The first week of NaNoWriMo brought plenty of excitement but it also brought its fair share of trials. I had sworn off all forms of communication with others unless it was an emergency or near emergency but not everyone knew this and I’m a sucker for not wanting to make people feel unwanted for lack of a better word. I also had a few obligations going into the month that I didn’t or forgot to cancel. The first of which was a date. I hadn’t had a date in quite some time so I wasn’t ready to cancel this one. I also really wanted to reconnect with this person so canceling was out of the question. It was a fine distraction though and I did actually get a lot of writing done before the date so in hindsight, I had no cause to worry.
Other obligations I had were to my family (my niece in particular), and the videogame studio I’m a part of, FlubberKnuckle studios, not to mention work obligations like a friend REALLY needing me to work a day for them so they could interview for a much needed extra job.
I don’t get to see my young niece a lot so when I do I like to do things for her. She usually invites me on field trips and other school events with her so if I have time I like to go. I couldn’t say no this month even with NaNoWriMo looming over my head. The NaNo gods must have looked over me for the month though because her event (along with a lot of school days) was cancelled multiple times until the next month.
My game group, FlubberKnuckle Studios, is restructuring and focusing on further building our designing skills and so everyone is hard at work learning new software and creating new deadlines for various projects. Every week we check in with Wednesday conferences updating everyone on our progress with whatever we’re doing. My goal before the month was to learn the Blender and Unity software. I started a few tutorials and played with the software but didn’t accomplish much. With everyone in the group working so hard and taking our deadlines so seriously I felt that I couldn’t entirely shut out my FlubberKnuckle productivity so I continued to build my knowledge of the software and participate in conferences, though I missed two. What I learned is that I don’t like juggling important tasks like that without a dedicated workspace. Unless I have a desk and a quiet space to work—in my home next year—I will only participate in NaNoWriMo if I have no other obligations and vice versa.
Life Doesn’t Pause
Distractions, distractions everywhere! Time I find is such an easy resource to waste especially for myself. I take life slowly most of the time and like to just stop and think about things, everything really. I don’t have a space of my own and I don’t own a car so finding that precious quiet time that writers crave is like mining for gold and precious gems. It’s a task it really is. I stay in a one bedroom apartment with my mother in an impromptu (what I thought temporary) move to save money. I stay in the living/dining/now bedroom and my mom likes to watch T.V…a lot. When I write, I typically write for a stretch and then pause to think about what I wrote and what I’ll write next. Problem is whenever I pause and the sounds of the T.V. travel over to my ears and my eyes begin to wander in a search for something newer or fresher than the bright whites of my notebook or laptop screen. It’s astounding how much time I actually wasted absentmindedly watching the crap she was watching at the time. When I realized how little work I had gotten done it started to piss me off. My mom is wondrously considerate like myself and I knew if I had asked her that she’d go quietly to her room but that shit wouldn’t have been fair of me so I kept my crabby attitude and tried to work through it. I knew then that I needed some other work space but it was cold and the buses really ran like shit and I couldn’t think of any decent places to go where there weren’t many distractions around. There aren’t any nearby coffee shops where I stay, at least any that didn’t require an hour and a half bus wait.
The buses were where I wasted the bulk of my time for the month. Mostly during my travels to work. Don’t get me wrong, I still crammed as much work into my bus ride as I could and actually did some of my best work on the coach. But even writing on the bus proved to be inconsistent. Getting a seat on the bus (especially the one I catch) is never guaranteed and about 70% of the time I stood up on a crowded coach. Waiting for the buses alone wasted about 2 to 6 hours out of my day depending on how late they were. But on the good bus rides I could easily write between 400 and 1000 words because of the lack of distractions (when other people weren’t acting crazy).
The writing itself was a whole other trial. My plot, I now saw, was not fully fleshed out. I wrote from the outline but added new details, locations, and characters as I did. The outline kept changing and the chapters filled out more. The writing came slowly and I found that I was truly a slow and methodical writer. I had to pause to figure out every little detail about what I was writing even words and word arrangement in a sentence. I was entirely too slow.
So now I saw that if I wanted to win this contest I needed to change where I wrote and how I wrote. So I brooded on that for a while whilst continuing to try to blot out the distractions at home with earbuds and music which proved only marginally effective. I knew my next step but it would take a large setback to make me implement it.
Up next, the pitfalls that nearly destroyed my resolve.