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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Packing for camp

Camping! …. Without the risks.

Sunscreen? Check. Sleeping Bag? Check. S’mores Supplies? Definitely Check.

Laptop?

Yes, I’m bringing my laptop to camp. Why? Because this is no ordinary camp, Kiddies. It’s Camp NaNoWriMo! If you’ve been following my blog, you already know the details. If not, in a nutshell, it’s a writing challenge. 50,000 words in one month– summer edition. This year, I’m in it to win it. There is no stopping me this time. Nuh-Uh.

I’ve checked in on my cabin every once in a while since they opened it and, so far, only one person has posted anything besides myself. And, I’m not sure I understand half of what they’ve said, which is sad considering this is a writing challenge. This might be similar to a chat room/board, people, but that doesn’t mean you have to write like you text. This person is nearly a decade older than me, so there’s no excuse for that teenage text speak.

Wow, I sound old….

The other cabin-mates are still silent. Hopefully they will at least say hello. It’s rather pointless to be placed in a cabin for Camp NaNo only to not talk to anyone. You could choose to do it alone instead, really. There is an option for that. I like having the virtual cabin, however, to turn to when I have questions or find myself in a writing slump. It’s also nice having that connection, especially if you live far from anyone else doing the challenge.

Now, besides “packing” for camp I’m preparing my brain for the road blocks that might be ahead. What do I do when the story just won’t come? What if one of my characters is rebelling? Stuff like that.

First things first, read as much as you can in your free time before the challenge starts. And, just because you’ll be spending several hours of your free time writing for the challenge, doesn’t mean you can’t read during that time either. When you find yourself stuck, go read something from one of your favorite authors. You can even mimic the style of that book to kick-start your own writing again. It’s okay to do that on the first draft.

Other things to do are:

  1. Change the view. Tired of looking for inspiration in the flat paint of your bedroom wall? Go to the kitchen table, a porch chair, a cafe. Anywhere else.
  2. Just go for a walk. Maybe you’ve already changed the scenery and that hasn’t worked, or you’re computer isn’t the portable type. It’s time to get some exercise, take a hike and take in the world around you. Carry some note cards and a pen with you because inspiration might hit while you’re out.
  3. Get elbow deep in another hobby. Take your mind off of your writing for a moment and go cook something or draw something. Do something that takes a different kind of creativity or no creativity at all.
  4. Go chat with fellow writers. In person, online, whichever one you have available.
  5. Participate in camp activities. Hey, it is Camp NaNoWriMo. Why not roast some marshmallows or sing camp songs? If you feel like the fun has disappeared from your writing, this can help bring it back.

So many things to do, hmmm. Anyways, the time is drawing closer and closer. For some, it’s already begun. I’ve still got quite a few hours to go. I mentioned this writing challenge to my young niece just last night — quite the blossoming writer — and she wants to try it as well. She was going to stay up late in order to do it too. Thank goodness she’s on summer vacation, or her mother might never forgive me.

Well….

Eat. Sleep. Camp. Read. Write.

 

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Writing

 

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Crazy Train

Warning: Watching a Tim Burton film, a Kpop music video — so. bad. Why must you put so much eye shadow and lip gloss on a handsome man?! — and talking about pirates in the same day can give you interesting dreams. Mine involved sexy guys on a ship, all with relatively awesome hair.

Anyway…

I was also caught dancing in the backyard yesterday while listening to “Crazy Train”. Gotta say, it’s a little embarrassing to be dancing with no regard for actual rhythm (just feelin’ the music, just feelin’ it.) only to turn around at someone laughing at you. What did I do, though, after the initial embarrassment wore off and my audience left? I continued to dance until the song was over.

Now, I know you’re probably wondering what this has to do with writing or, well, anything really. Well, I was just thinking about those moments where embarrassment prevents us from telling the story. We think, “Oh no, I can’t write that. What will people think?” or “What if so-and-so thinks I’m writing about them?” Such thoughts can be a great pain in the neck.

So, when those thoughts start popping up just take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why am I writing this?
  2. Why is it important to the story, to this moment?
  3. If I don’t write it, what will that do to the story?

You might find after asking yourself these questions that, despite what people may think of you, it’s important for you to continue writing. Write under a pen name if you must, but get it out no matter what. Someone out there will be glad that you did. This blog’s name says it all: Trust your story. It knows what it’s doing and it can thrive much better, touch more people, if you stop feeling embarrassed over the important yet questionable paragraphs.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, a little Ozzy to dance around badly to:

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Life, Writing

 

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My Cabin

Camp NaNoWriMo has announced that they fumigated the cabins today, so I decided to check out my cabin. Okay, so it’s not a real cabin and the fumigating was more technical that anything else. But, let’s just go along with it.

I have 5 cabin-mates. We have yet to speak to each other. I wasn’t even aware that they’d already set the cabin message board up until a bit ago, and wouldn’t have known unless I’d decided to check out the website (because I was bored). If you’re participating in Camp NaNo this time round, check out your cabin too! I’ll be sending a hopefully friendly and not hyperactive message to my own cabin-mates shortly. Then, we just have to wait.

Meanwhile, I want to talk about strategy or how-to-get-through-this-alive. Obviously, my “strategy” last year was very, very bad. Just wing it? I don’t think so. Doing that part of the time is OK, but it’s going to drive you into a corner if you do it for the entire story. Instead, I’m going to outline the story a little before I officially start on it. Recently, I learned of something I think will be quite useful, so I want to share it with you:

1. Write out your scenes on note cards.

2. Then, arrange them in front of you to see where the scenes really belong in the story. You might find that a scene you originally placed at the beginning, belongs closer to the end or vice versa.

Got it? Pretty easy, and really helpful if you’re more visual like I am. Other than that, I’ve been preparing by reading in my spare time. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on the Hunger Games books — among other things. I book hop like no other. Almost done, and have the disturbing dreams to prove it. Still don’t understand why my friend dislikes Katniss so much. So far, I’ve understood every action Katniss has taken in the story, good and bad. I talked with my friend a little more about the books and it might be a simple matter of her wishing the protagonist was more clever, more heroic. I think that Katniss is exactly who she should be.

Well, back to reading and some work. So many things to do tomorrow…

Eat. Sleep. Read. Write.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Writing

 

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Katniss, the cold-hearted bit-ca?

I’m trying to be very, very patient for NaNoWriMo to start. I’ve been cleaning — you would not believe how many things were expired in my bathroom — and cooking new things to keep me distracted. Also, I’ve started in on the second Hunger Games book. The girly part of me is very curious about the romance aspect of it, but the other part wants to know what’s going to happen next in the land of Panem. I swear, if it’s only about who’s going to be Katniss’ boyfriend, I’m going to be ticked off.

Now, a friend of mine who has already finished all of the books told me the other day that she didn’t like Katniss, that she saw her as too cold-hearted and indifferent. I have to admit that I was a little surprised at this. I’d only read the first book, but I hadn’t really pictured Katniss as such. My friend told me to tell her if I saw anything as I was reading that said otherwise, and so I agreed.

So, I thought about it a little and as I was reading last night I had a few thoughts, the first being that my friend might be believing everything that Katniss says. What does that mean? It means that these books are in first person and therefore the narrator cannot be reliable. The parts that I had been considering to be moments of self-denial and self-editing on Katniss’ part, my friend might have taken at face value. There are moments when she describes how she honestly feels, but her character isn’t the type to fully understand or want to fully understand her own feelings. Her character has many faults, but being cold-hearted is not one of them.

And that’s it for my character analysis. If I say anymore, I might start writing in circles. For those who have read the books, what do you think? For those who hate the books, please make your way to the nearest exit. I admit that it’s not my usual read, but it’s a whole lot better than Twilight. Sorry if I offended any Twilight fans.

Anyway.

Eat. Sleep. Read. Write.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Books, Writing

 

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Slumpity Slump Slump

This week has started off very slowly. My motivation to get anything done is extremely low, so I’ve spent several hours getting practically nothing done. Oh, what a lazy bum I am. What can I do to kick myself into gear? I thought of posting something, so here I am.

