Life

Challenging Yourself and Doing Things That Scare You

I’m about to do something that terrifies me. But they say challenging yourself is important so here I go…

I’m going to attempt NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month and so for 30 days thousands of people all around the world try to write 50,000 words of a novel. And this year, I am one of them. God help me.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog you’ll know that I’ve been in a bit of a motivational crisis. I wrote about it here and here. I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for the last few years and to be honest, it has never interested me. Friends of mine have done it and from watching them from afar it seems very stressful. Why would anyone put themselves through that?! In order to hit the word count you need to be writing 1,667 words PER DAY.

When I wrote my book Doing It I kept track of my word count on this website called Pacemaker. I just logged back in to check my stats. I wrote 60,000 words in 75 days. That’s an average of 800 words a day. So this is not going to be easy…

But doing this project whether I succeed or fail just feels right to me. I’m still not out of my creative funk and doing something like this I think will really help. I think I’ve finally come up with an idea for my novel but I still have no idea how to write fiction. How do you build characters? How on earth do you write convincing dialogue?!

Like I said, I am terrified. To be honest, I’m already going into this expecting to fail. Not the best mindset to be in but manage your expectations, right? Well, not exactly. I want to succeed. But here’s what I mean by “succeed”. It doesn’t mean write an incredible story that people will like, no. In NaNoWriMo terms, “success” is writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Those words can be absolute shite as long as you hit the word count. For me though, “success” isn’t finishing a novel, it’s not even hitting 50,000 words. It’s just having something at the end of this month so say, ‘hey I wrote that!’ It may not be the best way to write a novel but it’s the best thing I’ve got to force myself to create something and get out of this funk I’m in.

And I’m preparing to make November as easy for me as possible. I’m pre-filming all my videos for the month and drafting all my blog posts so I don’t have to worry about them. They’ll just be ready to go when I need them! To be honest, that’s all I’m doing to prepare. I probably should also plan the actual novel – like characters and plot. But I literally I have NO idea what’s going to happen in the story so I’m hoping that 1st November when I sit down to write something ANYTHING comes out of my fingertips.

This is a huge challenge for me. I was never any good at creative writing in school. I don’t know what I’m doing. All I know is that I want to at least try to do this. I’m hoping that by telling people I’m doing NaNoWrimo, I’ll be held accountable and people on Twitter will check in with me everyday asking how many words I’ve written.

I’m not sure how NaNoWriMo works but apparently you can add friends/writing buddies on the site? Here’s my profile – if you’re also doing NanowriMo you can add me!

So wish me luck! If you have any tips for writing fiction or completing NaNoWrimo please leave them in the comments! And hopefully this post has maybe made you realise something you’re scared of doing and you should challenge yourself to do that thing!

 

 

Written By

6 Comments

  1. This is such a great idea! I tried setting myself a similar challenge to write my blog posts on time, but I lasted a week before I started missing too many days of writing and in the end I gave up way before the end of the month. But you made me want to try again!!
    Good luck on your challenge!! xx

  2. This morning, I was also thinking of doing the “String Puppet Everyday For A Month” challenge. It’s my own challenge inspired by the “October Puppet-A-Day Challenge” from a blog post I stumbled upon last year: http://www.paisleyspuppets.com/index.php/2016/11/27/october-puppet-a-day-challenge/

    I used to author manga and here are some tips I have for you: if you’re reducing quality to make it easy for yourself then you’re not actually getting out of your comfort zone. At worst, you’re developing bad habits as a routine, something you’ll have to spend time training yourself out of later. Here are some things I use to help me write manga. They don’t just apply to manga, they’re general writing principles:

