May 2020 be kinder and better to us all.
It’s 8 November where I am now, and that means Nanowrimo Week 1 is officially over. I make it a point to try to participate yearly, if for nothing else than it gives me an excuse to write silly things, and this year’s no different.
The circumstances are a little different for me this year though. For one, I’m recovering from myomectomy, a fibroid removal surgery. For another, I am writing this not from my home/work place, but from my mother-in-law’s, so the atmosphere is noticeably different. I also started pretty late this year – usually I try to get some words in on November 1 itself, but I haven’t been able to muster the energy and strength to actually start writing until the 4th.
Which actually turned out to be a good thing. Some things I’ve learnt this week:
- Learning to let go
Despite being a pantser, I tend to have a very specific idea of how words should appear on a page. At an unconscious level, this was me judging myself. I like to be able to turn in clean first drafts, with the idea being that my writing would only need tweaks or that the idea has already been made apparent, with just minimal editing required. There was also the idea that what I wrote is a reflection of who I am as a human being (I know, please laugh with me).
This year’s Nano has taught me otherwise. In its 4,500+ words I’ve written so far, I’ve come to acknowledge my silly biases and honesty to myself. What is coherence? What is linear thought? While I am still a in-sequence writer, I’ve learnt to not question the time skips and jumps and the stereotypical-ness of my writing.
Plus I didn’t expect the idea of whiteness to appear so strongly, so that was a nice surprise.
- A little bit at a time
Thanks to the surgery, it isn’t recommended that I sit for too long periods of time unsupported. The chair where I write has no back, and my stitches do hurt from time to time, so I make it a point to stop and take a break. I also seem to have superficial thrombophlebitis, so the back of my right hand is swollen and hurts when I flex my hands a bit too much.
These enforced breaks, combined with regular eating times, means that when I am at the laptop writing, it is focused writing.
A sprint helps me get started or end the day’s writing session, while the rest of the time is spent percolating over what comes next in the story. It’s already moving at a clip I didn’t expect.
- The new Nanowrimo website is extremely great at catching up
It actually shows the word count you need to achieve that day in order to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month, so I no longer need to do the rough maths myself – I can just write according to the amount of words required. Plus I admit, it’s nice to see the chart climb.
- Word counts don’t matter
Ironically, while I am writing to a word count, this year’s more relaxed goals for myself means it’s a nice signpost, but it’s not a must to hit 50,000 words for me. I will admit I’d like to achieve it, but being behind this year and feeling like I missed the boat makes me feel more free compared to before and allows me to do things with my story like inserting descriptions where I want to, and not because I thought it would plump the word count.
I need to cut them and soon, they’re way too long for typing lol.
This post should be published on January 1, 2018, and with that I’d like to say…
YOU SURVIVED 2017 WELL DONE!
2017 was a shit year for many of us. It was a great year for many of us too. But if you work in the creative lines, it can feel a bit depressing because there’s just a lot of bad and worse news.
However, we made it this far. We are still alive this day in 2018, and though things may feel the same, they also feel a little different (I hope).
That said, 2017 was a detox year for me. I left a toxic environment behind, started at a new place, began buying books again (though admittedly I have yet to start reading again), wrote fiction for myself, wrote fiction as an experiment again, and ended my beef with ~Samseng~ Samsung phones (hello Note FE).
I’m writing this as a reminder of the things I experienced in 2017. You can consider this a bragging list and so if you want, you can stop reading right here.
So, my year went something like this:
- January – took my first official business trip down to Singapore. Didn’t quite work out, I left the job a month later but it was a fun trip.
- February – I found a new job and began the resignation process. It was a long time coming and not a few people were unsurprised.
- March – My first speaking arrangement! I was invited to be a speaker at the All-In Young Writers Festival in Singapore. It was my first time moderating a panel AND meeting most of the Singaporean Pulp Toast team.
- April – started at new job. Working hours were killer but it seemed my boss liked most of what I was doing. The slightly slower pace seemed really weird after doing multiple tasks for many different brands.
- June – I lent a friend of an acquaintance my two typewriters. They were exhibited and it was glorious.
- July – I went to CAFKL and gotloot. Quite a few of them are on display, but most are in storage for when I actually move to a new place. Also did the whole Bullet Journal thing. It turned out much more productive and efficient at clarifying my thoughts. This was also a hectic time at work cause my boss used it as a test run for another event in November.
- August – Company trip to Bali! It was fun but I didn’t have as much time as I wanted for introspection. Also towards the end of the month I had a horrible viral fever that ended with rashes for a week.
- September – took my car on her first multi-hour road trip out of state. She handled it far better than I expected and bonus? Mom liked driving her too.
- October – Celebrated friend getting registered for marriage and had awesome food. Also wrote a long rant on the personal blog for a game I play. xD This was also the month I bought a new phone.
- November – Completed Nanowrimo yay! It’s just 50,116 words, probably about 80% of which I will discard, but the process was essential to reassuring myself that I can still write and imagine fiction if I want to. Now to continue it for the upcoming year. Achievement as well: I consistently was able to write at least 400-600 words per session with the stylus if I wanted. The only drawback were sore hands. xD
- December – Ho gods the final stretch. We’re this close to saying goodbye to the year. Friends got married, social links were re-established, I went on a 3-night trip with mom and we didn’t kill each other, and work is DONE for the year. Wow.
Compared to the last few years, this is the first time in a long time I’ve felt that the year change will be less of just another day and more of time is taking its breath in a long time. Is it a change of eras? Who knows?
I hope your 2018 will be kind and wonderful. For now though, let’s celebrate that WE SURVIVED 2017!