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October 30th, 2009
04:07 am
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Upgrades and updates
My life seems to have gotten a little out of balance lately. I say this because it's a modestly better reintroduction after five weeks of silence than the traditional "*tap, tap* Hey, is this thing on?"

It's not that I've been too busy to write; I've got no less than three unfinished short stories (and some completed song lyrics) on the front burner. But that's the problem. For a while my creative urge just dried up (or sublimated into roleplaying, one of my ongoing offline activities that has happily picked up the pace). And now that fingers are hitting the keyboard again, there's such a backlog that I'm dancing around from project to project and falling back into my old bad habits of leaving everything 80% finished. And with so many stories crowding around seeking resolution, I've been putting off journaling in favor of fiction.

The good news is that this creative burst is carrying me into winter in high spirits, rather than a few months of endless freaking out over the weather and general lack of daylight. And procrastination has its fringe benefits: for instance, I'm up at nearly 4 AM putting some final polish on a relaunch of the TTU Wiki. I just upgraded its back-end software (after three years and seven releases), which was a lot less painful than I expected, so I wrote some custom code for it to make its category listings prettier (i.e., sorted by columns instead of rows, which is slightly less trivial than it sounds).

The wiki has been getting a lot of attention lately, actually. I'm really proud of the glossary of TTU slang, and there's now some excellent detail on events like the New Year's Flyby. And I finally fixed the permissions so that any registered user can make edits wiki-wide -- which should make it a lot friendlier as a collaboration tool.

All of which is well and good, but ... it's almost November, and you know what that means.

Yes: NaNoWriMo is upon us once again. And, 48 hours from the start of the race, I find myself dithering.

On the one hand, a lot of close friends are committing to write, and I really want to join them in solidarity. It would also do me good; some of my best work has come out of the frenzy of the November word-count dance. My creativity is currently working overtime and crying out for outlets.

On the other hand, I know, with great and terrible certainty, that if I make any sort of NaNo commitment, all of my half-done projects are going to die ignominious deaths, and that rankles. I've also got more social commitments than usual this year and don't feel like I could devote the time to NaNo that I really ought to. (I also wrote 50K words of Legend of Hero last year, and traditionally I've taken a year off after each NaNo success.)

I'm juggling a few ideas for "alternate" NaNos -- I'm no stranger to the idea, having moved from BaMoJoEnt to BaMoTTuSto to novels and back. Perhaps I could create a new page on the TTU Wiki every day, or go back to the classics and post some nonfiction every day? Or maybe I ought to just keep on keepin' on, and spend November finishing my 5-story backlog ...

Thoughts? I'm in a state of severe waffle here, so reader input (and especially fellow NaNo-er input) will go a long way toward helping me channel my pent-up writing bug.

Current Location: ~/laptop
Current Music: Jim's Big Ego, "She's Dead"
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From:lienne
Date:October 30th, 2009 11:16 am (UTC)
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Well, for what a stranger's words are worth:

I like NaNo as a concept, but I've always found the actual guidelines too restrictive. So I usually spend November doing lots of writing, but not for a single overarching project. This year I'm working on a lot of serialized Internet fiction, so I'm probably going to spend my NaNo writing time bouncing between those series, and maybe starting up a new one.

My advice would be to start with the backlog, and if you find yourself adding in new stories (or Wiki pages, or nonfiction, or anything else), go with it. But that scheme is built for me and my disorganized mind, so I don't know how well it'll work for you.
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From:baxil
Date:October 31st, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
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Part of the problem with the backlog is that I've hit blocks on the existing stories, so sitting down with them and trying to churn for wordcount is definitely going to be an uphill sprint. Still, starting with it would be an emotional plus, if only for the closure.

My favorite NaNoWriMo ever was 2003, when I wrote 26 complete short stories in 30 days (I intentionally took Thursday nights off due to schedule crunch). I wish you similar success in your own!

What's your NaNo ID? I'll add you as a writing buddy.
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From:lienne
Date:October 31st, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)
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I don't have a NaNo ID, but now that I've heard of the concept of NaNo rebels downthread, I think I'll join.

You can find me over there as Peahen.
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From:jolantru
Date:October 30th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC)
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I am probably insane, this year being my first NaNo. Trying to write with a 2 and a half months old. :P

I would suggest writing short stories. I think I have seen folks using this alternative instead of the 50,000 novel route.
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From:baxil
Date:October 31st, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
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You are a far, far braver person than I.

