TeaNoWriMo Results/ Writing Update

Well, I tried to make July 2012 in Teacher’s Novel Writing Month, hoping that using this month off could help me boost my creativity and give me a jump forward.

How did it turn out?

Well, with a goal of around 50,000 words for July I managed to pull of a whopping 6000 or so. Yay me! 😛

As it turned out, July was a month filled with personal issues and obstacles that basically killed my writing time. It’s odd, really, sometimes I feel I’m busier and more occupied in the Summer when I’m not at the college than I am when the college is in full swing and I’m teaching and marking!

So yeah, TeaNoWriMo ended up being a bit of a bust.

But, was it a complete loss?

Not entirely.

First, while I wasn’t up to writing a lot at first, I did get some editing done. I’m almost done my first editing pass on the Twin Stars novel, with just the very last section to go before I can get into the second pass. (Which will be the point where I start to do serious line editing and polishing.)

Second, I did get some writing done on a project which has been stalled for almost three years, and in fact I think I finally got the darn thing back on track again. I won’t mention the project name because I don’t want to jinx it, but in the last two weeks or so I’ve added another 12,000 words to it and hope to add a heck of a lot more during the month of August.

Two things have added to my productivity that I thought I’d mention.

One, which I got from the Dead Robots’ Society podcast, is that I pulled out an ancient laptop I had that doesn’t connect to the internet, stuck it in the basement, put Scrivener on it, and made it into my primary writing machine. The basement is cool, which is important because our brains work best at 22-25 degrees celsius (72-77 F), and quiet, so I don’t have any distractions. Also, since it can’t connect to the Net (most important of all!) it forces me to stay on task and keeps me from checking my mail or FB. I’ve been amazed how much this has helped my writing and kept me in the zone.

Two, I’ve been making use of one of the Pixar Writer’s Tricks whenever I get stuck- I have a blank document running in the background, and when I get really stuck, I just start writing down what won’t happen next. It’s amazing how quickly those things on the list start to become what might happen next and get things moving again. Sometimes I also alternate writing what won’t happen next with what could happen next, and do a couple lines of that to see what ideas can fall out of the tree. It doesn’t matter if the “won’ts” are silly or off topic, as long as they’re getting written down and keeping you writing and thinking. So far it’s worked almost every time I’ve gotten stuck, even if I don’t always use what got written down.

So, in August if I’m not participating much online or blogging much, please forgive me. I’m trying to get done as much as I can before September, and literally not online most days except to check my messages using my iPhone.

Keep writing!


TeaNoWriMo Update

Well, it’s been a week, so I thought I should report on how Teachers Novel Writing Month is progressing. I think I can sum the week up in one short video-

I had an idea in mind for a novel about a sleeper colony ship arriving at a new world and the problems that entailed, but apparently I was no where near as ready to write it as I thought I was. This turned into a lesson in the need for more pre-writing and less pantsing on my part. Sigh. I basically got started, hit a snag, and then spent the week trying to overcome the suddenly bout of writer’s block.

So, I think writing a new novel from scratch is out. However, as I have a few other projects that need finishing, I’ll just work on them instead and toss those onto the word-count meter to see how many words I can push out this month instead.

And next time, I won’t try something like this without a solid game plan. :-/


Teachers Novel Writing Month

I hereby declare July as TeaNoWriMo! Which, despite what you may think, doesn’t mean you have to drink 50,000 cups of tea in July. Instead it stands for Teachers Novel Writing Month.

You see, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which has become hugely popular each year, has an inherent flaw- it’s biased against teachers! If you’re a teacher, especially at High School or Post-Secondary level, November is actually your hell month as you fall under waves of marking for exams, texts, projects, and all manner of assignments. As a result, it’s very difficult for we teachers to participate in NaNoWriMo, and each year I feel totally left out. 🙁

So, instead lets have a teacher-friendly alternative! Generally speaking, Teachers have July and August off. August tends to be spent prepping for September, so that’s out, but July is a solid month where teachers have nothing but free time! So let’s make good use of that time and get out that novel you were always dreaming of writing!

Who’s with me?

My goal this July is to write 50,000 words of my next novel. I’m not sure what it will be yet (got a couple to choose from), but I’m going to dedicate myself to writing those words this July come hell or high water! (Zombie Apocalypse might slow things down, though…)

I will post my novel word count each week here on my blog, so people can see how far I’ve gotten. I also encourage my fellow teachers to also take up the challenge and give it a go! When you have this much free time, 1612 words a day should be easy. So be like Nike, and Just Do It!

Non-teachers are also welcome! TeaNoWriMo doesn’t discriminate!

If people want to post their totals in the comments sections as we go, go ahead! Misery loves company! Let’s make this a productive summer that we can all remember, because it looks like the movies are gonna suck! So what else are you gonna do?