Tag Archive: writing


Goal-Setting

Up until I passed my 100th post, every time I posted, there would be a little line telling me how many posts I had and giving me a small goal to reach, but after I passed 100, it stopped giving me goals to reach and then rewarding me when I reached them. I found this very annoying until it stopped. Now I am disappointed that I don’t have a goal to work toward.

I’m not really one for making goals because I don’t really care about them and I find them ridiculous. I know people that need to have goals to accomplish or else they don’t feel like they’re doing anything productive, whereas I feel productive when I do anything at all. I know that it’s important to set goals so that they motivate you to reach them, but I don’t feel like we should decide what the line is that we can reach to feel good about ourselves. Life seems like it would be so much more than just a bazillion different little lines or marks that we need to pass, like the mile markers on roads.

Our family went on a trip to California last summer. We drove all the way from Utah. I’m not sure how many miles that is, but it took us ten hours(ish) to get there. The entire time we were driving, I was either sleeping or watching the mile markers. Mile markers fascinate me, for some reason, especially the ones that we saw on our trip, seeing as the little markers look different depending on what state you’re in. In California, the mile markers didn’t just have the number of the mile you were at, they had a whole bunch of things on the sign (also, they were white with black writing instead of green with white writing, like they are in Utah). It took me a week of staring at them with hypnotic fascination to figure out that they stated the mile, the highway/name of the road, and the county that you were driving in.

The point is that my father kept giving us the number of miles to where we were going, seeing as he had no idea how long it would take us to get there, so I kept staring at the signs, keeping track of how many miles we had gone so that I would know when we would arrive. This probably kept me from seeing a lot of things on our trip. I’m sure there were cool things to see, but I missed them because I was staring at the same part of the side of the road, waiting for the next mile marker. I do this whenever we drive anywhere. I like knowing how many miles we’ve gone. This is where I tie the story in with what I was talking about:

Little goals can sometimes be like mile markers. If we keep obsessing over them, we’re going to miss some stuff. Now that I think about it, little goals are also like pennies. Maybe they are more like pennies than mile markers. When I walk down the hallway at school, I keep my eyes glued to the ground, number one, so that I don’t fall over, and number two, so that if I see any stray coins, I can snatch them up. It’s rewarding (sort of), but if I actually payed (is it payed or paid? I’m never sure…) attention to what was going on around me, I may get to see people and wave at them or talk to them or something else.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have goals, I’m just saying that people shouldn’t obsess about goals. They also shouldn’t be so obsessive about productivity. You can contribute to people’s lives even if you aren’t being productive.

For example, during the month of November (and occasionally during the months of June and August), I write a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I set specific goals (big and small) and then I make a detailed plan of everything I do to make sure that I finish the novel in the time I am allotted and to make sure that my story-line isn’t just one big plot hole. Fortunately, after November is over, I have written a novel that I’m usually quite proud of (at least for a while until I realize how horrible it is). Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind on my school work or I have neglected some other aspect of my life (There aren’t really all that many aspects in my life, but whatever).

It’s nice to feel like I’m being productive and writing a novel is SUPER fun, but afterwards I’m glad I’m not in the middle of NaNoWriMo because it’s stressful and I am particularly prone to stress. People are always wondering why their lives are so stressful, but it’s really not all that hard to figure out. People think that getting organized will help with the stress (and it may very well do that), but a better way to decrease stress is to stop doing so much stuff. Stop setting such horrific goals, stop worrying so much about how far you’ve come and start enjoying where you’re going.

Unless, of course, you don’t like where you’re going, then that’s going to be stressful, so just make sure you’re going someplace nice… like a castle… or a forest. Forests are nice.

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Not counting, of course, Camp NaNoWriMo June 2011 or NaNoWriMo 2009 and the two novels that never made it past the first day. First of all, NaNo 2009 was my first and I wasn’t aware of anything other than I needed to write a novel. No goals, no planning, no motivation, so it’s not surprising that I abandoned it almost immediately. NaNoWriMo, in reality, is pretty awful. You have to trick yourself into it and continue tricking yourself until the end or you’ll never make it. You have to lie to yourself a lot, sometimes saying that it’s all about the word count or that plot holes don’t matter. I wasn’t smart enough to lie to myself that first year. CampNaNo in June 2011, I got a huge cold on the first day and then I had to go on tour with my high school orchestra. I pretty much maintain my speed throughout the month, so if I start out not writing anything, I lose all motivation.

Anyway, that isn’t what I want to talk about. Those months have nothing to do with my success months. This June 2012 was a success month, but it very nearly wasn’t. It didn’t start well. I didn’t make the word count for the first two days, but I picked up my act and made the minimum word count up until day 13. That’s perfectly acceptable, but it was looking more like the trends of my two failed months rather than my three successes. My first success saw my daily word count at 2k or higher every single day (I even wrote that NaNo novel with pencil and paper). I planned out the novel a month in advance and then I wrote according to the plan. Pretty straight-forward. The next success, the August after my failed June, saw me writing nearly 5k every day and finishing on day 12ish, though I think I was channeling my excitement about Pottermore into my writing and that helped. The November after that, I finished on day 14, with school every day and I even had a math class that trimester (not that math is particularly terrible, but I procrastinate like nobody’s business).