My top ideas right now are either short stories, nonfiction, or TTU wiki work. Doing a journal entry (or other suitable nonfiction) per day for 30 days could be both retro and satisfying. BaMoTTuSto turned out well in 2003, but I doubt I'll be able to collect that sort of momentum.

You're jolantru_blackwolf on the NaNo site, right? I added you as a writing buddy.
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From:jolantru
Date:October 31st, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
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Yep, I am jolantru_blackwolf. :)
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From:krinndnz
Date:October 30th, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC)
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It's nice to see you up in the Internets again, and good luck with National Whatever You Please Month.
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From:katster
Date:October 30th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
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Be a NaNo rebel.

No, seriously, they exist. There's even a forum for them on the NaNoWriMo site. Seriously, I'd go ahead and finish up what you're doing. You can still go to write-ins and be supportive of other writers, and be writing (which I see as the whole *point* of NaNoWriMo, if you want to know), but you don't have to write a novel per se.

Best of both worlds, IMO. ;)

-kat
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From:packbat
Date:October 30th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, that's a good idea. If not that, then just keep on your current stories, but that's clever!
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From:baxil
Date:October 31st, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
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Ooh, thanks for the idea! I still haven't decided what I'm going to do, but rebeling sounds like a great way to thread the needle.

Edited to add, x1: "Rebelling." I know this. Swear to god I misspelled that because I was looking at "NaNo rebel" as a proper noun and verbing it on the fly rather than taking its existing and perfectly legitimate conjugation. I've been Internetting too long and my Englishitude is decrepifying.

Edited to add, x2: *points upthread* I think you're starting a trend. ;-)

Edited at 2009-10-31 02:35 am (UTC)
From:drake [begriffli.ch]
Date:October 31st, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
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Surely you mean “Anglitude”.

From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 31st, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
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Heh, I'm an ML. It's my job to spread the crack. ;)

Speaking of which, if you find yourself down this way, you're welcome to come hang out with us at a write-in. (And I think we've got a couple up in your neck of the woods, even.)

(I'm on the site under the same username as here.)

-kat
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From:katster
Date:October 31st, 2009 05:44 am (UTC)
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(and grr, on my folks' computer, and thus I wasn't signed in. Go figure.)

-kat
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From:lupagreenwolf
Date:October 30th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
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I'm not much help with NaNo, but it's good to hear from you :)
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From:baxil
Date:October 31st, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
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I'll try not to be so much of a stranger! I really should try to get some longer-form journal entries (nonfiction essays or somesuch) done as part of NaNo.
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From:comingin2day
Date:October 30th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
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jonaht one of my friends on LJ is doing the nanowrimo. You could just live vigariously through those that are writing by being supportive in your knowledge. Otherwise, you sound like you have been productive. Have you moved back to where your daughters live? I know that was a goal.
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From:baxil
Date:October 31st, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
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I'll definitely be supportive of my writing buddies -- of course, one of the ways to do that is to make some sacrifices and be in the writing trenches along with them. Cheering from the sidelines only goes so far.

I really hope you're confusing me with someone else, because my wife would probably kill me if I went off and had daughters without her. >_>;
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From:comingin2day
Date:October 31st, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
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hmmm.. now, that I am thinking..you just got back from Europe right? I must be thinking of another gentleman that was in the middle of moving and has taken some time off from journaling. sorry. oops. my mistake.
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From:roaminrob
Date:October 31st, 2009 08:15 am (UTC)
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My life has been seriously imbalanced for a while too, so this strategy is going to come from the world I'm currently immersed in:

Publish all of what you're currently working on, as it is, right now, and then continue working on and editing all of it publicly.

It's much much easier to let a project die if nobody else knows about it, and surprisingly, whether something is polished or not is less important to others than it is to you.
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From:joysweeper
Date:November 2nd, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
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I'm doing it this year! Or trying. I did think up, sketch out, and finish a 9,300 word story over about four days last week, so maybe I can finish this.

The Rebels thing has already been pitched to you. Do whatever! Just don't copy-paste word salad from random webpages and crow about how innovative you're being. Seriously, someone's doing that.
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