Dragon writing

1. It’s Monday morning, where’s my Dragon Age?! I know, I know, they have until tomorrow, but it had better be on my doorstep tomorrow morning or I am having a major hissy fit.

2. Yesterday was Day1 of “Write, bitch, and no excuses this time!” and I managed roughly two and a half thousand words. So I’m relatively happy.

3. I am incapable of getting to the point even in fiction. Aieee.

If any of you reading this have danced around the idea of NaNoWriMo or generally around the idea of trying to write something, but have managed to slither out of it through a combination of apathy, procrastination and terror, then maybe my experiences can be of some help. I’m not trying to bully or cajole anyone into NaNo — for me, it’s helpful to have a deadline and a public commitment, but that’s all it is. Others may find that stifling. Others still might like the competitive aspect, or the idea that you can win some kind of a prize for it (just don’t ask me what it is, I’m not motivated by shiny items).

Perchin_Year_Dragon_pen_101eHowever, getting irritated at an artificial deadline is a sign of procrastination (at least in me). Most author-advice pieces I read have them all saying pretty much the same thing: if you want to be a writer you need to a) write, and b) write even when you don’t want to. Not wanting to is a luxury for those to whom writing is a mere hobby.

I started writing fiction in the 4th grade (thanks to some stunningly great and fondly remembered primary school teachers) and I wrote pretty constantly until about 15 years ago, at which point I stopped cold. I haven’t written any fiction since, not counting game stuff for live events or tabletop campaigns; those don’t count.

I don’t know why I stopped and I don’t know why it became impossible to start again, but there you have it. So for me, NaNoWriMo is an attempt to prove to myself that I can still put out fiction and that writing paralysis can be overcome. Turns out it’s quite easy once you figure out how; the hard part is working out what will motivate you and give you just enough courage to get the day’s pages out of the way. Oddly enough, knowing that thousands of people were also planning, pondering, procrastinating and putting pen to paper did help; it makes you feel less alone while still allowing the solitude many (myself included) prefer when it comes to actually writing stuff.

Note that at this point I don’t care about being read — that’s a whole ‘nother hurdle I’ll face when the time is right. But I’ll tell you one thing: if I can put out 10,000 words during this month, let alone the 50k NaNo demands, then it’ll be about 10,000x as much fiction as I’ve written in the last decade. Quality is irrelevant here: it’s the doing that matters.

Cake– no, Novel or death!

Okay, okay, I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Prodded by people like Syp and Scarybooster, and several others I’m not awake enough to remember yet (oh hai Rivs!), here I am.

Qualifications? Who needs ’em! But as it happens I’ve got some degrees and they might have to do with literature in two languages, which makes me educated enough to have no clue about anything. Also, I’m really mean about books that are poorly edited (let alone poorly-written — everyone’s a critic and that includes me), not to mention books in which the foreign-languageyness is incorrect. If you’re going to include French or German or some other language I can read in your book, make sure you get it right or Ysh will smash. The French really don’t spend all day saying “Oooh la la” — in fact they pretty much never say it at all. It’s not a French expression, at least not in the way it’s used in English. And while I know French conjugations and tenses ain’t easy, that’s absolutely no excuse for a professional publication to get things wrong.

(Oh yeah, you should see me yelling at TV shows too. YSH SMASH!)

All of which means that if I have the balls James Mason gave a fly, I’ll put my money where my mouth is and join up. Wait… the whole body parts association thing in the previous sentence isn’t sitting well. Eh, never mind, I can come back and edit it out later.

screamThe rather precarious excuse I gave last week was that I’d be snowed under with words — err, work. I was slated to have 70,000 words to translate in November and adding 50,000 of my own to that didn’t really appeal. (Why yes, it was a yeller-bellied, lily-livered pansy-ass excuse, but we’ll pretend it was valid.) However, said work has been delayed and my excuse vanished.

You’d think the karma pixies were conspiring or something.

Just as well there’s a couple of days to go because I have almost no idea what I’m going to write or how I’m going to write it. I’ve also been one of those pretentious suffering blocked types for many many years, which I won’t bore you with other than to mention in passing that putting pen to paper has gone from being as basic as breathing to me to being something that will break me out in a cold sweat, literally. Fortunately, NaNoWriMo actually provides a workmanlike, no-nonsense “just write something, dumbass!” attitude that’s much more helpful in these situations than any kind of coddling.

So we’ll see.

I’m pissing my bland-white unisex MMO undies already.