NaNoWriMo 2017

Join me as I talk about my plans for National Novel Writing Month 2017

National Novel Writing Month. That time of year when would be, aspiring, and esteemed authors all unite for a month of madness. To write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. 1,667 words a day.

I have participated in Nanowrimo since 2014, I have won in 2015 and 2016 (winning just means getting to the 50k target, not like, winning a prize for how great your novel is!). 2014 I did not win because I was woefully unprepared for the notion of writing that many words in one project in one month.

See, the thing is, if you’ve read my other posts, you know that I have issues with procrastination and committing to projects. It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s not that I find writing a burden or a chore. It’s that I find a million ways to avoid sitting down to do something difficult. Writing is difficult, I won’t lie. It might be enjoyable, it might be fun, but it is bloody hard.

So, here I sit, trying once more to be prepared, organised and committed to this project. My theory is that if I start the project now, and do a little bit every day, by the time November 1st rolls around I will be interested enough, committed enough, and determined enough to follow through and finish.

This could backfire, I could use all my inspiration and drive before NaNoWriMo even starts, or it could work stupendously well and I could end up with a manuscript of 100k words.

Only time will tell…

If you would like to see me write a daily blog in November to chronicle my journey through NaNoWriMo, please let me know!

 

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Content creation and monetisation: Is it as bad as people think?

What happens when your blog starts to grow?

There’s an oft-quoted saying “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I couldn’t disagree with this anymore, because the truth is: making money from your passions and hobbies is bloody hard work.

I love writing, I have for as long as I can remember. I have written short stories, poems, novels (both unfinished and finished) and the reality is that while it’s something I love to do and something that makes me happy, it doesn’t pay my bills.

There are of course thousands of authors of all kinds out there making more than a living from their work but for every author who has a book deal, a successful blog or the next great novel waiting for publication, there are 10 authors struggling to pay bills with the meagre income from their writing or working other jobs to pay bills and writing when time permits.

My point is…

You may have noticed a format change on the blog recently, and that’s because, as of this week my blog has qualified for WordAds.

WordAds is WordPress’s monetisation program for bloggers. Basically, if your blog reaches enough people and gets enough views you qualify to run ads on your site and get revenue for views and clicks.

Am I a sell-out?

I mean, yeah a little bit? If by sell out you mean “am I attempting to make money from writing this blog?”

But here’s the thing, like I said above, making money as an online content creator is bloody hard work. There’s no guarantee of a steady pay cheque unless you’re a very well established blogger/creator, and in order to be well established you have to pour hours of work into your content. Whether that time is spent actually creating the content, or whether it is promoting it, responding to emails from readers/viewers or just trying to come up with ideas when inspiration fails to appear from the heavens.

I see it time and time again in other mediums of content creation, most notably on Youtube. There are thousands of comments on popular videos complaining that the creator is a sell out or a corporate whore, for simply accepting a sponsorship deal, or collaborating with a company.

The thing is, people can’t simultaneously enjoy online content and then be offended/mad/annoyed that the creator is using it to make money. That’s like going to a restaurant and being mad that you have to pay for the food you ate. While online content may not be tangible in the traditional sense, it is something that is consumed. The good thing about online content is that it is there forever, you can go back and enjoy it again and again until your heart’s content. All for the “price” of watching an ad, or seeing an ad in the side banner, or at “worst” listening to the content creator talk about a product for a few minutes.

Now, I am in a uniquely lucky position right now, in that I don’t have a full time job and I’m surviving quite comfortably without either a job or an ad revenue, however the purpose of monetising this blog is two fold: firstly, so that when I do make some revenue I can re-invest it in the blog to make it better for readers, and secondly so that eventually I may actually make real money off it.

Basically…

When a content creator monetises their content, it’s not because they’re greedy or want to “rip you off” somehow, it’s because we have to put food on the table and pay the bills.

While I am lucky enough to be working on something I love, it is work. And I do hope that you enjoy it! Because I love making it for you, and this step towards monetisation means that I will hopefully be able to do it for many, many years to come.

All of that is to say, if you’re using an ad blocker, please consider “whitelisting” my blog, so that I may progress my career as a writer/blogger and write the things you like to read.

If you don’t want to whitelist the blog, I understand. Continue to enjoy my blog!

 

 

The Graveyard Of Dead Projects

The place where good writing goes to die

So, in my mind, there are rooms. Each room is a part of my life, there’s a room for work (right now, the lack thereof), a room for relationships/friendships, a room for the tv shows I’m currently binge watching and then, there’s a graveyard.

