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Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2008 October 30, 2008

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NaNoWriMo, for those who are not familiar, is National Novel Writing Month… an annual event where one-day novelists try to create a first draft of a not-completely-awful novel in 30 days.

I’ve signed up on the official website (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) for the past three years, but have not produced a single novel yet.  In fact, I have only written a handful of pages.

Although I didn’t get much writing done in past years, I did manage to have fun researching different story ideas.  It’s also managed to get lots of other household chores done while procrastinating.

Last year I had a weird case of carpal tunnel syndrome which mysteriously incapacitated my typing for the month of November… otherwise, I would have written my novel about a mystic ninja force.  I was probably watching too much anime.  😛

I think I spent too much time last year thinking about what message I wanted the story to have.  This year, I may just come up with a plot MadLibs style…

A (noun) accidentally travels to (place) and must find his/her/its way to (place) before (event).

Two days to go until the fun starts!

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Meeting with Old Friends (follow-up) February 16, 2008

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Well, things did not go as planned during the visit to NYC, and I only got to meet up with a few old friends. The meeting that I was most looking forward to (with a junior high school friend that I had once had a crush on) didn’t happen, but I did manage to meet up with friends for high school, college and my old writing workshop days.

Interestingly, it was my old high school friends who seemed the least changed. It could be that this particular group had stayed in touch with each other and continued to see each other regularly, but it seemed to me that except for the addition of a couple of kids, they still acted the same as they had nearly 20 years ago when I knew them in high school. They still told the same kinds of jokes, their provincial viewpoints, even their interaction with each other seemed unchanged. Conversations with them revolved around what fun activity they could plan for the coming weekend.

In contrast, my college and writing friends seemed to have mellowed with age and seemed much more reflective. Our conversations centered around how we had changed over the years, the decisions we faced in raising our kids, and reflections on our job/life choices and the impact that those choices have had on our careers/lives.

Meeting with Old Friends rediscovered on the Web December 18, 2007

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I recently started a Facebook account and managed to reconnect with some long-lost friends/acquaintances.  I will actually be seeing some of them when I visit New York City for the holidays this year.  It will be interesting to see how these reunions will go.  Will we reconnect as if not time has passed, or will our encounters be hindered by an an insurmountable barrier created by long years of absence?

More to follow after the holidays…

NaNoWriMo Time Again November 4, 2007

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It’s November, and that means it’s NaNoWriMo time again. NaNoWriMo, for those who are not familiar with it, is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a first draft of a novel (50,000 words) in a month. For details, visit the website (http://www.nanowrimo.org/).

This will be my third year participating, and hopefully the third time will be the charm. My previous two attempts were pretty weak. The first year, I was hopelessly stuck in writer’s block, with no idea what to write about. I think I had a grand total of about 50 words.

Last year, I had a good idea for a story, but spent to bulk of the month doing background research on mythology, magic and the occult. I had a great time, but ultimately only committed about 5,000 words to the cause.

This year, I’m ready to try again… with a new and novel approach… just start typing stream of conscious and see what comes out. I’ve prepped for it by re-reading (or rather re-listening) to Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

And off we go… 😛

11/27/2007 Update – I regret to report that my participation in NaNoWriMo this year was pre-empted by a strange case of carpal tunnel syndrome which lasted for most of this month, and daddy daycare duties during the final push week. 

Back in the Writing Saddle Again September 30, 2007

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After reading my friend’s blog for a few months, I’ve decided to try my own hand at blogging.

This friend and I co-facilitated a creative writing workshop in New York City nearly 15 years ago. We dreamt of writing the next great American novel, or becoming great poets. As of today, neither of us have published much beyond what we self-published back in those workshop days. Our literary dreams took a backseat to the more mundane tasks of building a career, starting a family and creeping towards middle age.

I have since finished graduate school, gotten married, and moved cross-country to California, and only see my friend once every couple of years when I get a chance to visit NYC.

We hadn’t spoken of writing in years. But then, about a year ago, I was browsing the catalog at my local library and noticed that a mutual workshop friend of ours had actually gotten published, and further, that his book had been made into a film. This got us pining for our old workshop days, and brought up our regrets at allowing our writing dreams to falter.

My friend started blogging, and occasionally, I’ve been reading his blogs. He’s written some blogs that have really struck a chord with me. They have been timely, poignant, and humorous.

After reading them, I’ve been tempted to start blogging a few times myself, but have always made the excuse that I’m too busy with work and the kids. I think the truth is really that I’ve been afraid to blog because my writing skills have grown rusty with disuse, and I’m embarrassed at the drivel that I may produce.

After the past few hellish weeks/months at my job, I got an e-mail this week accusing me of not doing enough to move the project forward. It forced me to evaluating possible job and career changes and realized that I can’t see myself staying in the stressful, micromanaging environment that passes for project management in corporate America for much longer.

I also realized that deep down, I still long to write and to be read. It’s time for me to get past my fears and get back in the writing saddle again.