Scrivener document for months.


See? It’s all written down, ready to go. At least the first dozen or so chapters, anyway. So this October, I’m not going to be doing much in the way of plotting, or pretending to plot. I’ve got most of it already done. So… what am I going to do this October? The month is usually spent doing all of this plotting nonsense, and now? *SCOFF* Now I’m already ready to go.

Well, except for the fact that I’m knee-deep in some kind of writer’s block.

I’ve been listening to audiobooks while at the gym — just finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, now onto Armada, also by Ernest Cline, both read by Wil Wheaton — and have been reading every chance I get. I’ve been told that reading is what helps your writing, so this is what I’ve been doing. I’ve been listening to and reading whatever I can get my hands on grabs my attention. The Ernest Cline novels grabbed my attention long before a good friend told me they were worth my time, and so far they are both proving to be worth my time. Especially Ready Player One.

I should be writing instead of blogging.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Days 30 & 31

*cues Europe’s “The Final Countdown”*

I didn’t get the opportunity to blog yesterday, so here I am giving it a go today, on this the last day of Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2016. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve written until my hands genuinely hurt. I didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be making my word count every day, though I know I should have known. I should have known that this was going to be rough, especially when I picked up a lined journal to write the story down in. I should have known that the real world, as well as my anxiety, would have gotten the best of me at some point in the month (read: for the better part of the month). Add into that mix the fact that all of a sudden I’m a Pokémon hunter and, well…

But just because the month is over, doesn’t mean that I’m done. Not even close, really. I downloaded Ink On and have been making a note of all of my progress in that way, with not one but TWO stories already documented and being worked on. I’m also still very much continuing with my daily writing and marking it both in my planner and in an Excel spreadsheet so I can watch the pretty graph grow and grow and grow.

36278 / 50000

So there you have it. Camp NaNoWriMo July 2016.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Day 29

34197 / 50000

John Mayer said it best when he said, “Say what you need to say.”

Except, I can’t. It’s not that I have writer’s block. Far from it. I know what I want to write and I have a vague enough idea of how it’s supposed to go. However, I think I may have too many ideas running around my head at once in order to put any of them down in any logical fashion. Sure, I sit here with my book open and a pen ready to write, but every time I think about it, some other story idea comes flying to forefront.

Just have to finish. Just. Have. To. Finish. Just have to get to the end of the month. I have a plan for the rest of the year, and the rest of my writing career. It’s kind of a long-term plan, but I think at this point in my life the long-term plans are best.

I do think that perhaps maybe, just maybe, I’m going to find someplace that is open 24 hours that I can go haunt for the last day of this whole event. I mean, I know that there are a few 24-hour Starbucks that are in travel plazas on the Ohio Turnpike, so, I mean, that option is there, but. It’s on the Ohio Turnpike. And there are tolls. And there’s really no easy way to turn around and come back home.

But I don’t work Sunday. And Sunday is the last day of Camp NaNoWriMo, so I would really REALLY like to find a place to sit and write and not be bothered. Who knows. Maybe I can just camp out in a Starbucks somewhere else. They have coffee and that’ll keep me awake for as long as I can manage, hopefully.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Day 28

33795 / 50000

I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to, but I did. I got up, packed my bag, and went off in search of a quiet place to write. Preferably one with coffee. One that I hadn’t been to in a while, one that seemed to be off the beaten path for a good long – hey! Wait a minute!

So this is where I ended up. The library in Plymouth. Of course, with a single dry sinus cavity and a headache to go along with it, the writing didn’t come as easily as I had anticipated. Since I didn’t have much in terms of dinner last night, and haven’t eaten much of anything as of the posting date of this blog entry, I can assume that part of my problem is that I haven’t had any food and I could really use some in order to kill this headache.

I sat in the library for a bit, behind a couch where a man was sitting reading the newspaper aloud, before making my way anywhere for a bite to eat. And after an hour of pretending that I was doing any sort of writing, I made my way from the Plymouth District Library to the Plymouth Coffee Bean for a bite and perhaps something caffeinated to drink. And while there, I got no writing done. But at least I got something good to snack on and something good to drink!

Camp NaNoWriMo: Days 26 & 27 (66.6% Complete)

33299 / 50000

Yesterday, while I did write, I was a little remiss in my blogging duties. So I’ve combined yesterday and today’s writing into one entry here on my little blog.

But I did write. I wrote a good three or so pages. I wrote with my fellow baristas looking over my shoulder at me in both amusement and a little shock because, apparently, none of them are writers.

So today I took my writing on the road. I headed to Livonia to find somewhere new to write, and really to find some new clothes for work since Starbucks changed their dress code up a little, effective immediately. But the Alfred Noble Library, albeit very small, was incredibly quiet and very conducive to the creative process. Shame that I had a splitting sinus headache and my Bluetooth mouse kept disconnecting from my laptop, which made doing anything especially difficult. But, I managed. I always seem to.

I have had, over the years, a plethora of stories that I have started but never finished. I don’t want SOCIAL to become one of them. I really enjoy this story, and sort of enjoy where it is going. But between you and I, it really has no… meaning. Sure, I’m really writing this for me because I like to see what the characters are doing and where they’re going to end up etc. etc., but I don’t think it has a message. I mean, given what’s going down in the digital world right now the message could be that being too connected could be both a blessing and a curse, but…. oh. OH WAIT A MINUTE.

Ha. So there’s my message. I should probably write that down somewhere.

During the month of November, a lot of my time is spent with the members of NaNoWriMotown, which is the Detroit chapter of NaNoWriMo. I love November, simply for the reason that I get to converse with like-minded writers and we all get together at Panera or the Bean and Leaf in Royal Oak, and we all sit down and plug in and just write. We converse, sure, but it’s a community of writers. I enjoy this community a lot. During these camp sessions, I think that’s what I miss the most. The write-ins, and the word wars. Perhaps I can do some word wars with myself here for the next day or two, if only to give myself a change to, well, attempt to catch up.