My commitment to myself expressed publicly

So here is what I have shared with friends:

“Ok – so I only have to explain this once – pay attention 🙂

I am about to start nanowrimo 2014. What is it? – read this – http://nanowrimo.org/about

So as of tonight at midnight, I will be trying to write 50k words in a month, for fun. And until November 30th at Midnight you may not see me, except having me bitch and moan on here. Yes, pretty much the same as now. :p

I will only have time for work – if any materialises – sleep (yeah right) and the briefest random socialising – which will entirely depend on how ‘on target’ I am, with how many words I’ve written, how much work I have to do, and how good I feel about not being voluntarily shackled to my computer.

It’s not because I don’t like you. It’s not because I don’t want to see you. It’s not even that I think this will be a serious work of literature – although that would be a bonus. It’s just that I have to do this. I was thwarted in my last three almost attempts to do it, by work / life and illness. But I’ve not been able to find the time to do this since I last won it in 2009! – and that sh*t ain’t right!

This is about me proving I can do it, simply because I want to prove it.

So please understand, please don’t be upset if you invite me to do something and I respond with ‘Perhaps’. Please just accept that it’s another weird thing that a ginger weirdo HAS TO DO.

Thanks for reading. Now move along.”

So what’s your commitment to your creative endeavours? Do you share them in a public forum, in order to force yourself to act upon them and see them through? If not, perhaps you may want to consider it.

  • Set a challenge.
  • Share that challenge.
  • Complete the challenge.
  • Win the respect of… you!

Nanowrimo 2014 needs you!

Hey you! yes you!

[leans closer and tries to appear less-creepy] You look rather lovely.

[Cue beaming ingratiating smile] Mind if I tell you about Nanowrimo and why you should be taking part this year???? No? Cool.

Nanowrimo 2014

Nanowrimo logo

Let me begin:

What is this Nanowrimo that you speak of? – National Novel Writing Month. It’s a competition to write a novel in the month of November. And even though it has that pesky US-centric ‘national’ in the title, it’s actually International baby. that means anyone can join it… but only if they’re from Earth.

When does it take place? – November. So get prepping now. But write the thing in November. When you finish, you can spend the rest of the year reworking your work of literary genius.

Is that even possible – to write a novel in one month? – Why yes it is. In fact I’ve done it. And I was working for a real slave driver of a company back then and pulling funky hours in my day job. I managed to write it by writing on the train on the way to work and the way back and in my lunch hours, and then grabbing whatever time I could manage by writing at night or especially at the weekends. That’s right, 60,000 words penned in one month. Sadly, since then it’s not gone so well, due to work and illness getting in the way. But this year I am resolute; I will do this. And if you don’t believe me – click HERE. I was able to convince my very generous partner to give me some slack on the housework and social obligations, just enough (not a complete get out of jail free card) to give me the time to get it done. And I sacrificed a little gym time too. It’s doable.

Why would you do it?

Calvin and Hobbes cartoon

Writing can be fun

  1. Firstly, because it’s fun. No really! If you enjoy writing, as I do, and you enjoy a fun competitive atmosphere – by this I mean that there are plenty of motivational emails, forums and posts within the Nanowrimo community to motivate you. You can also get to meet other cool people in real life, by attending the writing groups and going to meet-ups. So that support network is there if you want it too. I flew solo the first time. It’s a lonely experience. But totally doable if human contact freaks you out.
  2. It’s great seeing those word counts increase each day and competing with others, and more importantly yourself, with seeing how much better you can do the following day. Yes it’s hella stressful when it goes a bit wrong. But when you overcome those barriers and carry on regardless, it’s a truly awesome feeling. if you’ve felt that ‘flow’ before, you’l totally get this.
  3. Curiosity. I was dying to see if it was even possible. Could I become a novelist? Could I walk that long lonely road? Yes i could. What doesn’t kill you makes you a cat or something. A cool cat. A feline with mad typing skills. Or at least, it makes you a little deranged by the end of it. But now that I’ve done it, I know it can be done again.

What if I don’t know how to write or I am not confident in my abilities? – it doesn’t matter. Have a crack at it. No one has to actually see the finished article but you, until you’re ready to share it. You’ll never know if you’re any good until you can get feedback. Consider it a practice run, with added fun motivation, for when you may later want to do it again for real.

What if I want to write a screenplay instead? – it’s cool people. Just do it. It’s kinda breaking the rules, but the organisers understand. After all they also used to do the very cool ScriptFrenzy competition (to write a feature screenplay in the month of April – which I’ve also done. Sadly it’s now no longer running formally). The words still count. There’s a community of like-minded people also doing it. Trust me. Heck, you can even take an existing screenplay and adapt it as a novel if you like.

So where do I start? – sign-up on the site. They will point you in the right direction – prep advice HERE. I’d also look for your local regional group – join them – and get busy. Plan away. You’ll need to have an idea of what you’re going to write. Possibly more on that later…

What do I use to write it? – you can use anything – even pen and paper at first and then type it all up later. use MS Word / Pages, a free text editor like Notepad / the ipad or iPhone Notepad app, or Celtx or Novlr. But if you want to try other tools – check out the Nanowrimo sponsor DEALS. There are plenty of deals, giving you money off the cost of various writing tools. Some of them like Scrivener even give you a free version of the software to use during the competition. I will be using Scrivener, Scapple and giving Aeon Timeline a try. You can even use tools such as the Livescribe pen or Equil Smart Pen 2 – if you want to write by hand and have your computer convert it to text you can cut and paste later.

Right, stop with the questions already. If you have more – go HERE to find out more.

[sighs heavily. Smiles and waves] Hopefully see you around in the forums and hear about your own Nanowrimo adventure. Bring free vodka next time. 🙂

New online writing tool: Novlr

With Nanowrimo coming up – I thought it prudent to mention a new writing tool I’ve just become aware of: NOVLR. It’s a new free online novel writing tool, currently in need of beta testers. Fancy a go?

check out: http://novlr.org

Not tried it myself, as I’m still deliciously wed to Scrivener (and also currently evaluating IAWriter – for use on my iPad mini, when writing on the move) but the feedback on the uncluttered interface seems positive.

Screenshot of Novlr

Novlr feature screenshot

Obviously you’ll need web access. That’s the only downside to this – you’ll have to be connected presumably, in order to access all of the collected work / features. Not a problem if you can blag free wifi in a Cafe. But you’ll have to use the export features if you want to take copies of your work on the move, when you can’t guarantee access to the online tool. At least you can use it via tablets and mobiles. Great news for Nanowrimo writers who jump on to different devices or fancy a change.

Nicole Perlman on Guardians of the Galaxy

On this episode of the SCRIPTNOTES podcastNicole Perlman, screenwriter of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – talks about how the film came about, how she was lucky enough to get her big break – elevating herself from non WGA work with indies, to working in the studio system – CHECK IT OUT HERE.

The highlights:

  • She won a major screenwriting competition.
  • Her script made the Blacklist
  • She ended up working exclusively under the Marvel intern programme for two years – and was lucky enough to be developing GOTG.