Off To Camp – July 2015 CampNaNoWriMo

(aka Campy Campy Camp Camp)

And so we meet again. Me, the de facto camp counselor and you, the intrepid Warm Weather Warriors of cabin-768716_640Wordsmithiness (I can’t help it, I LOVE unnecessary alliteration [I wanted to go with gratuitous but it didn’t alliterate as nicely]).

As we step forth and prepare for another month of crazed creativity it’s good to look back at our past.

What did we learn in April? Did we exceed our expectations or did we expect too much? Did we find brilliant ways to express our story or were we frustrated with limiting words?

Did we fly? Or did we fall?

Allow me to answer that for you (trust me, I’m a  professional*).

You flew! (Does flew look weird to anyone else? It’s right, I checked. Okay, moving on…)

YOU FLEW! I know you don’t think you did, but you did! You FLEW like a crazy Bird of Words. Remember, if you added anything at all, you did something. And something really and truthfully is better than nothing. It’s not just an overused saying. And seriously, I’m not just saying this to placate, enable, or patronize you.

YOU flew.FlashBuddy bald-eagle-521492_640

Writing is surprisingly difficult. Do you know how many stories have wandered through my head that were never written down? (You probably do, you’ve had them too.) So you know how hard it is to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, thumbs to phone. And then, if you manage that, you sit and tap your fingers, not writing, just tapping a surface, all words having fled the mind. Frustrated, you slap your hands on the table and get up and actually clean the house (we all do it, my house is never tidy, but in November things get put away – it’s weird). You stalk to the kitchen to do dishes or eat your frustrations (disguised as Oreos and Cheetos) then pace back to your chair.

Eventually you start with anything that pops in to your head (it might be the Cheetos/Oreos combination talking, but go with it).

A sentence or two is written. You’ve done it! It flows.

People who don’t write do not get it. They assume it’s so easy. How hard can it be? they mock. But they don’t know. They don’t understand how hard it is. You pour yourself out and hope that someone loves it as much as you.ClkerFreeVectorImages proud figure-25590_640

And you did that. You boldly got those words out of your head.

I’m so proud of you. :’-D

So as we move into July’s camp just remember

If you flew once, you can do it again. :-D

*Hehehe A professional what? (Okay, I am actually a Life/Nutrition Coach among other things. I’m sure this falls under the life coaching aspect.)

The Eternal Question

Plotters ask questions first. They outline, they plan, they process. Plotters have there, um,notes stuff together and know where they’re headed. They surround themselves with filled notebooks then write. Give or take a bit here and there.

Pantsers are the opposite. They write almost as if they’re the reader, just as surprised by characters’ antics. There is no plan, no outline, no idea where they’re headed. They just write and maybe ask questions later.

My name is Pacifika and I’m a pantser – to the core.typer-584696_640

I’m finding that my difficulty with pantsing is that novels are huge, unwieldy things that are far more difficult to edit than were my collage essays.

The Holly Lisle* Flash Fiction program has you come up with lists of ideas to begin. Pretty cool, but I had a hard time writing from them. Turns out it’s the way my brain works. Once I’ve put it on paper, I’m done with it. It’s old and I’ve lost interest – time to move on to something new. But I can bang out an awesome little flash fiction piece in my pantser way.

The question was, How will I get better? How will I learn to organize better, make my stories tighter, if I don’t adopt some plotter techniques.

The answer came to me at random. (Yea! for my random brain.) I won’t totally bore you with the details, I’ll just say, in my youth, I began writing first and outlining after. (Shh, don’t tell Ms. Bell. She’ll flip.) Total pantser behavior.

Now it’s just a matter of reversing the plotter process. Write first, ask questions later. My next steps will be taking what I’ve learned and going over my stories. (Ugh! Yes, it means I have to go over what I’ve already done, put off the new and exciting, but I actually love my stories. My passion shows up in my pantsing as opposed to when I tried to plot.) (Hmm, that didn’t sound awkward at all)

image

Are you a pantser or a planner? Have you ever tried to do the opposite? How did it turn out?

*If you haven’t done it yet, check out Holly Lisle’s writing lessons. She has at least one free and it’s a great place to start. Also check your library’s online list of digital resources for access to Gale University for any writing classes by Steve Alcorn. They are in-depth for helping you work out why you write and what to write.

Whoooooo Aaaaarrrre Yoooouuuu?

CheshireCat

(Yes, Cheshire cat is Horrifying but I had to credit the quote, my title. And this one was less frightening than the others.)

Sit down.
You heard me, sit.
I’ve got startling news for you, and you’re going to wish you were sitting if you don’t.

Okay, now take a deep breath.
No, deeper than that.
Come on, suck that oxygen in, cuz you’re going to need it for your brain to take in what I’m about to say.
Now take two more.
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin.
Oooooooouuuuuut.
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin.
Oooooooouuuuuut.

YOU are a writer.
Oh yeah, that’s right. I’ll say it again in a little different way.
You ARE a writer.
Once more.
You are a WRITER.