Today, I made what essentially looked like an oil spill on a plate. Fortunately, it didn’t taste like one and I was surprisingly compelled to go for seconds and then thirds. It wasn’t the best thing in the world — might have been better, had I bothered to get pork/beef and more potatoes — but the flavor was interest enough that I didn’t feel like discretely dumping it into the garbage and airing out the house to hide the evidence.

Anyway, still counting down to Camp NaNoWriMo. I want to get a few things out of the way before it starts, like cleaning and organizing. There is nothing like a dusty room to distract you from writing. When you have to sit and think, suddenly all these things that need to be done around the house are noticed. I’ll probably spend some time outside and elsewhere to help with that as well. Can’t notice what needs to get scrubbed or swept at home when you’re not at home, can you?

*Very Long Sigh*

*More Sighing*

Bah, I hardly feel like doing anything! What do you do when you’re in a slump, eh? Anyone?

Eat. Sleep…..

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Cooking, Life

 

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Let my fingers do the talking

It’s late. Very late. Much later than I should be awake, but I felt compelled to write. The only thing is, I’m not sure what I’m to write about so I’ll just let my fingers do the talking.

Now, that does bring something to mind. Have you ever sat at your desk/table/whatever with your keyboard in front of you, typing away and started swaying back and forth? I do that sometimes. Okay, most of the time. When I really get into it. When I feel like the words are flowing and I just feel like drifting along behind them. Just so you know, I’m doing that right now.

Typing is beautiful. When I’m not typing and staring at a blank page instead, it’s the most frustrating thing in the world. But, a keyboard might as well be an instrument in that moment where I let go and let the words come as they may, because it sure feels like I’m playing some strange music. Doesn’t the tap of those keys sound lovely?

When I write by hand, it’s another story. I’m not playing an instrument, but there’s something beautiful there too. My hand may occasionally cramp up, but I gain energy as the pen or pencil makes its way down the page. When I write, I am crouched down low with my nose inches away from the page. This might be an old habit from grade school to keep others from sneaking a peek at my work, but it has grown into something else. I once told someone that when I am done working on something written by hand, it’s like coming up for air. In those seconds or minutes or hours that I spend writing something, I am underwater. I am deep into the words, whether or not they will later be drastically erased or crossed out, and when I come out of that it’s like I just pulled off something death defying.

This is where my fingers would like to end my post. Either they’ve run out of things to say, or the rest of my body has caught up to them and is saying, “Sleep, for goodness sake. You have things to do tomorrow.”

Good Night.

p.s. It’s technically already Mother’s Day here. Happy Mother’s Day to all those women out there who have given so much and showed their children how to love. May that love be returned today and everyday.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Writing

 

Guess What?

So, according to WordPress I have 8 views from Finland. Finland? I’m not sure that’s accurate, but if it’s true then that’s kinda cool. If you’re from Finland and you’re reading this, leave a comment please. Where do my few and far between readers hail from, anyway? Sharing time again, people. Share because I definitely care.

Now, I decided to write another post today because I got an email last night that I’m very excited about. What is it? Camp NaNoWriMo! It’s just around the corner, as you can see:

Image

This is the final countdown! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself)

Camp NaNoWriMo is the summer version of National Novel Writing Month. 50,000 words in 1 month. As some of you may know, I started this blog a little bit before my attempt at this challenge last year. I failed, unfortunately. This year, though, I think I’ll try again and see what happens. I feel good about this Camp NaNo, like I might actually succeed. It starts in June, which is going to be a pretty open month for me. So, might as well write like crazy.

If you’re interested in joining me in the mad dash for 50,000 words, check out the website. Sign up, join a cabin. You can choose to be put with people your age, in your genre or be surprised. Last year I chose to be surprised, but I decided to see what a same genre group would be like this year. If a cabin isn’t really for you, you can also work alone. Or, if you have someone in particular in mind, there’s an option for that too.

Hope you join me on this adventure! Maybe we’ll get put int he same cabin by chance.

 

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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