Attempting Authenticity

pursuing an authentic life
October 14th, 2014 by africanstardust

NaNoWriMo Updates

It’s October 14th, which means NaNo is just two weeks away!

So for a while I wasn’t sure which novel to do for 50k Day One, because let’s be honest, not every novel will work for that insanity. In the end (the end being the middle of October, so this might change again) I decided to do something incredibly chilled and fun that I won’t ever want to get published or work on more, which is a World of Warcraft fanfic. It has lots of word potential, it’s unlikely that I’ll get super stuck in the plot, and I’ll have fun writing it because no one will ever, ever read it. Then for the rest of the month I will be working on the billionth rewrite of Shard. I realize that anyone who reads this blog regularly is going “For the love of all things, stop whining about it and finish it already”, and trust me, that’s exactly what I want to do. After 12 years Tolkien had written The Lord of the Rings and had created a ton of languages and history and what not. Meanwhile, I have a lopsided series of 6 books and counting, none of which are edited, some of which are not finished, and one of which (Shard) I have been working on for twelve years. Twelve. Wait…actually eleven. But still. Not that I am legitimately comparing myself to Tolkien, because that would be crazy.

To summarize!
50kDayOne: The Healer’s Curse (WoW fanfiction)
The Rest of NaNo: Shard books II & III, and if I have time/energy after that, I might also rewrite book I.

Now for the Crazy Goals of Insanity.
1. 50k Day One again. Which this year will also involve me racing to 50k against some other people who are also doing it. The hashtags #50kdayone, #50kkillmenow, and #racetohell will be used copiously on Twitter that day.
2. My amazing dream goal that may not happen because I’ve never written more than 60k in a month before…is 350k. Err’body calm down, I know it’s crazy. But I figure I can’t lose if I have an insane goal and get more words out aiming for it, even if I don’t make it.
3. I want to do at least one 50k Weekend, ie two 25k days back to back. Much more doable than 50k in a day but you get a similar rush. Also there is sleep involved, which is always a plus and not a trait of the 50K Day One.
4. In the past, as is clear from my annual lack of blog posts between about November 7th and November 25th, I haven’t done well with consistent writing. Usually I have a great first week, lose motivation and stop writing, then come back for some hectic sprinting on the 25th or 27th or, heck, the 30th. This year I would really like to write at least the NaNo minimum (1,667) every day and stick to it.
5. Lastly, I am mentoring some NaNo newbies this year, and I hope I can get them excited and encouraged enough to cross the finish line.

That’s that! I mean, for now. There are 16 more days for the goals to get crazier. If you would like to support NaNoWriMo, which promotes literacy and the arts for youth and adults (and allows crazy writers to have an amazing community and life-changing November every year), do visit this link, as I am trying to raise some money for The Cause.

16 more days!

October 9th, 2014 by africanstardust

Why You Should Do NaNoWriMo



1. Because you have nothing to lose.
If you don’t make it to the full 50k, who cares? You’ll have 1,000 or 10,000 or maybe even 25,000 more words written down than you did before. Even if you don’t officially win NaNoWriMo, you can’t lose, unless you don’t do it.

2. Because it’s an adventure.
You know those conversations where everyone is saying that they’re stuck in a rut, they wish they could do something different, etc? Well, here’s something different. This is like bungee jumping, except it lasts a whole month and you don’t risk a painful death. This is that kind of adrenaline.

3. Because you won’t be alone.
Trying to do something new on your own can kind of suck, and you get demotivated very quickly [see: my entire first and second years of university] if you feel like you’re an island. But NaNo is now at over 700,000 participants and counting, and unlike most enormous communities, we’re pretty tight knit. We have regional groups all around the world of around 20 to 50 people who meet up regularly during the month, we have forums and forum groups where you can meet cool people who will inspire you [see the Overachievers' threads in the Beyond 50k forum, for example]. And tons of people, of all ages, start their very first novel ever on November 1st every year. Isn’t this the perfect time to try it?

4. Because you don’t know what’s inside you until you look.
You might think you don’t have ideas, or aren’t creative, or that you can’t write a novel. You might think that you are totally inadequate for this. But how do you know? If you’ve never tried, how do you know?