Having a mental graveyard sounds really morbid, but stay with me here. This graveyard is full of dead projects. The writing projects I have started and loved, then gone back to a day, a week or a month later and absolutely fucking hated.

This graveyard is littered with bodies of work, of varying sizes, shapes and mediums, all of which had such potential for a while and then suddenly *POOF* nothing.

The “nothing” is the point at which the idea suddenly looks awful, or lame, or so cliched as to be painful.

This graveyard haunts me, because I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, I used to write stories as a kid and then never finish them and as I have gotten older, the size of the unfinished project has grown with me.

Right now I am feverishly researching the possibilities that writing a high fantasy series holds. I have been reading more high fantasy recently and want to explore the possibilities of writing it. However it requires…planning. Something which I love to start and never follow through with.

And therein lies the problem: planning, and following through.

Giving myself the illusion of being organised and motivated isn’t quite the same as actually being organised and motivated. To actually be organised and motivated, one must have discipline, and that is something I very much lack.

At random intervals I resolve to be different, be better, and while I do try, it rarely lasts longer than a week.

I was talking to my cousin the other day, over a very nice brunch, and we were talking about the fact that our mothers both have adult ADD, and we seem to exhibit the same symptoms, which would be an excellent way to explain why I am so seemingly unable to get my shit together, but if I’m honest I don’t really think that’s the issue. I almost certainly have ADD, but being aware of the problem means that I should be able to map out strategies to combat the issue and power through it, after all, knowledge is power.

But, what if that knowledge is actually holding me back? What if knowing that I most likely have ADD is what stops me from succeeding? What if subconsciously I’m shrugging my shoulders and saying “well that’s just my brain and there’s nothing I can do to change it”?

Back to that graveyard, where I have abandoned some really promising writing projects when the initial buzz of starting a new project has passed and it no longer feels new, shiny and exciting to take it out and work on it. Am I just like a kid who plays with a toy a few times and then throws it under their bed? And is that ADD or something else? Am I just spoilt for choices? Do I have too many options for things to do at any given moment of the day? And if that’s the case, do I just choose the things that are the easiest?

Do I binge watch shows on Netflix not because I truly enjoy them but because they require much less brain power than writing a new story? Does binge watching a show give me that rush of doing something new without having to actually do anything?

Is that part of my brain chemistry? Do I crave that rush of “new and exciting” and am I getting it from absorbing other stories through watching or reading them instead of creating them myself? Even when my passion lay with writing, maybe I choose not to because I’m essentially lazy? Maybe I just lack discipline.

I am not going to sign off by promising to be better or new, or more organised, because there are blog posts on that here and here, all I will say is that maybe one day I will stop procrastinating, and start really planning, writing and succeeding.

What Next?

I realised I needed to take care of myself, but what comes next?

This post isn’t intended as a follow on from yesterday’s post but it does tie in quite nicely. In essence, I realised I had overestimated my ability to stick to 5 posts a week and had thus failed to do so, quite spectacularly. This could have easily led to feelings of failure and depression, but because I have a good support system in place, I take care of my mental health and I always try to maintain focus on the important things, that didn’t happen.

Instead I sat down yesterday and tried to figure out why 5 posts per week was simply too much and it boiled down to: a lack of motivation, a lack of inspiration, and a lack of energy. Which is why this month is all about me trying to figure out a schedule that works for me, and still maintains some level of momentum on this new project. I don’t want this blog to stagnate and simply putter to it’s own demise, but I cannot overcommit myself because that does myself and the blog a disservice.

It’s currently 4:30pm Monday afternoon as I write this, and frankly I’ve been procrastinating writing this since I woke up. I knew I wanted to have a post up today, but I didn’t have that stroke of inspiration that sometimes overtakes us writers and leads us to feverishly write 500 words without a second thought or pause. Every word feels like pulling teeth and I’m almost certain I’m going to hate this post when I re read it later after I publish it on the blog.

I have no excuse for the fact that it’s 4:30 and there’s no blog, except that I didn’t want to. And since this blog is my own, I have no boss breathing down my neck for me to meet a deadline and I can post whatever and whenever I bloody well please, I am going to embrace that while I can. Eventually I will be held accountable for my work by an employer, and I will not be able to simple roll over and go back to sleep.

Whether that attitude is self care or self indulgence I’m not entirely sure, but I choose to believe that it is self care and that I am doing myself a favour by not being too hard on myself.

In the end, while I hope this blog reaches people and inspires them, it is for me. This is my self care, writing about the things I am passionate about and that make me happy.

I hope you’ll stick around and read whatever comes next, because it’ll be as much of a surprise to me as it is to you!