Week One Update | NaNoWriMo 2016

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Hello and welcome back to my blog to my blog for another NaNoWriMo update! It’s now been a week since NaNoWriMo started on November 1st (see my What I’m Writing), so I have lots to share. I added bits and insights to this post throughout the weeks as they came to me so I’ve had to shave this post down into something coherent! I hope you enjoy ^_^

Progress Thus Far

What I’ve Written

As I mentioned in my post last week, I started writing my story from the very beginning. Strangely enough, I’ve managed to stick to writing chronologically and have just started Act II (new world, fun & games) part of my novel, if you’re familiar with the Three Act Structure. At the time of drafting this post (Wednesday ~1 p.m.) I have not yet started writing for the day and I’m at 13,362 words! I’ve managed to keep up with where I should be each day, with the exception of day 7 and it will haunt my dreams forever.

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I had hoped to get a much bigger head start on my word count over the first week of NaNoWriMo, but it’s been all I can do to keep myself writing a little bit each day so as not to fall behind. School has not actually been too stressful, but I’ve struggled at times with the scope and direction of my story. I started with a very loose major outline but I’m not certain how closely I’ll stick with it by the end. I feel like each day the world become bigger and new characters come in who threaten to topple everything. It’s fun, but I’ve been trying to write carefully so that I hit the major beats and make notes of the little things that could become important later.

What I’ve Learned

I had a few major revelations very quickly at the start of the month about how I write.

  1. I need writing sprints. I feel like all year I’ve procrastinated on writing because I wanted to be so prepared that I’d write a near perfect first draft. I’ve since realized it’s just not possible. There’s too much to juggle in a good story to keep track of everything that I want my story to have. So I’ve truly embraced the writing sprints to help me get the words I can out and have been making notes along the way of the things I’ll want to fix in future editing sweeps.
  2. My pacing is terrible. I don’t remember ever thinking this about my writing before but it was made immediately clear to me in the first 5,000 words I wrote this month. I’m not too worried about it right now, because I know it’s more important to have the important things written down than to have them well laid out. But it’s one of those funny things I’ve become aware of this quickly and is something I look legitimately forward to working on in my revisions.

I’m having a great time writing right now and I honestly can’t remember the last time I enjoyed it. I’ve not had any self-doubts or undue self-pressure yet, so I’ve felt secure to write and know that everything will most likely turn out okay in the end and it will be fun to see these words evolve as I continue to work on this story. I’m hoping to keep this outlook for the rest of the month and beyond!

Next on the Blog

I feel like the NaNoWriMo honeymoon period is over, but I’m still motivated and having fun with my story every day. In case you missed it and are interested, I wrote a blog post about my thoughts on the outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election 2016 today. I also had a big blog name change,  you may have noticed or seen in that announcement post yesterday. I’m hoping to have another post up this weekend, but I’m not sure what just yet so I’ll keep you on your toes.

Thank you for reading!
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Thoughts on #Election2016

Today is a historic day in U.S. and probably the world. I do not really ever feel the need to blog about politics; I don’t really even like to talk about politics in person, yet alone online. But I feel like this is the first election I’ve been eligible to vote in (and there’s only been two) where I actually feel like a part of the minority, even though the country is apparently about 50/50 split between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the popular vote (which arguably is the one that should matter, right?).

Since many of my blog followers are not American, I thought I might share one American’s viewpoint that may not be as heavily represented in the news or even on social media which is by and large heavily polarized conservative or liberal.

I am a woman. On my birth certificate under race/ethnicity, I am categorized Mexican-American. So I am a minority, despite having lived a very privileged life. I’m very light-skinned. My parents were responsible and waited to have children until they’d made sure they could provide for (and afford) me and my brother. I have the privilege of both my parents still being married to one another. I was born with no disabilities and, though I feel cocky saying it, I’ve got a brain. I’m pretty smart. I’ve had almost every advantage possible for a hispanic girl who was not born into money or with connections. And I feel like the country I have lived in for all my 23 years has allowed me to be where I am now and strive to go even further.

One more thing about me personally, I identify as an Independent.

I’ve voted Democratic in each election I’ve been eligible, but I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life. I know what it is like to live in a place that is dominated by an invisible majority. And I say invisible because I do not see Trump supporters when I walk down the street, go to class, or out to eat. Maybe because I don’t venture into rural areas, but also because I think there are more people that do not fit the stereotype some would have us believe that all Trump supporters are uneducated, poor, white, and male. I think the exit polls have proven that it’s not the case. I think Trump supporters are also a silent majority who have not publicized their support for him either because they are ashamed (and secretly prejudiced) or just afraid of liberal backlash.

One thing I’ve learned this year is that liberalism is associated with elitism. I don’t have the most complete understanding of why this is or the literature to back up my claims, but it might be because intellectuals are more likely to be liberal (Democrats) and intellectuals are people who have the had the privilege of more education than the average joe who maybe couldn’t afford college or couldn’t see the long-term value of investing time and money into it.

Elites are not the majority. And I think similar to Brexit earlier this year, we are seeing that the people who constitute this majority, who are motivated by fear, and who have the least to lose by throwing our country into chaos have risen en mass to make their voices heard.

While I’m sad that Trump will be our next president (unless a miracle happens) and even angry because like others I can’t help but feel personally victimized by Trump’s very existence (and his victory’s affirmation of bullies), I’ve been coping for the past 12 or so hours by reminding myself that no matter what happens we have to live with each other. We just have to. Even if Hillary Clinton had won, we could not just forget how many people Trump energized and made feel like they’ve finally been heard. It’s a truly sad country we’re living in that we’ve been able to ignore these problems for so long.

For us liberal, educated people, I think that the main thing we need to do is put aside our pride and ego and be gracious. This election is not the end of the world. I think the DNC knows it fucked up by thinking that Democrats wanted Hillary when it was Bernie Sanders who was energizing and exciting people the way Trump managed to do with the Republicans this year and Obama four and eight years ago for the Democrats. This is what I’m personally most angry about and almost feel a tinge of satisfaction about Trump’s victory, because I voted reluctantly for Hillary only because I knew she was our best chance for defeating the orange buffoon (sorry, tried to stay neutral but I can’t).

In spite of the outcome, I’m just happy this horrible election is finally over. I’m worried for the country and the calls to action that I may feel compelled to answer. But I’m also selfishly worried about my own future and whether I’ll be able to afford to spend more time and money on my PhD. And I’m worried what the world is going to look like when I’m truly out on my own.

This concludes my obligatory blog post on how I feel about the election. Thank you if you have read the whole thing. If you’re still feeling really sick or upset about the outcome, remember you are not alone and that all is not lost. The election is one battle. Real change happens at the grass roots level.

Thank you for reading!
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