This June was nothing like that. My worst setback happened on day 14 when our family went camping. I even took a notebook with me so that I could write, which is a joke because I knew I wouldn’t do it. We left on a Wednesday and were supposed to come back on the Sunday after that, but of course I decided to visit some relative afterwards, not getting home until Monday with my older brother in tow. As nearly always happens when people come to visit me, I forget about all the things that I meant to do and instead end up eating far too much food and playing video games for hours. Plus, he brought the first three seasons of Castle on DVD with him and told me to watch them, so I did. Writing whilst watching Castle doesn’t work very well. At this point, I lost my motivation, though, after my brother left a few days later, I did get back to writing (though I was still watching Castle). Mostly, it was because I was very excited about the story-line and because I felt guilt. No surprise there.

Then, a lonely five days before the end of the month, I realized how behind I was and kind of panicked. Despite two more visits from relatives, one of them the last two days of the month, I decided that I was going to finish. Truthfully, I wanted to finish the story and if I didn’t finish in June, I would have had to let it spill over into my July and I really wanted to relax during July and maybe casually plan for August’s Camp, so I resolved to finish it in June.

This time, I only sat in the same room as the video games with my laptop on my lap and Castle playing in the background. Fortunately, I wasn’t really into the game my cousin and brother were playing, so it wasn’t hard to tune that out. I stayed up until 2am every morning except for my final day in which I woke up early and told myself that I could nap when I was finished.

My mistake was that I thought that I couldn’t write unless I started out fabulously. It nearly prevented me from winning, so don’t give up, NaNoers, even if you’re fifteen thousand words behind on the 25 day of the month.

The really stupid thing was the ending of season three of Castle. I can’t believe I almost lost Camp NaNo for it.

THIS is the prologue for the novel I’m writing for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I’ll be writing the second half of the novel in August.

On the bank of a river, on a large stone, the silhouette of a man sits with a small pipe pressed against his lips. The sounds of the river, flowing past, dampen the pure notes that emanate from the little, wooden pipe, making them little more than a whisper.
The sun is sinking below the high mountains behind the man. He ignores the heartbreaking beauty that seeps out from the sun, through the trees, and is filling the sky. His eyes are closed.
A single sparrow floats down from the branch of a tree near the rock and lands on the ground at the boots of the man. The man’s eyes open. The music stops. The man smiles at the sparrow. He begins to play again, watching as the small bird hops up and down on the pebbly ground.
Out of the bushes behind the rock, a cat leaps silently, startling the sparrow into flight. The man lowers his pipe and tucks it into a cloth case that hangs from his shoulder like a sash. The cat jumps again, this time into the man’s lap. The man strokes the cat’s fur as it turns in circles and lays down.
“Ah, Wolfgang, at last.” The man says, leaning over to put his head nearer to the cat. The cat meows once and then begins licking its paws. The man looks around at the small overgrown path that leads away from the bank of the river. “A visitor?”
Moments later, a shape appears out of the trees and makes its way along the path. The figure, another man, stops in front of the man on the rock, who raises his eyebrows at the new arrival and then turns back to stare out at the river. He continues to stroke the cat’s fur.
“John.” The first man greets. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“There has been another call.” John answers in a low, slightly rough voice.
“Another? So many lately…”
“Yes.”
“And what is so special about this call? Can another not…”
“No.” John interrupts. “This case is… rather advanced.”
“Of course it would be.”
“We need the best.”
“And I am the best.”
“Yes.” The man sitting on the rock sighs and looks back up at John.
“Where am I off to this time?”
“A small town by the name of Hamelin.”

I Give Up

I give up on Blog Every Day in April. Not only because I missed the last four or whatever days, but because I will most likely miss the next however many days are left in April. I’m still not even halfway done with my Script Frenzy screenplay, so I’ll be writing ten pages every day for the next week in order to catch up/finish, plus I won’t get home on Tuesday until after nine o’clock in the evening. I’m riding a bus for many hours to go to the Orchestra Region Festival. If our orchestra doesn’t get to go to state (again), that will make us the only group in our high school’s arts department that didn’t go to state (not to mention probably the only organization at our school)(I swear all the sports teams go to state or take state or whatever it is that sports teams do).

I would like to feel confident, but the I felt confident at the region solos and ensambles festival and our quartet got such a bad score that I’m amazed we didn’t just jump off of a mountain or something.  Our director keeps telling us about orchestra that have dropped out of the regions festival or teachers who told her that their schools are struggling in an attempt to make us feel like we have a chance of going to state, but then we keep hearing that sometimes no one in the region festival qualifies for state, so that’s incredibly encouraging.

