The End, or the Big Anticlimactic Thud

Congratulations! You just wrote those magical words we strive for.

You just wrote ‘The End’.

There should be trumpts sounding, showers of petals or confetti, and glowing accolades from your friends and family. But it’s not quite like that, is it?

If you’re anything like me, those little words are both the best and worst in your writing life.

Best, because you did it! You pushed through the whole messy story and tacked it to the page with your very own words. It’s not going anywhere until you decide to look at them again, or the technology sprites run off with your seventeen back ups all at once.

Worst, because it’s done. It’s finished. You got the whole thing out and down, scrabbling oddness that it is, but now the space it occupied in your life is empty. Poof. No more trying to sneak words in around your busy day. No desperately bargaining with characters to play nice, please. No more offerings of tea and biscuits to tempt the muse to you. My muse loves sweet biscuits, yours may like something else but the principle applies.

And when you do get into the spot to sneak in those words, you don’t just have to battle the latest hurdle your work is giving you. It’s the actual blank page. Or the list of all your other projects waiting to be picked. You have to make a decision about what to write next.
What is next?

And there is a heap of advice out there, all conflicting, and it all comes down to ‘do what your process is’. I have lost count of my frustrated mutterings into my tea cup about how to find this magical ‘your process’. It’s got to be some sort epic quest I haven’t got the starter for.

So now that The End is written, it’s done, there is one thing I have learned that has actually helped me. Listen to your reaction, and go with it. If you only want to write the one, well done you! But if you want to write more, here’s what I’ve found so far.

If there is a massive sense of victory, of being able to conquer anything, pick the next thing to do. Don’t necessarily start, but choose something. That way, when habit has the keyboard in front of you, there is an easy answer to what you’re supposed to do.

If it’s time to curl up in a blanket fort and sleep for a week, do that. But put the other projects out so you can see them. That way, when you emerge from well deserved hibernation, there is something to gnaw over and get ready for when it is time to write again.

Make writing easy, and hopefully The End is just another part of writing. One that should be celebrated, because finishing a piece is always awesome, but one that can play out however it does without throwing your writing life into turmoil.

Dusty and our new kitty, Abbey, relaxing together. This is totally what I am doing to prepare for the next writing push. 

The Power of Friends

Sometimes, I think the hardest thing to get my head around when picking up my ‘writer’ hat is that I am not alone.
I may be the only one to tell the story this way, but that doesn’t mean I am truly isolated.
Considering my Thesis contained a lot of information about the collective reality of writers, you think I would have figured it out. I hadn’t, and even though I talk to friends who write, I still found myself feeling disconnected from them in a creative world sense.
Until I realised how much time I wanted to spend in their story worlds, and how eager they were to share in mine. It was, and is, humbling and thrilling to have people who want to be part of the process with you, and who want nothing more than to know what happens next. My friends are so good to me,  they even ignore spelling/grammar issues because it’s vomit copy and they are just happy to be included.
Since the realisation managed to get my attention, I have been able to pick up a story I had set aside. The characters were waiting for me, and we are currently finding out exactly what is the significance of ancient relics being in the hands of mortals. I have a feeling it’s not a sign of peace and prosperity…
Sharing my not-yet-polished work has made me feel more connected to my friends and my work. Now I just have to keep writing words to keep up with demand!

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Speaking of friends helping each other, here is Bridget and her friend. Now she has made friends, they are determined to ‘help’ with the whole ‘leading’ idea.

Ready, Steady, Go! Tomorrow… Camp NaNoWriMo Here I Come!

I am writing this post on the train, on a bright and shiny red laptop I got as a reward for getting a for real job and as motivation to make the best of my train trips.

And the best thing is it coincides almost perfectly with Camp NaNoWriMo. In fact, this is my pre-Camp post, designed to make me feel that little bit more accountable so I have to write.

One of the things I have been struggling with is finding the right kind of motivation to make writing easy. It’s been nothing but hard. In fact, it’s been so hard I have spent the last let’s-not-work-it-out avoiding writing.

Here I am, making a new commitment to the craft. Over this coming Camp, I am going to try something I have never really tried before.

I am going to write short stories.

Setting them in someone else’s world.

Because fanfiction has to be easier than writing it all yourself, right?

