CampNaNo, keeping motivated and a writing anniversary

I promised a happier blog than the last. It’s a little late, but my laptop has been in for repair but it’s all working again (fingers crossed).

On the 1st July 2016, I decided I was a writer. I got the notion in my head I would write a full blown novel from start to finish. With that iron grip determination, I wrote double what I set out to do for July Camp NaNoWriMo. A year later, and two very (un)lucky friends have read it and I’m enjoying the rewrites and dabbling into part two of the trilogy I’ve planned.

This brings me to Camp NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month (which is November) is akin to that January diet/no booze pledge you make to yourself. Countless times, I have failed miserably. Others, I barely got through. Rarely, I succeeded. Last year, I surprised even myself. Therefore, July is a little anniversary for me. A small reminder of the day I took a leap and uncovered a hidden passion in writing.

However, passion isn’t the only driving force. Like a car, you need to check the washer fluid and ensure there’s no oil leak and the tread on the tires is still road legal. We all have our needs, our means of keeping going (Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes is my go to song when I’m slacking on a run) and here’s my list of things which keep me writing.

The story

Like a good book you can’t put down, the story drives you. You finish on a cliffhanger and you need to write the next part. In the earlier drafts, you have to go through the tedium of the quieter chapters but with each page, you’re getting closer to ‘that’ chapter you’ve been dying to write.

Although writing can go from this…

To this rather quickly.

The characters

They start with a few personality and appearance traits, but the author nurtures them into something almost living and breathing. You’re rooting for your protagonists and can’t wait for the antagonist to fail.

Secondly, a character will tell you if you write them out of character. They’ll hang over you like the sword of Damocles and won’t go away until you’ve rectified it.

fictional characters are real

Tea

Sorry to the coffee drinkers who just spat out a mouthful of that precious black nectar as they read this. Don’t get me wrong, I do drink coffee but tea will always win, hands down, (unless it’s after 5 pm, therefore red wine will reclaim this title).

Twitter

Really? Yes, it does help (although it helps greatly with my procrastination too). Through Twitter, I have met hundreds of like-minded writers and I’ve found a good many new authors this way. Check out #amwriting #amwritingfantasy #WriterProblems and many other hashtags and you will find us. Which leads to…

Twitter hashtag writer games/chats

These are too addictive for their own good. The daily hashtag games on Twitter are the only way I remember what day of the week we’re on.

The majority of the games will have a theme and you have to search your work in process for something suitably fitting. It’s a great way to show off your lines but, there are hidden bonuses. The 140 character limit is a curse but also a blessing. You’re forced to condensed lines to fit the limit and sometimes you’re left with a better line than the one you originally started with.

Chats usually happen over an hour and have varying themes. The only downside to these is the time differences. I often join in on #StoryCrafter which runs from 8-9pm GMT on a Sunday. The fun with these is the chat theme sometimes requires you to tweet in character.

If you’re keen on joining the games then I recommend checking out Writevent who lists all the daily writing games, chat and competitions.

Intentionally getting away from the screen/paper and doing something else

Because you always get the best┬áideas when you can’t write them down. In the shower, when I’m just about to go to sleep, and while I’m out running are my a few of the places I think up awesome plot twists.

Music

The visions in my head need a good soundtrack. Score and ambient music are my go to when I’m writing. I’m currently loving Ghosts of Paraguay, the score from the Witcher 3 video game and the Guild of Ambience on YouTube.

Lighthearted writing

Like every diet has a cheat day, I need to write something silly and lighthearted every now and then. Sometimes writing comes easy. Other times the words come slower than 5:30 pm on a workday.

@Spark_to_write and I have an epic collaboration piece that’s ongoing, and will probably never end. Go follow her, she’s my awesome, American twin.

Other writers

Again, Social Media to the rescue here. I live in the sticks and being able to talk to other writers, bat ideas around has been wonderful.

Reading and research

What’s better than writing? Reading! But my TBR pile doesn’t seem to get any smaller. Research is great fun. I googled Medieval gatehouses and ended up finding someone who made a working portcullis on his new build. I’m jealous. I want one.

writers know everything

No one else will ever write this story

No one will write the same story as you. Each person will tell it in their own unique way. The words on the page are yours and they can never be replicated by another.

There are no fixed rules

No one can tell you how to write. There isn’t a step by step guide to writing, even though people will push them. Don’t listen to people who tell you, you must write every day in order to become a writer. You’re writing, therefore you are a writer. Just keep perserving.

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