#SamWIP: Well. Na2NoWriMo?

Sam av

I think I’m just going to write two books.

Yeah, I said it.

November is a weird month for me. I know a lot of people look at our burgeoning word counts and think we’re something that’s somewhat superhuman. It hardly even looks fair. NaNoWriMo was put in place for the struggling writer to have an attainable goal. It’s not meant to be crushed. It’s not meant to be a place where established writers gloat about smashing records.

So for starters…sorry about that.

Recently, a fellow Wrimo asked how I do it. The answer is pretty simple: shove aside the distractions and surrender to the plot. Good characters with a goal in mind should pretty much write themselves if you give them the effort to do it with.

But to balance out that scale…remember, since you’ve been here this whole time…Frankie and I are seldom this productive. It’s pretty much a November-confined awesomeness. I can’t answer for Frankie, but for me I know it has something to do with the camaraderie of all the other writers geeking about being creative at the same time. Of course, part of it is because I am insanely competitive. Word sprints get me every time. I’ll sprint even if I don’t think I am ready to sprint. And then I’ll usually have the highest word count in a sprint (though Mandie gives me a run for my money for certain!). Anything less than that gives me the grumbles.

What I really need to be able to do is funnel that power into writing throughout the rest of the year, and there so far I have fallen a little flat. I find all the excuses again outside of November. I’m going to try to hone my discipline.

Writing consistently gives me a huge influx of ideas. If I can keep the energy going, I have a lot to say. I have so many plot bunnies right now begging indulgence…so many ideas I need to check out.

And for that reason, I think I’m just going to write two books. I have this toxic romance brewing in my imagination that needs out. I also have a couple of half-finished novels that I feel better about now. I’m probably not going to finish the second book this month, but hopefully I can get a good jump on it.

Back to the actual update, though.

Frankie’s right. I have 45K written (45,602). My goal is to have it finished by the halfway point, Nov. 15. The book may need an additional 5-15K, but shouldn’t need much more than that. I love it again, thank goodness. The characters are getting to be pretty interesting. I am having a little bit of trouble in key places. There are a few scenes in the middle I blanked on and skipped. And then there’s the loose ends at the end that I’m having trouble keeping concise without it getting boring. Honestly, though…that’s the kind of stuff I save for editing. If I can’t figure it out soon, I’ll probably just leave it for now and get back to it in a few months.

And maybe I really can finish a full second book because…well, I have a 9-day vacation. No joke. I always like to be able to burn up my accrued Paid Time Off (the best benefit an employer can offer, in my opinion) in November. Usually, I take it earlier than this. Last year I think I took it between the 9th-15th and the weekends thereabouts. This year, I didn’t have enough saved up to take it earlier because I took time off for my mom. I’ll be visiting Jori and Kevin for part of it and we usually get quite a lot done together. For another part of it, I’ll be visiting my mom, and she doesn’t have the internet (which does WONDERS for productivity, let me tell you!).

It’s funny…I talk to a lot of people in November, and this has been an odd year. Everyone I know is either kicking butt and almost done or at least a week behind. I have yet to meet anyone who’s hovering right around goal.

Back to Life…

I think most of us can agree that 2016 has sucked pretty badly. It was one of my worst years mentally. The world looks like it’s going to shit. I hardly wrote much at all.

So if you’re still here and you’re still reading this, let’s make the world a better place in 2017. Try to accentuate the positives and lift up good people. Try to be a better person yourself, even if that means confronting the ugly truths you don’t even like to admit to yourself. The world needs better people in it. The world needs some hope and affection.

The world needs some doers.

Right now it seems like a lot of us are just kind of…watching. And complaining.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

We’ll talk more about what we’re planning in 2017 soon enough. For me, I’m working on tackling some debt, aggressively, to try to make room in my life for the idea of children (if the world isn’t in some kind of nuclear winter by then). I’m reflecting on the state of my mind because my fail-safe defenses…you know, failed.


Mental Health.


I can write more. I just haven’t. But I need the finances to improve my mental health, and I need the mental health to write. The words simply don’t happen if I’m exhausted by my own brain. So that’s the rough outline of my plan.

If you’re also out there writing, may the word gods be merciful. Good luck!

Check out the #SamWIP category every Monday to hear about Sam’s current projects!

S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).


About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on November 14, 2016, in #SamWIP and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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