All I can do is hope that I am able to get some writing done each day. That will be a bigger achievement than anything else right now. But I am going to try. And early mornings and cold fingers be damned!

Bring on Camp NaNoWriMo! I am so almost-vaguely-mostly ready!

Someone else is ready too!

Someone else is ready too!

Pre-Camp Post

Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner again, and I find myself clumsily stuffing anything I can find into my bag.
For some reason I don’t really want to investigate, I am going to attempt Camp again this year. Despite the beyond appalling showing I had last time. It must be a kind of self-inflicted madness, though I seem to be collecting people to drag in with me. At least we can all be mad together I guess.

I have been gently coaxing myself to write lately, things that make no real sense and are not part of a story. I am hoping to do much the same with Camp. Somehow, I am going to coax myself through a much smaller word count than usual, and see what I can produce around my new job. I’m writing this on the train in, determined to make the hour trip worth something to me in and of itself.

This time, I have no idea what my Camp project is, and I am hoping I can bear that better this time than last time. We’ll see. There are still a few more days to get a panicked idea ready.

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Our local wildlife, a wet and hungry kookaburra.

Maybe this little guy has some ideas to share…

Silence is telling.

The gap between this post and my last is not just the result of my life taking a few crazy turns that made me appreciate stillness and sleep.
It is not, as I would like to believe myself,  because I have been so inspired I just havent had time to blog.
It is, instead, a reflection of the creative silence I have been battering myself against. Much like a magpie who somehow gets into the kitchen,  I am sure what I want is somewhere nearby, but I have no way of getting it and so attempt to go back to what I know. And between me and the sky is a invisible barrier more implacable than I am strong or determined.

Mind Silence, the kind where no words truly settle, has been my companion these last few months. I have attempted to use NaNoWriMo to help me break loose, but all I’ve found is a ringing mockery of what I want. What I need is so far from where I am, I don’t know where to even start.

Today, I started here. Because here I don’t have to get it right, I just have to write, and it can be as concrete as my world has become. That’s part of the process right now,  finding new ways to start, and new ways to start over.

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Duchess thinks this is the way to start every day.

Packed and Panicking: Camp NaNoWriMo April 2014

I am packed. Virtually,  digitally packed, at any rate. Camp NaNoWriMo is here, and I accidentally ended up organised.
I have my notebooks, my good pens, a keyboard that makes typing easy, and a supply of Hello Panda to ward off sugar crashes.
There is even an idea, just waiting to be a full story.
So here I am, sitting at the door with my suitcase, waiting until it’s time to head off. I could start now, but it’s early and I am overcome but sudden nerves.
Instead of being gleeful at the adventure to come and the friends to meet, I am starting to feel sick in my stomach. The doubts, and my still present Inner Editor, are giving me a hard time. What if my characters don’t like me? What if the ridiculously early mornings make my brain squish? What if my bunnies eat all the things I need and none of the things left out for them?
Oh, how I hope I haven’t signed myself up for a month of procrastinating, more crochet than content. Time to make a start though.
Onward! To stories, adventure, and the hunt for Plot Bunnies!

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Duchess helping look for my inspiration

Packing for Camp NaNoWriMo

I suddenly realised, thanks to the wonders of Facebook, that it is March and that means Camp NaNo is right around the corner.
Normally I would be excited, but I am all out of creative ideas, if the as yet unfinished In the Gods’ Hands project wasn’t proof enough. So I have been haunting all my old creative places to find inspiration.
All I find are bunnies.
These bunnies are not the glorious binkying Plot Bunnies so treasured by NaNoers the world over, but their sleepy midday counterparts. They lounge around with content expressions or flop out in the heart-stopping ‘dead bunny’ and sleep. Rousing a flopped bunny is very difficult at that point.
Instead of being intimidated by the all but unresponsive condition of my Plot Bunnies,  I will take this opportunity to assemble my equipment. Camp is an adventure of truly unexpected events and a well packed adventurer’s kit is essential. If I prepare while the bunnies are sleeping, and there are still days between me and Camp, I might be able to start a story somewhere on Day One.
I will worry about coaxing the Plot Bunnies into action later, right now I have lists to write!

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Duchess and Dusty relaxing.