5. Because, SERIOUSLY, you have nothing to lose.
No one ever has to see what you write. Write for YOU. For the experience, the adventure, the love of it, whatever. Pick one and do it. NaNo is about you writing purely for the sake of writing and for the enjoyment of it. So why not try?


October 7th, 2014 by africanstardust

Whispers of a Nameless Nonfear

Listen…listen…what’s that sound? Clattering keyboards and a growing hum of excitement marked intermittently by screams about bunnies and wrist cramps…


That’s right. The time has almost come. It’s October 7 and the site reset will be happening soon, and then all the wonderfulness that is NaNo will be upon us once again. Since this is my 6th year doing it, I’m not going to repeat eeeeeeeeverything that I say every year, so to get you started you can look here for my NaNo adventures last year (these posts are more helpful, especially the October ones), and here for the first time I did it (and these are more entertaining).

Stay tuned. The storm approaches.

September 6th, 2014 by africanstardust

The Edge

edge of the world

It’s that moment…that moment when suddenly, your feet are no longer on solid ground. You hang in the balance, suspended, and there’s nothing below you. On the edge of a precipice, and nothing to hold onto; that jolting feeling that sends adrenaline through your veins. The moment you realize that just now, in this moment, you don’t belong anywhere. You can’t call anywhere home. You are between places, in the middle, like a floating hot air balloon, and there are not enough anchors or weights to tie you down anywhere. You are free falling. This…this is like cliff diving without knowing there’s a bottom and without knowing whether you’ll be able to get back to the top again. This is heart pounding, hyperventilating, trembling shock. The moment when you realize you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. The moment when you realize you don’t belong anywhere. A chasm below you and a chasm of stars above.

I don’t know if people remember this about their twenties. But just for the record, we have those moments. So if we sometimes seem like oversized teenagers, or if you think we should have it all together and we don’t, or if you’re wondering why we do the things we do and get all emotional and have complete flip outs, and undergo personality changes, this is why. Maybe you were level headed and perfect in your twenties. Maybe you don’t have this happen to you, ever. But no matter how glass-half-full you are, no matter how resilient and strong and fierce and determined and free, this is The Edge. Like the edge of the world. And this whole time there’s been a path, and some stairs, and now suddenly there are no more stairs. There’s just…nothing. It’s hard to be in a place where it’s the beginning and the end and the middle all at once. It’s hard when you’re not a kid and you’re not an adult and you’re kind of nothing, really, except confused and adventurous and sometimes lonely and a little bit scared. (We can admit that, right? That sometimes we’re scared?)

It’s The Edge. And it’s where we are.

August 16th, 2014 by africanstardust

A Story That Must Be Told

not my image


Sometimes people ask whether I still write, and whether I still write as much as I used to. I usually give kind of a roundabout answer, because the truth is I don’t want to admit that the thing that used to bring me so much joy and that I felt so passionate about is now yet another thing on the Things I Feel Guilty About list. I feel like a failure when it comes to writing. Am I really good at writing? Who would actually want to read what I write? I wish I could get back to how it was in the beginning, when I was 12 and I didn’t give a crap if someone read or liked what I wrote. I wrote for ME. Because I enjoyed it, and because I had all these ideas flying around my head, and because it put me smack dab in the middle of my very own adventure.

Maybe I got too hung up on the publishing side of things. Yes, it’s exciting to think that people might love your books. It’s not even about being famous, or about money (really, no one becomes an author for the money) – it’s about other people getting to know the characters you love so much and becoming invested in their stories, just like you are. It’s about telling the story and knowing that other people are letting the story become a part of them. But maybe I got too distracted by all of that and forgot to just love my characters and love their stories, and let them take me on an epic adventure I never could have planned myself.

So…here’s to getting back to the root of things. There once was a tale of a young girl who ran away, became a pirate, and found a whole other world that needed her help. There was love, and there was a sorceress, and there were dragons and armies and battles. There was a world worth fighting for. Her story should be told. If you don’t want to read it, that’s ok. But it must be told. Excuse me while I lug out some files and dust them off.

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