Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Update 2 - The Slushy Middle

I've lost some traction on my story. Yesterday was the first day I didn't write at least the 1.666k that NaNo requires. I'm not sure how it happened. I was off from work the whole day, but somewhere between being a bit sick, minecrafting with my housemate, and trying out Assassin's Creed Rogue the whole day was lost. Beyond that though, my progress has slowed.

On day 3 I was over double the word count that was required for that point, sitting pretty at 10k+ words. Today, November 12th, I'm sitting just shy of 30k. I am still way ahead of where I should be, but it has slowed.

So what happened? Part of it has been doing other stuff. Days of hard writing made my brain want other things. Other things are enticing. But what actually happened is I hit the middle of the story. Even for a 90k work, 30k is in the middle of the story. Even worse it can be where things hit the hardest. Stuff starts happening slower. Things stop beginning, but it's not yet time for them to end. It's the mucky middle that happens after the shine of new story wears off and you're left alone with a word count, a pile of words you don't want to abandon, and the self loathing you can only experience during creation.

Now I'm not giving up. I have a plan, and going forward it should work. I know what needs to happen, new characters are about to be introduced, new aspects of the story (it's almost like my plan accounted for hitting the muck right here) and the police are getting closer to finding out my MC is responsible for not one but two dead bodies.

I just need to get home and write it.

How is your story going?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NaNoWriMo Update #1 - A Hopeful Start

As of this writing it is the beginning of the day on November 5th and my NaNo word count - after 4 days of writing - sits at just over 15,000 words. This has me well on track for a 100k NaNo, which isn't the plan but awesome none the less.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tomorrow NaNoWriMo Begins

I'm bad at keeping this blog updated. I'll fix that later. For now I want to make sure that those who do read this blog are aware that NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow.

If you don't know, NaNoWriMo is an international event where people try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Now a real novel is like 70k to 100k words, but NaNo isn't about making a finished product. It's about getting a zero or very rough first draft done so you have something to work with.

Personally I've done NaNoWriMo four times so far. I've "won" three times and failed once. This year I'm intending to give it another whirl and starting a new story idea at midnight tonight.

Over the course of the month I hope to use this blog for weekly updates on my progress, and my thoughts. I'll include thoughts on some of the pep talks that go out or different parts of writing the novel.

I hope you'll join me. It's a fun event.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Star Wars: Rebels

I watched the premiere of Star Wars Rebels last night, and have to say that I really liked it. I was worried when I read that the show was going to be more cartoony than Clone Wars (which, admittedly, got really dark at times) but if the tone they set in the pilot is what they hope to maintain then I'll be a happy watcher for as long as the show runs.

The plot of the show aside, it is a lot of the little things in the show that I really liked. Some of which was for "social justice" reasons, and others for more "Star Wars done right" reasons.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

First Week At University

It's 7AM on a Saturday and I'm up because I'm not able to sleep much more. The past week has been a little crazy due to being move in week, or "First Week" as it's called at the University. Essentially it boils down to being about 1/2 to 1/3 of the Semester's workload boiled down into a week in IT. That's not actually accurate for "all work" but for "client work" and "opening new help requests" it is.

How do I know? Because I did the numbers recently. Over your average semester the Help Center will open up anywhere from 2500 to 3500 new help requests. Over your average first week (based on data from the past 4 years) we open on average 1100 to 1400 new Help Requests. So just over half to just under a third of the help requests for the Fall semester are opened in one week. The best part is, that number is lower than the amount of people we actually help since a lot of times there simply isn't time to make a help request for everyone you're helping.

Now, the rest of the semester will - by default - be more spreadout and quietter. There is still a lot of work to do. All the non-client work, work that happens without help requests, and any looking into those 1500 help requests that has to happen still will all fill the time, but after that weak everyone in my department is quite tired.

Looking forward I have hope. Hope that with the ramp up to the new Semester, and first week itself, out of the way that there will be time for other things.

How was your week?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Off The Backburner

I have an obsessive personality. I tend to do things in bursts. A project, a game, a story, a world, or a theme will grab me and I will spend anywhere from a few hours to a few months to - once or twice - a few years doing very little but that. It is a quality that can let me hear a song countless times and not dislike it. It also helps me get a lot done in bursts. Where it isn't so good is when a task takes a long time to complete. Suffice to say, I have a lot of projects on back burners.

The thing is though, very few of those projects are actually abandoned. Some of them got back burnered because a new obsession took over. Most of them though stalled for some reason - some problem - and that is what let another obsession take over. Which means that at any time, when something else hits a problem, one of them might pop back into view complete with a solution to whatever the problem was.

That happened for me recently. A project I'm working on had a snag. I'm not even sure what it was, but something wasn't working. My mind went back to an old project, I found it, opened it, and what do you know it's good. I'm picking it back up, taking it off the back burner and onto one of the main burners. We're going to get this going, and then we're going to pretty it up and see what it is. In the meantime, the other project can rest a bit while my mind mulls over what exactly is wrong with it.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Perfect Is The Enemy of Done But When Is Good Enough Good Enough?

In any creative endeavor, or even professional endeavor where you have to polish a project or proposal, there is this feeling that you can do just a little bit more to make it better. Just another pass to clean up the lines. A quick edit to make sure the flow is right. Another look over to make sure you have no typos in your proposal for how to train people in the use of the Spell Check feature of a word processor.

Just another, a little, a bit, more, more, more, more. The thing is, once you've fallen into that trap you're never going to be finished. It could always be better with just a bit more work, and it will never be perfect, which is what your brain is trying to do. In that regard while you are going for perfection you will never be done, which is a fancy way of saying that for something to be done it can't be perfect.

But that leaves the question of how good is good enough? "Good enough" as a phrase kind of has a negative connotation to it. We don't say something is "good enough" when it is actually good, we say it when we want to justify something. "It's good enough considering..." or "It's good enough for a first effort" or even "It's good enough to be a blog post."

Somewhere in the middle is where your project needs to be.

If you're writing, the middle is not "after the first draft." I mean, not unless you want it to look hideous and be full of mistakes you didn't notice.

The same is true for any art, and even simple things like e-mails. Find the right spot in the middle, but remember it can't be perfect and at some point it does have to be good enough.