Getting Down to Business

So tomorrow’s my birthday, and I’ve been pumping out prose like the pro I am. Unfortunately, writing is cutting majorly into the more important things I need to do with my life: studying for Japanese, editing my mom’s paper, finishing up my letter for graduate school, getting a job, studying for more Japanese, editing my friend’s personal statement, and so on! I believe I will have to bust out my list again, since taking on life haphazardly is absolutely stressful! I’ve finally organized my Japanese studying, but now I need to organize the rest of my life. To think that tackling my Unfinished Stories file would cause such a tumult in my life!

Last week I threw down three chapters of prose on two different stories. I slapped one chapter up on Fiction Press and two on Wattpad. I was riding the momentum of the latter, and I felt like I needed to just go the distance. Around one in the morning I tied up my character’s story arc on my friend’s and my story, and the day before I started outlining for NaNoWriMo. Okay, with all this writing, I need to be doing more important things. I see that already, but just when I thought about it, I had an idea for another novel. I probably won’t be writing it any time soon, though. The world may soon come to an end before the words even hit the page of a Word document.

Tomorrow I’m due for another Fiction Press chapter because it’s been a week. I guess the day after I should probably write on my Wattpad story. Tonight I need to write some kanji. I also need to finish outlining my novel. I need my list. There’s too many things all at once and not enough hours in a full day. If only there were 48 hours in a day…just for me!

NaNoWriMo 2014 and the Tackling the Unfinished Stories Folder

It dawned on me that…there’s less than a month left until NaNoWriMo! I was so surprised at how fast the year passed. It seems like just yesterday I was failing at NaNo. I try so hard, and then I get so lazy. Please tell me, I’m not the only one. The last NaNo’s I had a valid excuse: I got ill in the middle of about two or three Novembers in the past year.

If you’ve been following my blog for over a year, you know that every year I proclaim, “By God, I’m gonna do it! I’m gonna finish!” And then, people click the “like” button on my post and such and give me encouraging words, which of course, make me ecstatic. But, by mid-November, I hate my story and then, I never make it. I then proceed to write a post, brimming with excuses as to why I didn’t make it, and some people hit the “like” button, and then I don’t know what to feel about that at all. The next October, I reflect back on the fact that I blew off NaNo; I get disheartened and say how sad and lame it was I didn’t finish. I then proceed to declare that this year is going to be different! and then the cycle continues…

Also, every year, you should know that I make mention of the infamous Unfinished Stories folder on my computer. It’s October; you should know it was bound to come up again. I want to say that this year is going to be different. I know every year I blog about how I can’t finish novels and how my Unfinished Stories folder is getting full. I know I have a problem with motivation and patience, but I think the biggest one is patience. I love to drag my stories on, but may be that’s it…maybe I don’t have the patience to drag them on. At the same time, I don’t have the confidence to cut them short or breeze through scenes. I like to have room to explore my characters’ heads, their worlds, their thoughts about life without being mundane. I love literary fiction, and now, that I have officially learned how to effectively use metaphors, I can write with a bit more flavor.

I want to digress from my NaNo topic for a bit; I do have a plot for it, but I want to save that for a bit later.

The Unfinished Stories folder–I peeked inside it last week. I had this idea for a story…well, it wasn’t an idea for a story. It was a story I had written years ago. It was a reverse Cinderella, rags-to-riches, riches-to-rags story that I had wanted to start. I wrote the first chapter and didn’t proceed any further on it. It wasn’t until last week when I thought about that story again. The last time I looked at it was 2010, when I was taking a fiction writing class. I was pressed for time, and I just decided to submit that story for my final even though it had been written years ago. I glanced at it again, though, and read through it. I thought it would be something nice to start up again and maybe post on Fiction Press, but I hadn’t ventured on FP since 2013; I’ve lost a lot of my fan-base since then. Thinking about it, though, I didn’t want to start a new story when there were two stories I hadn’t even finished on there. It’s a bit embarrassing for me. So, I decided to finish one of them–my longest and most popular. Again, I found myself walking the thoroughfares of my Unfinished Stories folder, and I picked up where I left off on my last story. I gained one follower, who had asked me months ago if I was going to finish this story. Months later, I replied, “I’m going to update it.” Chapter 33 is now a solid fixture, and I’m currently working on Chapter 34. I feel like I’m breaking the curse.

As for my rags-to-riches story, it ended up with a semi-revised first chapter, a very surprising second chapter, and a home on Wattpad. As I write this post, I think I see a little more of my problem. The matter of finishing…maybe I’m too far-sighted? Maybe I am being inhibited by the pressure of having to finish instead of just enjoying the story at its own pace. I suppose it would be like walking down a dark tunnel, and all you see is darkness. You get tired of seeing nothing but that darkness as you walk slowly along. However, at the first glint of light at the end, don’t you feel compelled to run toward it? To get there as fast as possible to that light? That’s how I see it. I see the ending and hardly anything going on in between. I end up feeling like I have to rush to the end rather than take my time and see how it all plays out. Perhaps, instead of thinking that, maybe I should just take it line by line, chapter by chapter. Let’s not pressure ourselves. I feel released already.

So back to NaNoWriMo. I was working on a post for my Japanese blog, and I mentioned how I used to work at a Japanese museum out in the middle of literally nowhere. The museum is literally an oasis among dirt, sand, and farmland (and also poppy flowers in the spring). I briefly mentioned how that setting would be good for a novel, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt compelled to go with it. I sold myself the idea of a girl working at a museum in the middle of nowhere. And, of course because I like writing cute, innocent romance novels devoid of all tantalizing pleasures, it’s a win-win. Art and innocent love. My two favorite things. I thought about the ending…and then, I realized, it needed a second book and most likely a third. I don’t know if I should even begin to think about a fourth. The book itself has to do with seasons, and there are four seasons (three if you live in Central California).  See; it’s already evolved into a trilogy–a tetralogy, and I have no clue how it’s going to end! It’s perfect for my underlying problem, right?

Instead of saying, “This year’s going to be different,” how about I say, “How I approach my novel this year is going to be different.”