Creativity, Motivation and Over Expectations |Camp NaNoWriMo Weeks 1 & 2

I have a phone full of ideas that I’ve collected over the past five years. On my desk, there are stacks of notebooks with pages of half-baked ideas right this moment. I even have a few drafts of unpublished blog posts here on this blog. Still, I feel like I lack inspiration. Like I’m not a very creative person. I can’t write things off the top of my head. I’d have to mull over them forever just to write a short 100-words story. Even then, I’d spend ages structuring my sentences in frustration because I can’t get them to say what I mean. I’ve never been able to reach my goal for during any NaNoWriMo either. There was always some excuse to give up.

Last November, I had grand plans to write a novel, but I’d decided to join the event on October 28th. Being overexcited just from taking the plunge, I grabbed the first idea I had. I started writing it with less than a page of an outline (which wasn’t very good either). But all my good intentions jumped out the window after I’d written the first 2000 words. My story was the most boring piece of writing I’ve ever read (and that’s saying something); because I didn’t know how to write.

If I was the protagonist in a story, then I’d learn from my mistakes. Later, I’d come back to kick some ass during April. But no, just like my novel, I had no character development either. I did the same exact thing, only, I didn’t get past 1000 words this time.

Camp NaNoWriMo this July has been a blessing. My goal this time is to write. Just write. No word count goals, no strict outline to follow. I told myself, I’d work on the outline of my novel for one hour, daily; that’s it. Today, I have a 4000 words document full of notes and the first act completely outlined and ready to be written. It may not sound like much, but hey, it’s better to have my basic plot figured out rather than dull dialogue and pages of description of an empty field.

So, that’s been my Camp so far, how is yours?

Reading for Pleasure and June TBR

If you followed my blog for a while, you’d have noticed that I do not review books often. Yet, in this past couple of weeks, I’ve not reviewed one but two books. The reason for my sparse reviews was not from not reading anything.

In fact, I review books professionally on another website. Therefore, I tend to prioritize reading those novels and hence find it hard to make the time to read the books I pick up for myself. Even when I do, it’s hard to find the motivation to makes notes about my thoughts and later pen them down in at least a mildly coherent fashion. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to not worry about things like meeting the required word count or having perfect grammer (See what I did there? 😉 ). So I’m going to shamelessly use you guys to keep me accountable in my endeavor to read for pleasure more often.

However, I’d forgotten how much fun it is to not worry about things like meeting the required word count or having perfect grammer (See what I did there? 😉 ). So I’m going to shamelessly use you guys to keep me accountable in my endeavor to read and review for pleasure more often.

So as late as this is, these are the books that I’m planning on reading this June.

1. Artful by Peter David.

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Okay, this is a Graphic Novel that is actually an adaptation of the novel of the same name by the same author. It is also kind of a cheat because I got it from the NetGalley website in exchange for an honest review. However, I absolutely loved the premise of the story which is Charles Dickens Oliver Twist with the twist being Vampires. Come on, who can pass up a vampire story? Also, that cover looks gorgeous right.

 

2. Watercolor Words by Topher Kearby

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I’ve been really interested in painting and artwork recently so I couldn’t not pick up this book whose title that combined my love for reading with my curiosity for art. This is a poetry collection which is an added bonus as I feel like I haven’t read poems in a long while. So looking forward to getting back into poetry with this book.

 

3. Absolutely Positively Not by David Larochelle

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Since this is the Pride month and because I was instantly intrigued by the title, I decided to pick up this book. It’s the story of Steven, who is absolutely positively sure that he is not gay. His problem is even though he is as obsessed with sex as any other teenager, he’s not thinking of girl when he thinks of sex. The book promises to be a fun, light-hearted read and it’s exactly what I need at the moment. I can’t wait to read more about Steven story.

So those are the books that I’m looking forward to this month. Let me know which ones you are excited about in the comments.

Happy reading! 🙂


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My NaNoWriMo 2016 Story

Recently I’ve had a craving to get out of my comfort zone and try my hand at writing longer fiction. Though I’ve been telling stories for a long time, the last November was the first time I tried writing anything more than a couple of paragraphs.

I decided that the only way I would get myself motivated was to participate in NaNoWriMo; a month long event during November where folks across the world try writing 50000 words in 30 days.

It was a bad month to choose such a challenging project. With exams taking up more than half the month, I did not reach my goal. I barely wrote 4,000 words of which I have since cut out 3000 words. Still, it is the longest piece I’ve ever written, and I’ve barely written the beginning.

However, in spite of not reaching my goal, I consider my NaNo attempt as a success. The month was a journey of self-discovery as a writer. I have come to accept that I cannot write with an outline hovering over me. Neither can I write without knowing at least a little bit about my storyline. I’m one of the plantsers; I like a happy medium between obsessive plotting and jumping in completely blind. I’ve learned that plot and setting come much more naturally to me, but I struggle with character arcs. I also find it hard to write scenes with a lot of dialogue. Character’s voice is another area that I tend to slip up and get sloppy. 

So that’s my story, tell me yours. Let me know in the comments below what you learned from NaNoWriMo 2016.

A New Year’s Pep Talk

In the words of a Facebook post I once saw, ‘It is not who you think you are that holds you back, but who you think you’re not.’ This is perhaps the truth of my life this past year and a half.

2016 may not have been a very good year in terms of my growth and progress in life, but last November and December had brought with it an important epiphany. While I had never stopped scribbling tales in short paragraphs, I stopped putting them up on the internet. A voice in my head insisted that I would never be as good as the legends like J.K. Rowling, Patrick Rothfuss, etc, so what was the point. Why show the world how bad you are? Isn’t it better to keep it to yourself?

However, going back to all my previous words, the ones that I had deemed unsophisticated, they don’t seem so terrible anymore. Today, they are merely words of an amateur. They are not my best work and could definitely use a revamp, but they are also not as unsalvageable as I had once thought.

If you are reading this post, I’m sorry that it is so long. You can stop reading if you want. I’m not writing this to inspire anyone else but me. It is just a reminder to stop beating myself up. A reminder that my opinions are as fluid as my state of mind and just as fickle. It is a reminder to not let that voice in my head stop the words flowing ever again. It is a reminder of my dream of getting published one day. It is a reminder of how far I have come from being the 17-year-old me who sent terrible yet heartfelt poetry to my friends and pestered them until they begrudgingly left me a compliment. It is also to tell myself even if I think I’m the worst writer on the planet, I can get better as long as I keep writing.

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