• Member Since 26th Mar, 2015
  • offline last seen 3 hours ago


"Do it right, do it with style and never dream small!” - Author, Designer & Project Lead of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm - (Patreon)

More Blog Posts141


NaNoWriMo Week 3: I Never Claimed to be Sane · 6:33am Nov 23rd, 2017

At 10PM Pacific, November 20, 2017, I claimed my ninth National Novel Writing Month victory.

While I didn’t do my fastest 50K to date, I still made it far sooner than the due date. Even better, I still have a good shot at getting my 75K done for the month. The problem turned out to be that I just couldn’t spare the time during EQLA to write even 500 words.

But that’s okay, I made it the next day. :twilightsmile:

Now, I could yammer about EQLA, but I might save that until the end of the month. Short version: awesome. Tons of friends, tons of fun, way too many things I wanted to buy and a whole lot of epic.

Also, seeing Mike Vogel doing an impromptu dance party with my two girls. That was amazing.

Now, let’s talk about words.

Current NaNoWriMo Word Count: 57,710

Current Project:
Diamonds in the Snow & Secret Project

Completed Project:
On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas

Daily Word Count Breakdown
November 15 - 2,567
November 16 - 2,377
November 17 - 208 - Pre-EQLA
November 18 - 9 - EQLA Day 1
November 19 - 34 - EQLA Day 2
November 20 - 3,150 (50,000 Word Mark)
November 21 - 3,309

What’s Scrivener look like?

First of all, the colors and looks are different because I upgraded to the new Scrivener 3.0. I’ve decided come December, I’m actually going to take the time to truly explore just what Scrivener can do. I’m usually too busy writing to actually play with it.

Now, for some odd reason, my daily calculations and my totals aren’t matching up. But since I copy/paste my dailys from that lower section of Scrivener, I’ve decided to go with my dailies, so that’s why the math’s a little off.

A couple cool notes! I’ve actually finished the first draft of On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas! I’m really happy about this. It means I have Book #2 for the Dreamers Arc ready for editing!

Now, I know I originally was going to go from Tea back into Chaos Theory, but honestly? This month has kicked my flank. I’m at a really critical point in Wavelength Theorems, so I had to decide if I wanted to do something fun and quick(ish) or if I want to get into a super deep discussion about temporal theory, magical theory and dimensional rifts.

I decided to say “screw it” and go with doing something fun.

So I’m doing a holiday sequel to Diamonds Amidst the Stars!

“Parry! Parry! Thrust! Thrust! Good!” Rarity nodded proudly at Twilight and then promptly slapped her flank with the flat of her sword.

“Rarity!” Twilight squealed as she leapt into the air, skidded across the snow and glared at the serene-looking doe. “What was that for?”

On the snowy benches ringing the sparring ring, the Astra Guard, Trixie Lulamoon and Starlight Glimmer, giggled like mad. Trixie almost fell off her spot on the bench, only to be straightened at the last second by a flash of Starlight’s magic. Trixie replied with a kiss on the cheek. Starlight’s cheeks were already red from the cold, but Twilight had a suspicion the kiss had caused a corresponding increase in blush color.

“Whatever do you mean, my dear princess?” Rarity said as she flourished her blade into the proper position once more. Twilight eyed her warily, trying to keep her eyes off her sleek figure in her starsilver armor—while trying to anticipate any additional attack. “I was simply complimenting you on your fine performance!”

“By whacking my… my flank?” Twilight sputtered. She could feel the heat of her blush melting the drifting snow coming from above. It wasn’t proper for the Deerkin Ambassador to the Diamond City of Canterlot to go around slapping the Astra Princess in any fashion, let alone her flank! Even during sparring practice in the isolated Court of the Paragons. With nopony around.

“Well, I happen to be somewhat fond of your flank, so I find myself unable to resist the occasional poke or prod time and again.” Rarity smiled and batted her eyelashes—which of course were completely free of ice and snow. “You can’t blame a lady for falling to temptation once in a while.”

Good God, I missed this Rarity.

Only weird thing? This story is turning into a semi-political drama that seems more focused on the lingering questions on the truth behind the shadowkin than flirty RariTwi.

I may need to write a quicker one-shot for the holidays. We’ll see.

Anything else… anything else…

Oh yeah, I started the NaPoWriMo Interview Series on Equestria Daily! They’re really, really good. And no, I’m not saying that because I did them. I’m saying it because the folks who I got are really, really smart. They’re fantastic writers. We’re talking best of the best here.

