Challenging Myself for November

Well, I’m going to bend (if not break) a rules of engagement that I described in Growth Through Change. In the past, I’ve rushed to share fragments of writing before they were ready for prime time. A couple of years ago I set myself a challenge for a month regular writing. You can read the recap (full of self-chastisement) in Thoughts on the Morning After. Bottom line, I committed to do two things in June of 2012:

  • I will post every day in the month of June.
  • Also, by the end of the month I will have Story Blue, aka The Third String, in a readable state.

The results were mixed. I did post every day. But Story Blue was not nearly close to readable. I realized that I was too eager for the immediate thrill of sharing my writing. I released fragments because I liked people reading them. But those fragments did not lead to finished product. So since then, I’ve tried to only share finished material. I’ve tried not to talk about what I’m going to do. Simply do it – then share it.

A friend and fellow aspiring writer asked me the other day if I was going to take part in NaNoWriMo. Fair question. And one that caught me (uncharacteristically) at a loss for words.

When I started this blog writing a novel was definitely in my master plan. But I’ve grown. I think that in the broad perspective “novel” carries a gravitas that “story” does not.  No worries. It looks like my view of my writing is mirroring my progression as a reader. (The Art of the Succinct, or: How I Learned to Stop Avoiding the Short Story and Enjoy the Ride)

There was a time that writing a “novel” seemed like the “be all, end all” to me. Not today, though. I’m content to write a “story” with a beginning, middle, and end. It is the kind of work that I am most interested in and, of course, find the most difficult. I’ve finished some, though, and I’m proud of them.

Lately I’ve been working on stories set in my own shared universe (tentatively called “Hell of a Business” which I’d describe as urban fantasy with shades of humor and horror). The “shared” label comes from the collaboration with a friend: David Witanowski, author of the Reynard Cycle of books. The setting is inspired by my love of the Thieves’ World stories from decades ago. It’s an opportunity to collaborate while writing stories individually. Clearly this was a great idea – I can’t wait to read the story that Dave is working on!

Which brings me back to NaNoWriMo.

I’ve been working on one story in particular for a while. The setting’s notes and other story ideas – even longer. But I haven’t yet got this next one to a point of completion. So I’m going to take another crack at a time-bounded writing challenge. I intend to write every day in November and have at least one story (“Hot Springs – You’re Going to Love It Here!”) ready to share by month’s end. But this isn’t a novel. It’s a short story.

So sign me up for NaShoStoWriMo!

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2 Comments

Filed under Open Notebook

2 responses to “Challenging Myself for November

  1. Sherry Edwards

    Dang! You are really hard on yourself. Just commit to writing every day. The rest will follow. I understand we have to set goals or we tend to procrasinate. But don’t put undue pressure on yourself. Just write. Be open to whatever the Universe sends your way. You may be surprised!

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