NaNoWriMo

Mid-Week Mini: NaNoWriMo 2018 Conclusion.

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I have been taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. I took the opportunity of the month to edit the story I wrote by hand last year. This year wasn’t about taking part fully, working towards a 50,000 word goal because frankly I don’t have another story idea and I hadn’t quite managed to do anything with last years NaNoWriMo attempt.

My aim this month was simple. Get the analogue version into a markdown editor, which I have achieved, and secondly to edit.

I have been making good progress on the editing. I haven’t managed to edit everyday. Some days I ran out of time, or steam, and on other days I just didn’t have the motivation.

But then in amongst that there were those magical moments when everything just seemed to work and flow well. I managed to edit a lot of content, or really make some big improvements to plot, or dialogue.

The end of the month is coming to a close and I still haven’t finished with this story. There is more editing required and additional content to bring everything together. There is something that keeps bringing me back to this story and when I am immersed in it I enjoy it. I’m taking that as a good sign and a reason to commit to finishing this story.

I think in some ways NaNoWriMo can look pressurised and competitive. But if you take a small step back from the madness I have found that this month has given me something to focus on, a little encouragement when I chose to find it and the time to write…or in my case edit.

I hope for those who took part in NaNoWriMo this year you’ve all had fun with it and perhaps there are some wonderful stories out there in the making.

NaNoWriMo: My plans this year.

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Last year I took part in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I was drawn to this challenge after completing a Creative Writing course and I had an idea floating around in my head that I wanted to explore. I took the decision to write by hand, believing this would slow down my thoughts, allow my mind to digest the ideas and also not increase my screen time any more than I needed to. It was a great way to use my fountain pens and notebooks - I went through the full set of Baron Fig School Set three pack of Vanguards during the month. I wasn’t successful in completing the challenge but I did come out with a story more developed that I ever thought I could.

One year on, this half completed rough, first draft sits partially in my markdown editor, partly still in notebooks, completely unedited. I already feel a large amount of guilt because I’ve done nothing with this over the course of a year and I don’t want it to continue to sit there.

For this years NaNoWriMo I am going to get my first draft into my markdown tool - edit it, spot the gaps, see where extra content is needed, re-write sections, add to it, plus a whole lot of other things I am blind to at the moment. This year NaNoWriMo is a chance for me to focus and figure out whether my story is any good. Honestly I am a bit nervous about re-reading it, but that’s my inner critic and that person is completely unhelpful. It’s a start point and something to work on and improve.

The back end of the year always feels like challenge central and after just completing my first Inktober it does feel like I am flitting from one creative pursuit to another. I do find these collective challenges helpful to focus and in giving me a degree of accountability and that is how I will approach NaNoWriMo this month. No 50,000 word goal, no new story, I’m just using the month to work on the foundation I created last year and perhaps find a way to develop my story.

The tools.

Now this is a stationery blog, not a blog about writing, so I will be using some tools to try and complete NaNoWriMo this month. As one of my goals is digitising my draft I will be using my laptop or iPad to digitise everything, Ulysses is my markdown editor of choice.

However for the things that come up and that I spot for development I will use the Baron Fig Strategist notecards. I plan on putting one point on each card in order to keep everything very simply and so I can move things around if I need to. For anything that needs more thought and brainstorming I will venture into a Confidant notebook.

Overall thoughts.

I will of course share my learnings from my second NaNoWriMo and anything that I accomplish during the month. As always I enjoy hearing of other peoples experiences and pursuits too so please share and good luck to anyone who is taking part.

My First NaNoWriMo Experience

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November has come to a close which means my first experience with NaNoWriMo has come to an end. I am not a NaNoWriMo winner, I fell a long way short of the desired 50,000 words coming in at 30,572 words, a far cry from the target.

A post about NaNoWriMo isn't the normal sort of post for The Finer Point but during this challenge I used a lot of analogue tools and planned using a trusty Bullet Journal. In today’s post I will share this process and some of my discoveries with you.

My very simple NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal.

I am not a fly by the seat of my pants writer, nor was I a huge planner outlining all aspects of my story. I fell somewhere in between but in order to have some idea of where I was going and what I needed to do I created a very lose Bullet Journal to plan and track my word count.