Monochromatic on Characterization
MrNumbers & Corejo on Description & Setting
Aragon on Comedy

Okay, so, ironically, today’s NaPoWriMo Blog Post was about taking breaks to prevent burnout. Well, I’ve been fighting burnout for months, so I’m going to follow my own advice and go play a game. But first, you can find my EqD post either here or by heading below!

"And then Smarty Pants cuddled up next to Brutus and giggled..."

The finish line is in sight folks! We’re almost to the end of this massive word sprint! No matter where you are on your journey, don’t give up now! You can do this! And what’s more, below, I’m going to give you some ideas on how.

But first, let’s talk about validation. To be considered as a ‘Winner’ of NaPoWriMo and be included in the Victory Post, here’s what you need to do:

In addition to the above information, you must have one of the following:

Emails sent without all of the information listed above (choose either FimFiction or Google Docs, do not send both) will be considered invalid. Due to the number of participants, I will not be able to send you reminder messages.

The Victory Post is slated to come out December 7.

In addition, for those of you who are participating in National Novel Writing Month, validation is now available! Go get your banners, awards and discounts! Especially since Scrivener actually just released Version 3.0 for Mac this week and winners will get 50% off this amazing writing software!

Just go to the website, open up the word count and as long as you’ve cracked 50,000 words, you can hit validate!

Get some of that validation goodness!

"The secret is to make them all lethally cute. That way, all will be shipped."

Once again, I found myself somewhat befuddled on what to talk to you all about this week. You see, despite appearances to the contrary, I write on instinct. I’m driven by passion, dedication and my own sense of obligation. This is the fuel that keeps me going.

Sometimes, that fuel runs out. This month, it’s run out a lot.

What do you do when the fire’s gone?

First, you cover the basic necessities. Physical stuff like sleep and drinking enough water (seriously, drink water). Stressors like family, work, social life and the like. But this is basic life stress management. There are people far better qualified to talk to you about this than me.

Let’s say you’ve got a decent handle on all of that jazz. But when you sit at the keyboard, the muses still aren’t helping. You can slam a few words together, but they come across as flat an uninteresting. Even you’re bored with your own story (I’ve had this happen).

Well, the first thing to do is to stop!

Yes, believe it or not, I just told you it’s okay to stop once in a while. In fact, you have to. Creativity is not a bottomless well. Even Brandon Sanderson, a man who I consider to be unto a writing god, said: “I take two hours off for my family every day...” Stephen King always takes Christmas and his birthday off.

You guys already know how to take basic breaks. Take a walk outside (Celestia won’t kill you, I promise). Watch a TV show. Go hang out with some friends. Heck, take a nap!

“The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes. ”
― Agatha Christie

"I said we could talk about my shipfic! I didn't say you could read it yet!"

My personal favorite, of course, is reading.

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
—Samuel Johnson

I’ve found myself recharged by reading both pony and non-pony words. When I judged for the RariTwi Interwoven Colourscontest, I found myself unable to write between all the stories I had to judge and my own self-imposed writing obligations. I decided to read a few short stories in Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson. After that, I blazed back into full production, completely re-energized.

It is very important to be reading as well as writing. A doctor is not going to ignore new surgery practices.
― Brandon Sanderson

That being said, it’s a really good idea to get out of fanfiction once in a while. And if you find you don’t have time to read, you’re overscheduled. I’ve met too many authors who don’t read and their writing suffers. Make the time, even at the expense of your own writing time (just don’t get too caught up in a new book that you have trouble writing!)

Elend: “I kind of lost track of time…”
Breeze: “For two hours?”
Elend: “There were books involved.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Well of Ascension

"How can you make me decide between my ships, Rarity? They're all glorious!"

The next big one is chatting with people!

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”
– Orson Scott Card

I’ve been privileged to be on both sides of this experience. Sometimes, I’ll find myself totally stuck in a story. I’ll type about it to a friend or my editing team and while I write, the solution just comes to me. Sometimes, if they get pulled away while I’m typing, they’ll come back with an idea and I’ll respond with “Oh, I figured it out. Thanks!”

That being said, being able to actually interact with people who are as passionate about writing (especially writing pony fics) as you are is a wonderful thing. Talk to your friends and fellow authors. Bounce ideas back and forth. The FimFiction server has a great channel called #writing-help where you can get advice from some of the best.

I don’t normally recommend you show people your work until it’s past the first draft, but I know many authors who can’t function like that. So that’s an option, too! Don’t let that get into editing though. Either way, find out which way is best for you!