    1. Use your past and own life for inspiration. Take some struggles you’ve over come and cloak them in symbolism. Change the obstacles into other things. Change the goal into other things. Change the challenge into other things. Let’s say that you’ve overcome confidence issues to attain a goal. Change the real life metaphorical journey into a real one with terrain that you have to trek. Were you inspired by a self-help book? What quotes helped you in your time of need? Turn the book into a weapon, like a sword or a wand and botch the words in the title of the book for the name of the wand. One of the books that inspired me to change my life was called “Give Your Life A Success Make Over” by Wes Beavis. One of the weapons weilded by Jakko Rabbitman (one of my characters in a one-shot I did a long time ago) was the “Blade of Livesgivings”, obviously a name taken from the title of the book. The mentor of Jakko Rabbitman was “Wizzlebe” (pronounced “Wizzle Bee”) the spirit of a wise Rabbitman that lived inside of the blade. Evidently, it was a play on Wes Beavis’ name. “Wes” became “Wiz” and I just took the first letters of his last name and combined them into the term “Wizbe,” but that didn’t sound right so I added some fantasy pizazz to the name by modifying it to “Wizzlebe.” These are just examples. A few more are “making self-doubt into a monster you have to overcome” (example: Jakko defeats the demon Triaxel with the “Elevation Charge”, a quality of the “Blade of Livesgivings” that draws upon a unique energy that increases the power of the wielder and the blade the more the blade is used. This was inspired by the “Path To Mastery” Wes Beavis outlined in his book, a chart which chronicles the journey from beginner to mastery and stresses persistence as the key component in attaining it), having a friend who has picked you up when you were down and renewed your determination with their uplifting words inspire a healing spot, like drinking water from a river named after them. You get the point.

    2. Make each event the basis for the next. This will allow the story to transition naturally and fluently, making it entertaining and easier to get into for the audience. You’ll see that I do this very thing in the “Roommates: The Abridged Series” that I do on youtube. You can watch all of the uploaded ones here for an idea: https://youtu.be/gUTmoQPsU9o Also watch the original. When you do this enough you can find a way to fit a pattern into anything, even something as ad hoc as the original “Roomates” series.

    3. Write men and women as men and women. I know this may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Many female fantasy authors write men as if they’re women with penises. Youtuber and published female fantasy author, “Some Dumb American” (that’s her youtube name) does a great video with great tips on this: https://youtu.be/T5tRIvO8W6o

    4. As far as character development is concerned, there are many ways to start. You can use different aspects of your personality as characters who have ideals that embody that trait. You can make conflicting beliefs that you hold and are trying to reconcile as the main character and lancer: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheLancer You can make your Meyers-Briggs personality the main character. I do this much of the time, such as my character “Majime”, a magic-based superhero who tricks his adversaries (especially in book 14). He’s the very rare “magnificent bastard” hero, a representation of the INTJ personality type that I felt was necessary because INTJs are often portrayed as villains (like Shishio from Ruroni Kenshin or Aizen from Bleach): http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagnificentBastard

    Don’t worry about the character limit. If you’re going fail at meeting the numbers, you may as well make the story good. Better to do it the right way and fall short of the character limit than do it the wrong way and hit the character limit. In fact, when you focus on just writing the story and forget about the limit, you’ll find yourself getting swept into the story you’re writing (especially if you’re following the second tip on this list) and not only may that result in you hitting the limit, it’ll result in exceeding it and being upset that you’ll have to edit out some awesome parts that you wanted to include (this is apart of the writing process.)

    I’m proud of you and I wish you luck and success!

  3. Hey, GREAT to read this. I’m myself in the middle of a big project (not Nanowrimo) and had a long time of procrastination.
    Here are my #1 Tips :
    ->Know the ending of the story so you can bend events and write everything towards it. It does not matter how far away the ending is, as long as you know where you are going.
    ->Write the novel in list or note form first (does not need to be the whole one at once). This way you I can write the story down fast without describtion in details.
    You can write one or two chapters (if you are working with chapters) in list form and then fully write down point for point without having to structure while writing.
    For example (what my list would look like) :
    -Lisa wakes up in the old Mobile Home
    -The neighbours dog jump through the window, has climbed over the outdoor energy supply
    -Lisa eats with the dog next to her
    -Lisa witnesses the neighbours fighting and screeming (they abuse this dog often)
    -The dog shows signs of fear
    -Lisa takes the dog with her and quickly leaves the camping spot
    -…

    This list I often create in the same project file as the novel itself, but it can be easier to have it apart.

    I hope this helps a little!
    I’m 25 years old, male.
    Greetings from Germany!

  4. I did NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2012. I’m doing it again this month, but I forgot to set up my profile this year on the official website. Oops! I guess I’ll get that done later. Lol. Good luck to you, Hannah! I hope you have fun doing it! 🙂

  5. Oh man, I am late to the party! It’s already the 12th so maybe not the best time to start the challenge, but nevertheless I’ve been writing here and there, things on my blog and some poetry. So I still think it’s been a productive in the writing sense month for me.

    Good luck Hannah!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *