Christina Vasilevski

Toronto Writer/Editor for Content Strategy and User Experience.

I failed NaNoWriMo 2012

A month ago, I proudly announced that I was going to attempt NaNoWriMo for a second time.

Then I wrote something, dumped my story idea a few days in because it wasn’t working, and tried starting another story from scratch. The new story lasted through only a single day-long writing jag of 5,000 words before I sputtered out and didn’t put pen to paper again for the rest of the month.

So yeah, NaNoWriMo 2012 has been a dud.

There are 2 major reasons why this year’s attempt made a huge belly flop.

  1. The World Fantasy Convention really threw me off-schedule. On November 1st, I wrote 500 words of my first story before heading off to the convention, and promised myself that I’d write 500 each day until the 4th. I vowed that after that I would ramp back up to the daily goal of 1,667. Then I realized on the 2nd that keeping my promise was going to be impossible because WFC was so frickin’ awesome, and I wanted to spend as much time as possible at the hotel. So, yeah, the huge funtastic convergence of figures from the publishing world won out over plugging away in front of my laptop. Whodathunkit?
  2. My daily routine has changed drastically. As I’ve mentioned before, earlier this summer my employment status changed and I decided to become a freelancer as a result. However, this month, my employment status changed again. I’m now doing a short-term project on a contract basis with a new company. My daily routine has been in a lot of flux this month, and if there’s one thing that NaNoWriMo requires, it’s the opposite of flux (for me at least). In addition, the job I had before allowed me to compartmentalize.  Last year, the act of returning home from work made it easy to switch gears. Now, though, I’ve been at home a lot more, so the mental divide between being “at work” and “at home” has become a lot fuzzier.

There were a few other factors that led to me not reaching 50,000 words this year. For one, I still haven’t gotten last year’s story out of my head, and I think I’m coming to the realization that although I want to let go of it, it doesn’t want to let go of me. I’ll need to sit back down with my old story and rebuild it.

For another thing, the first story that I attempted in 2012 didn’t gel properly when I wrote. I had these lovely images in my head, but had no idea what to do to make them come to life – it seemed like they didn’t want to flow down my fingers onto the page at all. That experience was worlds away from what happened in 2011, so I abandoned that story. The second story I began felt a lot more natural, but my attempt to catch up by writing 5,000 words in one day left me so tired that I didn’t feel like trying anymore.

I still think this experience was instructive because I had the strength to realize my first story wasn’t working – and the moxie to try and attempt a second one instead. However, I need to give serious thought to what writing schedule works best for me, and then figure out how to foster that kind of schedule.

World Fantasy Convention, and an Announcement

The 2012 World Fantasy Convention starts today! I have been waiting for this day for months. I don’t know if I can describe to you the relief and trepidation I feel this morning now that there’s the prospect of meeting some of my favourite authors in person. Then there’s the temptation of the dealers’ room, filled with books, books, books, and readings and panels to attend.

This will be my first con ever, so I have no idea what to expect, but I can imagine that by the end, I will be satisfied and exhausted. Whenever I go to events like this, I consciously turn on my “be social” light switch; I’m sure I’ll have no trouble meeting people, but I bet that at the end my switch will be burnt out and I’ll need a few days to recharge.

Aww, who are we kidding – I’ll probably squee like a fangirl the whole time.

Anyways, on to my announcement: last weekend, I was accepted as a slush reader for Electric Velocipede magazine! I’ve been reading slush for a few days now, and the experience has been exciting and enlightening – I get to get my story fix, and have some input on what stories I think others will enjoy reading. Even better, I can now go to WFC today with a small shred of publishing credibility on my side.

My only concern is that they’re hosting the damn thing in Richmond Hill, instead of in the downtown core proper. I don’t know how to drive (yet) which means that I still rely on using public transit – getting to Richmond Hill via the local network of trains and buses will be a… protracted process, to put it gently.

Anyways, there’s no time to lose – first, I need to read some slush, then I need to get started on NaNoWriMo, and then, I need to head out to meet the fantasy fiction pantheon. Wish me luck!

NaNoWriMo: Taking the Plunge – Again!

Image from Morguefile.

Well, it’s officially late October, and you know what that means: a frantic ramp-up to NaNoWriMo. Well, perhaps not frantic, but it’s definitely a more informed mess of activity than it was in 2011. Last year was my first time writing for NaNoWrimo, and I think I learned a lot from the experience. Unfortunately, the story I started then remains unfinished, but I have a good idea of what its problems are.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to end it, and so it’s been helplessly stewing and fermenting in my head for a year, awaiting some key insight that will make it reach critical mass and become complete. Ah, one can wish, right?

Anyway, with one successful NaNo under my belt (that is, I reached the wordcount goal even if I didn’t technically finish the story), I feel better about how to approach it this time around. Last year I was writing by the seat of my pants. This year, I have a much clearer idea of what I want to write about, and have even started doing some supporting research about the time period it’s set in, as well as other important elements of the setting.

Does this mean that I’ve abandoned my pantsing ways and become a full-on outliner? Not by a long shot. It just means that last year I blundered through the forest without anything to clear the way – this year, in contrast, I have a machete ready.

The only kink in my plans is that the World Fantasy Convention is happening from Nov 1st to 4th. I can pretty well guarantee that I won’t keep up the writing pace during those 4 days – the question is how long it will take me to get back on track from the 5th onwards.

Anyway, long story short: I’ve committed to NaNoWriMo again, and I’m excited about it! What about you, O faithful readers?