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The most useful spread was the calendar. This was a simple hand drawn calendar where I planned out what I was writing on which day. This planning was important to kick off NaNoWriMo and forced me to consider the more complicated or time consuming sections of my story and tackle these on the days where I had sufficient time. At the end of each day I added my final word count in for that day. This was useful to see how I had done each day but also proved useful in figuring out if I hadn't written enough for a section. As the month went on I didn’t plan out too much on this page, it became more of a record keeping spread.

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My NaNo Bullet Journal included a chart showing my word count target by day that I copied from Boho Berry. This was useful but became a bit depressing the more I fell behind. I continued to use this as a tracking tool but spreads such as this could become a little de-motivating during the month.

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Other pages I had in the Bullet Journal were not referenced very often but they were important in helping me keep consistency. I had plot and character outlines and lists to make sure I didn't forget anything and also knew the links between characters. The rest of the Bullet Journal was used as a brain dump to keep anything related to my story all in one notebook.

The actual writing.

I wrote the whole thing by hand. I wasn't expecting to do this at all but I actually quite enjoyed it. I had plans of using a mixture of analogue and digital tools and thought my hand could ache from too much writing. Far from it.

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I went through all three of my Baron Fig School Set notebooks. These were perfect as they had lined ruling, my personal favourite, and I could use a wide range of tools on the paper. I polished off my Insightful Spectre Squire refill during the month, worked my way through the School Set Archer pencils from Baron Fig and refilled several fountain pens on numerous occasions. I am not sure I have used any of my supplies that quickly before. It was great fun.

Overall thoughts.

I have really liked taking part in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I wrote far more than I ever expected to and at times whilst I struggled to figure out where I was going with my story, I found a way. I was a long way off the desired 50,000 word target but I am not sure that's the real purpose of this challenge. I found time most days to write, to get this story that has floated around in my head for years, down on paper, by hand.

Time away from my digital tools to create something with pen and paper is really quite liberating. The one change I will make for next year, if I have a story to write, is to drink more. I am sure this would improve the quality of my writing.

Now it's time to edit...

NaNoWriMo 2017 Toolkit

Over the years I have wanted to take part in NaNoWriMo but there were numerous reasons I wasn’t able to, one of the big ones being poor planning. This year however I am a bit more prepared and have a plan to take part in my first NaNoWriMo.

Obviously being a stationery addict an important part of NaNoWriMo is deciding what stationery items I will use to write my story. This kind of falls into the category of #preptober, where you use the month before NaNoWriMo (October) to plan your story so you are raring to go on the 1st November.

I have a small, but I think, good toolkit to help me through the challenge. I think writing out the full story using pen and paper will be tough so I will more than likely lean on my digital tools.

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Analogue tools

I have created a mini bullet journal for NaNoWriMo where I have been noting down ideas on characters and plot. I have also included a word count tracker with the aim of staying focused and a calendar view to decide what to tackle when. I haven't planned out the full month, but the first ten days have a loose outline. This extremely important information is in my Baron Fig Black Box limited edition Vanguard notebook.

To write my bestselling novel I am using the latest Baron Fig Vanguard limited edition release, the School Set. The lined ruling is ideal and I like a slimmer notebook when you are writing for longer periods of time, less ledge ache. To actually write I will be using my Archer pencil that came with this limited edition release, the new Baron Fig Squire, The Insightful Spectre and my Lamy LX fountain pen inked up with Sailor Blue Black. Any editing I may do along the way will probably be done with my Artline Magenta pen so that it stands out on the page clearly.

Digital tools

I will be using my iPad to write using a markdown editor, either iAWriter or Ulysses. I also have my Apple keyboard to make typing that little bit easier.

Feeling nervous

I am already less than confidant that I will be able to call myself a NaNoWriMo finisher. I am sure my story will run out of steam, or I will, leaving me with part of a story. But I really wanted to take part this year and use the encouragement of the community to drive me on and get 1667 words down each day. It'll also be really nice to see some used, beat up, scribbled in notebooks, but that's the geek in me.

Wish me luck.