Sam van Zweden




Almost There: Another NaNo Post

We’re in the final week of NaNoWriMo, and my month hasn’t gone entirely to plan.

I decided (but apparently didn’t really commit) to undertake NaNo when we decided to do a heap of supportive content about it on Writers Bloc. That is, a couple of days before November began. I thought I wouldn’t be able to properly talk about the NaNoWriMo experience unless I had one myself.

writers_blockIf you’re unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), the basic premise is to write 50,000 words toward your novel in 30 days. I’ve taken my own path a bit, in that I’m not working on a novel but using the time to tally up articles, essays, blog posts; drafts of all sorts. Today, on the 25th day of writing, and less than a week from the finish line, I’ve got only a fifth of what I was meant to aim for. I haven’t even written every day.

Why am I sharing this? Why am I not pretending I finished, or at least got a whole lot closer to 50,000 words than I actually have? I’m not entirely sure. I think it’s because I suspect there’s many more like me out there, who’ve done just a bit of a NaNo. And I think that’s okay, and not something to beat yourself up over.

NaNoWriMo’s a time for a heap of feels. Foremost is guilt, for having not written more, or having not spent every waking moment with my writing in mind, as I know many people do. On the other hand though, I do feel more creative having (almost) done this month of intensive writing. There’s something about the act of constantly throwing out ideas and running with them that unblocks your creativity. Instead of vetoing ideas before they make it to the page, as I normally would, my desperate-for-words mentality meant that everything got air time. Even ridiculous ideas.

I have found myself writing fiction, which I haven’t done in at least six months.

I’ve created a stockpile of projects to return to later.

I’ve unblocked, and am giving less heed to that nagging voice in my head which usually prevents those ideas from being actual pieces of writing.

How has NaNoWriMo gone for you? We’re still five days away from the finish line, but winners are beginning to announce themselves (HUGE APPLAUSE!) already. Have you reached the 50K already? Are you on your way? Or have you, like me, just gone with it and gotten something else out of the experience?

Monday Mix Tape: The NaNo Mix

I’ve just been writing about NaNoWriMo for Writers Bloc, and the general excitement of more than 150,000 writers putting down 50,000 words each in a month is kind of getting to me.

So, today’s mix tape is a handful of songs about the act of writing.

Paperback wriiiiiterrrrr! Classic. The other day this song started playing over the shopping centre speakers the second I stepped into the centre. They knew I was there… Despite my never having written a paperback, per se.

It’s just the one line, but god it captures the feeling. “A white blank page, and a swelling rage” – I know this feeling. And Marcus Mumford in a book store! Who needs porn?

Yeahhhh, I know, a lot of people find her whiny. But I think she’s elfin and gorgeous. This one’s all about writing, and not being able to write, and thinking you’re able to write and then ending up with a heap of nonsense.

Ah, writer’s block. “Send that stuff on down to me” – please!


What are your favourite songs about writing?

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