Of course, I could be entirely wrong and we could do fantastic, but I don’t really want to get my hopes up. I’m all itchy from encountering everything I am allergic to this weekend and I’m not in the mood to be hopeful. Also, my computer froze up for about an hour earlier, so I unplugged it and carried it around for a while claiming that I was going to put it in time-out, but all I really ended up doing was opening the case and blowing giant clouds of dust up into the air, which I then breathed in (probably due to my massive intelligence) and then complaining that there was no space for more RAM.

In bringing this blog post back to the beginning (a circle… glorious), if my computer refuses to cooperate whilst I am trying to catch up on Script Frenzy, then I likely won’t catch up and that will be really embarrassing because I’ve never failed Script Frenzy before (never in all of the one time that I did it). Of course, I’ve failed NaNoWriMo several times, so that’s not really a big deal. The next time I do NaNoWriMo, though, I’m not telling anyone that I am doing it so that it will be less pitiful when I do fail. Then again, maybe I’ll write something fabulous and everyone will be wildly jealous of my incredible skill and beauty.

Gosh, this blog post reminds me of my A to Z portfolio project thing that I had to do for US History. Toward the middle of the alphabet when I had to write my miniature reports on M and N and so forth, I got really tired of writing reports and I got a little bit sarcastic (who am I kidding? I got a lot sarcastic). It wasn’t anything to lose me points, but I started saying things like, “And then so-and-so decided to go and start this organization because, apparently, he was really smart and the public was absolutely thrilled with him, being the mindless sheep that they were. Then he went to jail because he was a moron and decided to break the law. It served him right”. As you can see, I’m kind of great at making things up, but our US History teacher is just a student-teacher still going to college and he wears a bowtie every Friday, so I can’t imagine that my AMAZING writing skills will go unappreciated, though he absolutely does NOT think that my red-hair jokes are funny. He hates his red hair, which is understandable because sometimes he looks sort of like a clown, but really, he should just start dressing like an Irish-man and get over it.

There are times (such as now) when I think that I should really stop aspiring to be a writer so as to avoid inflicting so much boredom on my readers, but I really cannot help it… I am sorry.

I read this article recently… well, I read most of it. It is a very thorough article.

I like the idea of not talking about the things that are the most important to you. Admittedly, I do understand why people say that you should tell the people that you love that you love them because if they don’t know, they might wonder and then someone might die and it’s also nice to know, but there are some things I definitely don’t talk about much either because I don’t understand how to or because I avoid sentiment wherever possible. I swear, if humans could communicate via emotions, half of our problems would suddenly become solvable. Some things just sound stupid when you try to talk about them because usually the only phrases or words that you can find to express things are cliches and very annoying. I find cliches meaningless, even though they really aren’t and even though it’s nearly impossible to explain things without phrases loaded with connotation. Language is imprecise and not at all user friendly, in my opinion, and I’m a sort of word-inclined person. Music is a little better because tone is more flexible, but it’s too easy to misread or misunderstand the message, if indeed there even is one. This is why people have a hard time communicating. At least when it comes to important things. Humans are EXCELLENT at communication when it comes to unimportant things. This is why I think teenagers talk so much. They haven’t really matured for long enough to find something really important to not communicate about, but they feel that insatiable need to communicate, so they just communicate about everything. So, conclusion number one, humans are usually just awful. Conclusion number two, even having realized this, I am unlikely to discontinue my journey toward the perfect communication of at least one, small thing. That’s why novelists write such huge books. We know that it’s unlikely that we’ll portray much meaning, so we write a lot in the hope that at least one small thing will get across.

BEDA/Headaches/Writing

BEDA stands for “Blog Every Day in April”. Technically it would work for August, but August is CampNaNoWriMo and April is only Script Frenzy. Writing a screenplay in a month is much easier than writing a novel in a month, so I do BEDA in April seeing as I’m spending all of my free time typing anyway.

This morning, at exactly 4:44 (because I notice such things), I woke up with a kind of largish headache. After taking some drugs (like a boss), I got to lay in bed for a half of an hour as my headache slowly subsided. Very. Slowly.

Also, it’s my half birthday today. My half birthday is Jesus’ real birthday, so that’s pretty awesome, I guess.

Ooh, so, I wrote this short story thing for my friend for her birthday back in… I don’t remember which month. Anyway, I entered it into the Scholastic Art and Writing contest and got “honorable mention”. I just got my certificate in the mail. Now I can hang it on the wall with every other honorable mention I have. Literally, the only contest thing I’ve ever entered into and not won the honorable mention award was the fifth grade science fair, which I won first place in. Oh, and the jump-rope competition. I got fourth place, which is almost like an honorable mention. When I sent in my short story, I also sent in the first novel that I wrote, but I don’t get to know what if I even get honorable mention until May. Probably not, seeing as that novel is the worst (and best) thing I ever wrote. It might get better when I revise it, but when I sent it in, I didn’t really revise it all that much…