If you happen to be one of those lucky few with a following, reach out to your fans. A single conversation with someone who truly loves your work can fuel you for weeks. Speaking of which, take the time occasionally to gush about the stories your love to the authors you love. I cannot express how powerful it is. It puts the muses into overdrive.

"I only have forty-seven shipfics going right now! It's a major improvement from the eighty-three last week!"

Next, have a few projects going at the same time.

This one can be tricky. I don’t usually do very well with it, as if I spend too much time away from a story, I tend to lose interest in it. Then again, I often get too focused, so take that with a grain of salt!

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
—Philip Roth

Honestly, you don’t want to use my techniques. As I told Carapace earlier, “I’d rather teach folks healthy writing techniques instead of mine.”

However, many authors use this technique prevent burnout. By keeping your mind on several projects at once, you won’t risk burnout nearly as much. Sometimes, you can transition this to one-shots, too! In fact, I’ll admit that some amazing stories have come out of me throwing up my hands, saying “I’m sick of everything I’m writing right now, I wanna do something else!” and then doing it.

I asked a few of my fellow FimFiction authors and they weighed in on this particular technique:

Crystal Wishes:
I have a friend give me some various 1k word writing prompts. Just to write something completely else and different, on a small scope, to feel a small "accomplishment," and to distance my mind from what I'm burnt out on so I can come back to it "fresh.”

I have several projects and I juggle them. If one gives me trouble, I put it aside and work on another. If none are appealing, I might prod at a one-shot idea.

Move away from whatever fic you’re working on and try to move forward on a different story. I've sometimes ended up writing entire chapters I didn't plan using this method. It helps to have a few projects one can jump to if one stalls.

"I just can't take it anymore! Why won't you just admit how you feel? Stop looking so smug!"

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”
—Ray Bradbury

Sometimes, you’re going to have to scale back. At the beginning, I said you should aim high for your daily word count. Part of the reason is because life happens. This last weekend during EQLA, I had a day when I literally wrote 9 words for the day. Nine. I was simply too busy at that con to do anything else! Now, I don’t recommend that you scale back that far, but I felt much better knowing I had written something.

Often, you’ll find that the best ideas come to you out of nowhere. I can’t count the number of times some epiphany came to me while I was taking a shower. I’ve had entire stories unroll before me while I was busy doing something else like driving or doing the dishes.

Take a step back. Read a book. Talk with some friends. Even work on something new for a bit. Use that time to refuel and re-energize. Just remember, it’s going to take some sort to get back into the groove.

No matter what though, don’t give up! You’re almost there! Just a bit farther!

Finish strong!

Good luck and I’ll see you all for the grand finale!

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 12 )

Congrats on the victory. Also political intrigue with raritwi sounds entertaining.

You're an inspiration to us all, Novel.

And to me, personally. Not only did you encourage me to double my admittedly pathetic initial goal, but seeing your progress and your daily encouragements has given me the strength to keep going in my own writing when I felt my resolve falter. My current word count would've been half what it is now if it weren't for you. Thank you so much for helping me achieve the potential I know I can reach, and best of luck to you in this last week of NaNo.

And I'm really looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things you have for us once this crazy month finishes.

It might be. Right now, Rarity and Twilight are teaming up to show an entire room of delegates just how much of a tool Blueblood is.

I may have encouraged you, but you're the one who actually made the decision to do the work. Don't discount that. There were a lot of people who just ignored the challenge or decided to let it slide. Trust me, I've seen far lower word count goals for the month and you deserve kudos for every single word you pledged and every single word you wrote!

You did this. I just did a bit of cheerleading on the sidelines. :pinkiehappy:

If I could up thumb a blog post... The high point here for me was the sequel, but that's only just above a lot of other really great stuff.

And congratulations on the win. Not much else to add at this time.. feeling burned out heh, Thanksgiving week isn't fun at my job. But speaking of giving thanks? Thanks for Writing, Novel.

I don't think they would have to put much effort into that. Unless he is unusually competent in your universe.

Congratulations on hitting your goal.

What exactly is “Wavelength Theorems”?

I never had any doubts, Novel-Senpai. You know that. :twilightsmile:

Congratulations, and thanks for the advice!

Well, not sure if I deserve that thanks, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

Oh no... but it's just nailing him to the wall is FUN.

Wavelength Theorems is the grand finale of the entire Wavelengths Timeline. It's a massive novel I've been working on for 2.5 years or so (give or take, off and on) that will bring the entire timeline of stories to a close.

I'm never going to get used to this.

Hopefully, it helped some!

Congrats on the NaNo win!

One of these years I'm going to try it again...

Make it next year. :pinkiehappy:

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!