Are you with me so far?
I know the doubt. I’ve had it too. It comes about, slinking in when you’re not looking, like the neighbor cat. It curls up on the rug in front of your mental fireplace and you think “How cute.” Then when you’re not looking it scratches the furniture, shreds your certainty. Darn neighbor cat.

Okay, You and I, writers.
You know what convinced me?
A quote that I can’t find. I looked. I found some other, wonderful and inspiring quotes but not the one I was looking for. Ah, the internet Rabbit Hole and the difficulty of modern research. LOL

Take this one instead

Real Writer

Got it? Do you see what I’m saying now?

You are a writer. :D Now WRITE! (or edit if that’s what you’re doing for CampNaNoWrimo.)

Remember, if you are doing CampNaNoWriMo.org this April, nanomail Pacifika and ask for an invitation to our local SpokaNano cabin. See you all at the lake.

To Journal or not to Journal Part 1

journalBlah, blah, blah journal.

That was my view. But I kept hearing that it was really good for the brain and sorting mental and emotional clutter. Basically a big bucket you can dump all of the random garbage that blathers in your head. (Or am I the only one with that problem?)

And of course it’s “so important” for writers, so I decided to try.

You’d think it would be intuitive but I need to know what the rules are before I do something so I got online and took a class*.

I was surprised that there are a lot of different types of journaling and different exercises. It’s not just “sit down, bare your soul on paper, hope no one reads it.” You can do a Gratitude Journal (useful for accentuating the positive in your life), lists (great for clarifying), unsent letters (excellent way of giving your older siblings “what for” without hurting their feelings or getting your butt kicked). There are others and all have different outcomes and uses.

You may have heard of Julia Cameron and her book The Artists Way. (Don’t panic! journalcatYou, as a writer are an artist, but don’t let that stop you. Deep breath. You don’t have to be a hoity-toity “artiste.”) She suggests “morning pages” which is just free writing three pages first thing in the morning. Just babble and that’s it.

I did a technique called “Dialogues” and it was an enlightening experience which I’ll make you sit through in another post. Mwahahaha.

Have you journaled? How long have you done it? Has it helped you quiet the brain and focus?

* Spokane County Library District (scld.org) is partnered with Gale University to give its patrons an astoundingly wide variety of free and awesome classes. Check them out when you have a moment.

Happy April First!

Ah, spring, when a girl’s mind turns to car maintenance.

I want to share with you the fine art of changing the oil. Pay very close attention as these steps are critical to the proper function of your vehicle.

1. Go to a reputable oil change business; local or chain works.

2. Pay them to do the job.

3. Do not let them talk you into paying them to change your blinker fluid or the muffler bearings. You can do those yourself.

(I just couldn’t put up the truly serious and important bits on April Fool’s Day so look at the previous (yesterdays) post for the real one.)

jester

Remember, if you are doing CampNaNoWriMo this April, nanomail Pacifika and ask for an invitation to our local SpokaNano cabin. See you all at the lake.

(Happy Campers are we, having fun ‘neath the trees…)

Swiss Army Knife and Back-up, Even When You Think You Don’t Need It

I didn’t really own an official Swiss Army Knife but I did have a cool pocket knife with extra tools. 

Extra tools are great. You can never have too many. Well, okay, maybe…No never mind. You can’t.

We have so many tools available to us as writers. Can you imagine handwriting 50,000 words dipping your quill every couple of words, in the light of your kerosene lamp with its sooty chimney? Yurgh! I know some of you hand write, even with fountain pens, but still, makes my hand hurt and my eyes burn just thinking about it.

Whew, enough horror stories for now.

When I started doing NaNo I used Microsoft Word. It was a few years before I tried yWriter (free). I love it and still use it. We also have Celtx (free; great for scripts but I haven’t done a novel on it) and Scrivener (free trial) available for computer use.

download

[Hmm. Now seems like an excellent time to switch gears.]

 

Hit SAVE more often than you think necessary. I was nearly done with this darn post and didn’t hit save. :p

So again, SAVE SAVE SAVE your work. Back-up at all opportunities. Once you’ve written that brilliant bit of prose there is no finding it again. It was the only thing you’ve ever written that was perfect the first time.

pens

 

Anyway, back to the tools topic.

There are websites that are great tools too. WriteorDie.com (entertaining and motivating), WriteOn.Amazon.com (a rather social place for writing where you can hide or show new material and ask for feedback), and 4theWords.com (pretty new and still working out kinks but you can earn badges for different things as you write).

As far as editing, CritiqueCircle.com and WriteOn.Amazon.com can be great for getting beta readers and feedback. Just remember that you can end up with frustrated, nitpicky people so take what you get with a grain of salt.

What do you use? Why do you like it the best?

And BACK UP!

Write Now Prompt for March 31, 2015

jaycegrae:

Last day before Camp! Get those fingers moving with Write Now’s prompt.

Originally posted on Today's Author:

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

Everyone assumed it was just another one of his crazy April Fool’s Day pranks.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back…

View original 85 more words